SUMMERSIDE – The City of Summerside has been accepted as a member of the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities.
The announcement was made earlier this week at the April city council meeting.
Work is now underway to receive official certification from the World Health Organization.
Councillor Peter Holman, the city’s liaison to the East Prince Seniors Initiative, said work has begun but the process will take some time.
“We’re well underway now,” Holman said. “We have some great people that have joined our committees and our board. We’re looking forward to going through the various criteria required by us to obtain the certification from the World Health Organization and there are eight specific steps that must be met in order to reach that criteria. We will have eight chairs appointed along with eight co-chairs. Then there will be various committees made up for each one of these segments.”
The eight criteria that must be met include, outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, and community support and health services.
“This isn’t something that's going to happen overnight,” the councillor said. “This is a long-term project for the city. It’s estimated that it can take up to five years.”
He said the first two years are a planning-type stage.
“There is a lot of planning that has to be submitted to the World Health Organization and then there’s approximately a three-year implementation period to make sure that all of the criteria is met,” Holman said. “It’s an ambitious project that we are undertaking. We’re looking forward to getting the designation for the City of Summerside.”
Judy Lynn-Richards, a University of Prince Edward Island professor who specializes in seniors' activities, has agreed to be the chair of the committee
“We’re very excited to have this initiative beginning,” she said. “Cities and communities all over the world have joined into this initiative.”
She said Canada is developing national guidelines for communities to become friendly so that all people can be included in the community and make the community viable in all kinds of different ways.
“We’re just starting the process,” Richards said. “We’ve been at it for five years and we have a plan that we have submitted. We’re going to continue to develop that plan and we’re going to take contributions from all citizens and all different kinds of organizations and companies. It’s a very collaborative kind of an effort.”