THUNDER BAY – An effort to link Thunder Bay with an international network has been successful. The City of Thunder Bay has received notification its application has been accepted to join the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities.
Mayor Keith Hobbs commended the Age-Friendly Thunder Bay Stakeholder Committee when he supported the application to join the global network. The committee was headed by Councillor Johnson.
“The group has been working together to create a vision, communicate and educate, support research and information dissemination. establish priorities for action, provide advice to City and community partners, and coordinate initiatives to optimize the use of resources,” commented Mayor Hobbs.
“We are very excited about joining the network and have a strong commitment to the work ahead,” said Councillor Rebecca Johnson, Chair of the Committee. “This is welcome recognition for the community volunteers who have worked very hard for many years to advance Thunder Bay as an age-friendly City.”
Over the past five years, Thunder Bay’s Age-Friendly Project has formed a committee of dedicated stakeholders with the goal of making Thunder Bay a good place to grow old. The project established a solid baseline understanding of accomplishments to date and challenges to overcome. The Committee’s work on the three-year plan is ongoing.
City Council approved that the City join the global network and support community efforts to develop a three-year action plan that will set out goals and strategies for achieving international age-friendly status. Applying to join the network and developing the plan are included in the 2011-2014 City of Thunder Bay Strategic Plan under Strategic Direction 5.1 (a) – “Support Thunder Bay’s increasingly diverse and aging population. “
The stakeholder committee membership includes Lakehead University research team at the Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health; representatives from the Retired Teachers of Ontario, Aboriginal Health, the 55 Plus Centre, City of Thunder Bay, Police Services, Thunder Bay Public Library, Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, St. Joseph’s Care Group, United Way, Thunder Bay Regional Health Services Centre, Canadian Red Cross and the Lakehead Social Planning Council and others.
In 2007, WHO developed a Global Age Friendly Cities Project to help cities assess and improve their age-friendliness. While each city is unique, this Network allows the members to share best practices and make more rapid advances.