Suggested Actions - Oakville

Members of the Oakville working group were asked to identify the three most important issues in their community and suggest actions to make their community more age-friendly. The following is a synopsis of their discussions as well as age-friendly initiatives posted on the Oakville map. The actions below may be initiated by any level of government, community group or individual.

Three Most Important Issues

1. Affordable Housing

  • Address affordable housing requirements for seniors as many seniors are leaving because they can not afford to stay. The segment of seniors whose income is just above the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO), thus making them ineligible for housing support is especially at risk. Does Oakville have a sustainable long-term plan to help with affordable housing?
  • The “Not in my backyard” attitude (“NIMBY-ism”) is in Oakville and impacts planning for new housing options. As one participant said “We are all humans, we need to live together – too much of a difference between high and low, no middle.”
  • Explore ways to build more inclusive communities by bringing together socially disconnected communities. One challenge is overcoming the fact that 64% of the population work outside Oakville.

2. Strong Line of Communication between Seniors and Town Council

  • Organize a senior community by using Facebook to gather support for senior’s issues.
  • Consider compiling a database of senior’s issues. Use social media to develop a communication vehicle to activate seniors and start a discussion. Share an email database for the Oakville seniors present at the Forum to maintain energy.
  • The Oakville Seniors Advisory Committee members should continue to meet to support the wellbeing of seniors by providing information for issues of interest, advocating and liaising with community agencies.
  • Work with the Sheridan Elder Research Centre (SERC) program to leverage support for innovative solutions to seniors’ issues.
  • Seniors have to voice their needs to Oakville Town Council. Vote to elect a candidate who supports issues that interest you.
  • Brand Oakville as an “Age-Friendly Community” just like Burlington has.
  • Town of Oakville should continue to publish the seniors’ newsletter twice a year.

Other suggestions for Communication Actions

  • Halton Region should continue to provide information and support including Elder Services Advisory Committee (ESAC). The Seniors’ Directory is a great source of information. ESAC is doing a good job at getting information out. If many people have the directory but are not using it maybe people need to be taught how to effectively use the directory or maybe the directory should be for sale at a cost.
  • 211/311 should continue to provide information in different languages. At one of the focus groups for diverse populations, staff called and got a Mandarin translator to provide information to a newcomer from China on dental services.
  • Halton public health nurses should continue to link with Halton Multi-Cultural Council to provide information for senior newcomers as they did when they provided an explanation on disease prevention.
  • Information Oakville/Oakville library should continue to communicate information and distribute programs to seniors who do not get out and to new Canadians.
  • Seniors and Law Enforcement Together (SALT) program including the Seniors Help Line should continue to provide useful services and information.
  • Participants in the Oakville discussion group value the information that is relayed to the community by the Oakville Beaver and Oakville Today.

3. Affordable and Accessible Transportation

  • Offer discounts for seniors on transit system in off-peak hours. GO train and Via Rail should continue to provide good accessible service for east-west travel to neighbouring municipalities.
  • Explore solutions for cross-boundary issues.
  • Reconsider using smaller buses. Two sizes of fleets was looked at in the past and found not to be cost effective.
Please note that the following reflects further discussions of the working group members at the forum. Any section that is not included or is incomplete indicates that the group did not discuss it in the limited time available.

Community Involvement

  • Develop student & senior intergenerational programs to improve communication and assist seniors in their neighbourhood.
  • Seniors centres should continue to provide programming that is well-designed, managed and delivered.
  • Library services should continue home delivery.
  • Churches/faith communities who are involved with seniors should continue their age friendly initiatives.

Buildings and Outdoor Spaces

  • Create bridges across the QEW that are safe for bike riders so they are not cut off from north/south connections to lakefront trails and activities.
  • Explore solutions for areas that do not have sidewalks for seniors such as the New Dundas area (Ninth Line between Eighth Line).
  • Introduce more timed signals at intersection crossings. Seniors appreciate the ones that have been installed.
  • Encourage Oakville businesses to join the Age Friendly initiative and recognize them with an “Age Friendly” certification.
  • Maintain green spaces/recreation areas, Oakville Place walking club (one inside, one outside) and Oakville’s trail systems as they provide healthy, enjoyable exercise opportunities. Oakville harbours, Halton’s gateway to Lake Ontario, are also assets.

Community Support and Health Services

  • Ensure our healthcare services are able to support the growing aging population of Oakville. Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital (OTMH) provides good programs for seniors (e.g., pre-op. programs, falls prevention, cardiac, replacement surgery and diabetes rehabilitation programs).