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Seniors & Youth

 

Housing, Services, Institutions, Support, Health, Active Living, Hospice, Supported Independent Living, Caregiving, Staying Connected. Our aging population is about to  surge.  Is Stratford prepared?

It is the responsibility of all levels of government to include seniors and their needs, as part of policy development.  I struggle with the Lakeside Association programmes being housed at the Rec Complex.  With Hub funding now in question, now what?

Housing, Independent Living, Health, Supports, Active Living, Leisure Activities, Safety, Youth Migration to Urban Centres, Managing Risky Behaviour.

Youth are important to rural communities. In Stratford there are youth who feel marginalized.  There is a sense of once you hit high school, what is there to do?  How do we engage youth? How do we give them something to do?  How do we address - "Not my Kid?" It takes a village to raise a child.  Retaining youth and/or making Stratford attractive to young families is key.

 

 
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Connectivity


 

Everything is connected.  We need to approach planning in our community holistically. There is a feeling of cart-before-the-horse planning.  Let's temporarily move the Seniors' programming to the RecComplex. They can be part of The Hub.  Hub funding is no longer coming from the province.  How does that impact our seniors?  There is a whole section of town with no access to a grocery store - essentially a food desert on one side of town. If you're a single parent, with no car, accessing the programmes at the Community Food Centre is challenging.  To use public transit is prohibitive for many.  The new turf soccer field is on the periphery of town.  Why not consider placing it centrally? The old fairgrounds?  Cycling should be a safe, affordable and viable alternative to cars and busses. Let's put up signage, connect trails, think biking when we do roadwork or develop land. The more concrete you have the more impact on your environment and cost, therefore, the one sidewalk rule, yet Market Square is a flat concrete mat?  The new North Shore washroom - 210/250K for one washroom? That's a house.  What's happening with the University Lands? The Cooper Site? Build a transit hub on land that will be under construction for decades. Having an affordable community lends itself to attracting employees.  Britannia Street will have affordable housing. Transit wise, that feeds the core and the West end, for jobs. Should the next build take place closer to manufacturing? Arts & Culture should be accessible for all.  Having supports and services for all segments of our population helps with retention and supporting a progressive, cohesive, healthy community and maintains a rewarding quality of life for all.  

 
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Vulnerable Populations


 

Policing, Domestic Violence, Food Security, Single Mothers (parents), Sexual Assault, Homelessness, Mental Health, Addiction Support - Taking care of our community means all segments.  The divide between the haves and have-nots in Stratford is clear.  The access to services depends on where you are on that spectrum. How do  you bridge that gap without alienating either side?  Improving the health and welfare of the vulnerable members of your community has a positive impact. From policing to hospitals to schools to you and I - we all make a difference.  Economic hardship, shortage of affordable housing, inadequate income, stigma, depression, anxiety and fear all feed in to cyclical living. We need to remove barriers to service and barriers to success. A one bedroom apartment is anywhere from 900$-1100$.  A single mother with one child gets 640$ (Ontario Works).  400$ goes to rent (the rest is subsidized). 200$ is left. Good food goes, fresh fruit and vegetables go. This person wants to work, but what about the other costs - daycare, transportation to both work and childcare? Living in Tavistock or Mitchell is more affordable but then what happens to accessing what services there are?  Investing in community supports and resources are the responsibility of all levels of government.