Seniors charter passed without a definition

The city’s Community Services, Recreation and Culture Commission has crafted a seniors’ charter

What is a senior?

That’s one question Coun. Claire Moglove wanted an answer to at last week’s Tuesday council meeting.

But she never got one.

The city’s Community Services, Recreation and Culture Commission, along with the Campbell River Seniors’ Society, has crafted a seniors’ charter to ensure that seniors’ needs and perspectives are recognized in council decisions.

But Coun. Moglove was concerned the charter wasn’t clear enough.

“Is there a definition of a senior? The reason I ask that question is because the seniors’ centre, I think their membership begins at either 50 or 55, and the Active Living (program) I believe is 55,” Moglove said. “But I’ve always thought of a senior, in terms of the federal government, as 65, so to me it’s really important that we do actually have a definition of a senior before we have the charter because otherwise, in my view, it could be too broad.”

Coun. Ron Kerr said while the commission did not define what it means to be a senior, the charter is still well thought out.

“The one thing I’ll say – and we had great debate and discussion on this – is that every line of the charter came out of the SOCP (Sustainable Official Community Plan),” Kerr said. “So there’s nothing in this charter that hasn’t been approved previously.”

Moglove said while she could understand that rationale, it still leaves the charter open to interpretation.

“I appreciate the response, however, until there is an actual definition of senior for this charter, I can’t support it,” Moglove said.

But the rest of council could, and adopted the charter and its seven principles, with Moglove the lone councillor opposed.

Coun. Larry Samson thanked the commission for coming forward with the document.

“I know it went back and forth and there was a lot of deep discussion in going over this,” Samson said. “Thanks so much to the commission for all the hard work they’ve done.”

The charter was based on items in the city’s official community plan related to seniors and, in addition to reviewing seniors’ charters in other communities, was crafted through consultation with local seniors representatives.

The charter’s seven principles are:

  • The City of Campbell River Seniors’ Charter recognizes principles of age friendly communities for older persons.
  • The City of Campbell Rive recognizes the specific challenges of the aging process and the valuable contribution seniors make to society.
  • The City of Campbell River recognizes the value of programs and initiatives that promote the health and well-being of seniors.
  • The City of Campbell River recognizes the value of diverse learning opportunities for seniors.
  • The needs of seniors will be considered in planning initiatives such as land use, transportation, parks and community facilities.
  • The City of Campbell River recognizes the value of programming and social gathering spaces for seniors.
  • The City of Campbell River recognizes the value of maintaining and enhancing the prominence of quality educational opportunities for learning for all ages and stages of life.