On October 15th, 2013 Council Members and staff from the Public Works Department, Planning & Engineering as well as the City Manager took a walk around Morden to examine the age-friendliness of the community and what the City needs to do to improve.
During the walk Councillors were encouraged to sit in a wheelchair or ride a four wheeled scooter so that they could properly experience negotiating the streets and sidewalks. The route took them to Stephen, North Railway, Thornhill, Mountain and Parkhill Streets.
Morden City Council aims to make Morden more age-friendly by ensuring that future development strives to promote aging in place and making the community a great place to grow up and grow old.
What is an age-friendly community?
In an age-friendly community, the policies, services and structures related to the physical and social environment are designed to help seniors “age actively.” In other words, the community is set up to help seniors live safely, enjoy good health and stay involved.
“In conversations with mobility challenged residents, accessibility and crosswalks were mentioned. For those of us who are not mobility challenged, we don’t really see these problems. Putting the Councillors in a scooter or wheelchair helped everyone become more aware of the issues that these people face. We found that things we had done that appeared acceptable turned out not to be. Even small lips on the concrete can create big challenges when you are in a wheelchair. Council aims to ensure that new areas are installed with accessibility in mind,” said Mayor Ken Wiebe.
What does accessible mean?
When something is accessible, this means it is easy to get to and can be used by everyone. This includes people who use assistive devices such as walkers and wheelchairs. It could also include people who have visual or hearing impairments. An example of an accessible intersection would be one with sloped curbs to allow wheelchairs to travel without difficulties. It could also include a cross walk with an audible signal. This way someone with a visual impairment will know when it is safe to cross the street.