The number of seniors living in Chilliwack could balloon to 29,000 by 2041.
That’s part of the rationale for a new City of Chilliwack study to look at seniors’ housing needs, as well as options to address future needs with various types of housing.
The online survey went live at the end of January, and residents can also attend an upcoming Community Café to offer feedback on the current and future housing needs of elder citizens.
“As the older adult population (+55) is expected to grow by approximately 66 per cent by 2041 (from 16,000 in 2015 to 29,000 in 2041), staff have initiated a Seniors’ Housing Study to evaluate the current and future housing needs of this age group as well as identify options and recommendations to address seniors housing needs in the community,” according to the staff report.
Council received a report on the 2019 Seniors’ Housing Study on Tuesday, officially launching the study process.
Coun. Jason Lum asked if the idea (of the study and the survey) was to get back results before council votes on the current OCP update, and if not, would they have the flexibility to make changes in future.
Director of planning Karen Stanton replied that the “timelines coincide” and that staff, being “typically adaptable” could consider changes down the line.
The survey can either be found on the City of Chilliwack website, or in hard copy from various locations around town, and survey responses are being sought until the deadline of March 15.
A community engagement meeting, the Community Café, is slated for February 27 between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Evergreen Hall.
The project will encompass a review of current and future housing needs ranging from independent housing (rental and home ownership), to assisted living (limited care facility – cooking and cleaning services provided), to residential care facilities (for those who have complex care needs).
Consultation and engagement efforts figure prominently.
“By engaging in a Seniors’ Housing Study the City hopes to open the door for all interested and affected people and organizations to come together and work towards a joint solution,” according to the city’s online explanation about the study.
“Only by gathering as much input as possible from the people working on the ground or experiencing the challenges firsthand, be it seniors in the community, housing developers, service providers, health care professionals or the younger generation providing support for aging family members, can we gain the perspective necessary to create effective tools to address seniors’ needs in Chilliwack.”
As a part of the study, staff will evaluate what’s working, what is not, and what is sorely needed. Once collected, the data can be used to lobby for funding help from higher levels of government, and to encourage private citizens and organizations to pursue projects geared towards seniors’ needs.
“Once completed, the Seniors’ Housing Study, based on the scope of work, will provide the necessary information to help direct municipal policies, housing developers and service providers to create a diverse supply of safe, affordable and appropriate seniors’ housing in Chilliwack.