KELOWNA – Kelowna is among 28 B.C. communities that have been awarded 2016 Age-friendly Community Planning and Project grants to support strategies to help seniors stay mobile, physically active, socially connected and healthy.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan will receive $20,000 for the Regional Parks Age-friendly Recreational Access Project. The project will improve accessibility by identifying low-barrier trails, beaches, and events in a resource booklet for senior residents and visitors; piloting signage identifying low-barrier trails in six parks; and widening, levelling, and surfacing the Peninsula Trail at Kaloya Regional Park.

“Keeping seniors active and social is key to their good health,” says Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country. “Helping them access local recreational opportunities so they can stay fit with family and friends is $20,000 well-spent.”

“Safety is a key concern for seniors who might not have the mobility they once did,” says Steve Thomson, MLA for Kelowna-Mission. “This project signage, surfacing and information booklet will help put them at ease, helping them find low-barrier activities they can enjoy with peace of mind.”

“Kelowna residents are known for being active people who love the outdoors,” says Premier Christy Clark, MLA for Westside-Kelowna. “Projects like these ensure the outdoors remain accessible to people of all ages.”

This grant program is a partnership between the B.C. government and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities. Each successful local government receives up to $20,000 to help undertake a variety of activities that address the needs of older residents – from setting public policy to delivering information and services.

For the 2016 grants, communities were encouraged to consider projects that focus on accessibility, elder abuse prevention, dementia and non-medical home support.

Applications were reviewed by a committee from the UBCM and the provincial government. To date, age-friendly community planning and project grants have funded 268 projects in 142 local governments in all areas of B.C., totalling $5.25 million.

To learn more about Age-friendly B.C. please visit: www.gov.bc.ca/agefriendly.