Welland an age-friendly community

Welland an age-friendly community

Welland Senior Citizens Advisory Committee members Carol Sernasie, left, and Doug Rapelje, right, present Welland Mayor Frank Campion and Ward 1 Coun. Mary Ann Grimaldi, with an Ontario Age-Friendly Community Recognition Award Tuesday, April in Welland council chambers. – Dave Johnson, The Welland Tribune

Welland has been an age-friendly leader in Niagara for nearly a decade now, and it was one of 40 communities in the province to receive an Ontario Age-Friendly Community Recognition Award.

At Tuesday’s committee meeting, Carol Sernasie and Doug Rapelje, both of the Welland Senior Citizens Advisory Committee, presented the award to Mayor Frank Campion and Ward 1 Coun. Mary Ann Grimaldi.

Rapelje had accepted the award from Dipika Damerla, Minister for Senior Affairs, on behalf of the city and seniors’ committee in March, at the Ontario Age-Friendly Communities Symposium: Aging with Confidence.

“The Welland Senior Citizens Advisory Committee is very proud that our city was one of the communities on Ontario to receive this award in the inaugural year,” Sernasie said at the meeting.

The award celebrates the work of communities working to be age-friendly.

“Age-friendly communities are characterized by accessible and inclusive environments, both physical and social, that enable seniors to live independent, healthy and active, safe and socially-connected lives,” she said.

The city has been an age-friendly leader in Niagara since 2009 when the advisory committee presented the age-friendly community project council.

Target areas for an age-friendly community include transportation, housing, civic participation and employment, communication, health services, and outdoor spaces and buildings, said Sernasie during the presentation.

Rapelje said at a time when the city’s senior population is growing and so many people are moving here or thinking of moving here, the advisory committee believes the official recognition is “an opportunity to enhance the branding of Welland as an age-friendly community.”

“We want to thank council for their ongoing support for the work off our committee and for the co-operation and support of staff.”

Rapelje said the city was also the first in Niagara to receive certification by the World Health Organization Global Age-Friendly Communities.

Campion said Welland’s seniors represent an invaluable relationship between better livability and social connection for all ages in Welland.

“They are leaders, volunteers, and advisors who have the experience and resources to improve our city and its social infrastructure.

“I’m elated that the Senior Citizens Advisory Committee, through their hard work and dedication to our community enabled us to achieve this recognition. The committee helps us break down barriers and grow a socially responsible city that enhances lives for all ages.”

For more information on the City of Welland age-friendly initiatives visit www.welland.ca/RecCulture/AgeFriendly.asp.

Nathaniel.Johnson@niagaradailies.com

905-684-7251 | @DaveJTheTrib

Source: St. Catharines Standard