PORT HARDY—The community will be encouraged to take steps to bridge age gaps as Council proclaimed June 1 as Intergenerational Day in response to correspondence from the i2i Intergenerational Society.
Sharon MacKenzie, executive director of the society, wrote the adoption of the day was a step towards building age-friendly communities, “an invitation for every individual to take one small, respectful step to bridge generations within his or her community.”
Councillors were unanimous in their support of the motion.
“I’ve never seen this before, it sound really interesting,” said Mayor Bev Parnham. “It’s a great way to move towards age-friendly neighbourhoods.”
“It might be good to bring some young people into the council chambers in that spirit,” suggested Coun. Jessie Hemphill. “It would be nice to do one thing to promote Intergenerational Day.”
Coun. Rick Marcotte suggested that a fitting way to mark the day would be to pay a visit to the seniors centre and meet some of its residents.
The Mayor agreed to meet with staff to come up with a way to mark the day before the motion to adopt the proclamation was passed without dissent.
Councillors had some reservations on planned information signs for the seawall in Port Hardy.
Economic and Community Development Coordinator Patti Smedley brought forward a costing for the project, which had met with approval in principal when it last came before council in November. The project would see a series of interpretive signs placed along the seawall route, informing passers-by on their surroundings.
But exactly what information would be included on the signs drew discussion in chambers.
“John Tidbury was deputy mayor when this was first brought up,” explained Smedley. “We said we would come up with costing. Until recently there hasn’t been any forward motion. Jessie (Hemphill) had suggested consulting with First Nations but it’s been hard to confirm if that consultation has been completed.”
Smedley explained that staff changes within the District and the Chamber of Commerce, partners in the project, had made it difficult to find out exactly what stage the project was at.
Both the Mayor and Coun. Hemphill voiced concern over supplying funding without knowing exactly what was to be displayed. “My only concern is that we get it right,” said the Mayor.
It was unclear in discussion exactly what information the signs would include. Due to the uncertainty on content the Mayor argued that there should be a review of the planned information. By way of example, she argued that if there was a sign on local history then First Nations history should be prominently contained. “I would be loath to put the District’s logo on these if they don’t include First Nation’s heritage,” agreed Coun. Hemphill.
Coun. Dorward put forward a compromise motion that the council approve the funds subject to the approval of content.
“We’re fifty-fifty partners in this,” said the Mayor, “I think we should request a presentation. I think the partnership should involve some discussion of what they contain.”
The motion was approved.
In the council reports section of the meeting Coun. Nikki Shaw looked ahead to the May 28 Health Network Forum to be held on the Civic Centre in Port Hardy.
The forum is open to the public and will allow the community to have input on North Island healthcare, discussing issues including affordable housing, seniors’ care and youth services.
The Mayor informed council that she had been in consultation with RCMP S/Sgt. Gord Brownridge. As part of the detachment’s crime reduction drive, it has set a goal of reducing public intoxication offences by five per cent.
“They’ve put together a program for it to miss jail and be more of a treatment,” she explained. “Kudos to the RCMP for coming up with that and recognizing that it’s something we need to address.”
The Mayor had also been in discussion with Telus ahead of the planned installation of a fibre optic line connecting the North Island to the internet.
She informed council that Telus were looking at the first quarter of 2014 as a completion date but there was still “a lot of work on how it will be distributed.”
“We want it to be available to everyone in the community,” she explained. “We need to have a plan in place before it arrives.”
Currently, the existing microwave bandwidth is at capacity for the North Island and local elected officials have lobbied hard to have a fibre optic line installed. The lack of reliable bandwidth has been a thorn in the side of North Islanders for some time, hampering economic growth and considered a stumbling block in attracting new residents.
“We have young people coming into our communities,” said the Mayor. “Telling them there’s no internet is like telling them they can’t flush the toilet for a year.”