Town adds three projects to CVRD grant funding proposal

New Horizons for Seniors: $750,000 in regional grant funding could be headed to the Valley.

The Town of Lake Cowichan has been busy as of late in developing a plan to make the town a more age-friendly community. While the most longed-for projects, such as a live-in senior care facility, may still be long way away, the town is hoping that an upcoming regional grant will result in a few smaller projects appearing in the meantime.

The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) has been collecting project proposals from the region’s municipalities and independent organizations in hopes of being named one of the communities to receive $750,000 in age-friendly grant funding. The “Collective Impact Initiative,” which is part of the federal government’s New Horizons for Seniors Plan, is intended to aid in lifting the social isolation many seniors face.

If awarded the grant funding, the CVRD will be delegating the money to projects that target “seniors undergoing life transitions,” specifically in three areas: planning and prevention, undergoing a crisis and adjusting to change and support. The proposal is planned to be delivered on Friday (July 10), with the selected communities to be announced within four to six weeks.

The Town of Lake Cowichan sent in three proposals of their own to be included in the package.

The town hopes to receive the funding necessary to purchase outdoor exercise equipment for seniors, something which has been on the council table for some time. The equipment would likely be placed in either Centennial Park or outside of the 50 Plus Activity Centre, though placement won’t be finalized unless the grant money is received.

“We haven’t gotten serious about purchasing [the equipment] yet,” town councillor Bob Day said. “If we get the grant, we’ll ask our planner for the best spot and nail down the location.”

The town is also hoping to develop a plan to increase communication between town hall and Lake Cowichan’s senior community. If accepted, the hope is to have staff contact senior residents either in-person or over the phone in the event of a boil water advisory, watering restrictions or other event, in order to keep them up to date and informed.

The third proposal is for a “meals on wheels” type program to be done in conjunction with Lake Cowichan School, which would see students preparing meals that would be delivered to local seniors. While councillor Carolyne Austin said that something similar had been done at LCS in the past, to much success, additional funding could make it a permanent staple in Lake Cowichan.

The town is asking for $25,000 for each program, which would amount to 10 per cent of the total available grant funding.

“Even if [the Town of Lake Cowichan] is not successful, there will be other local groups like the Hospice Society who would benefit from this grant,” Day said.