Council: seniors service gaps, highway 16 safety

Meeting on seniors discusses service gaps and solutions, garbage truck renewal, business walks, sturgeon conservation centre

Meeting on seniors discusses service gaps and solutions

Attended by Vanderhoof’s mayor, district staff, doctors, as well as representatives from seniors service groups and the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, the meeting on seniors in Vanderhoof took place on March 21 at St. John’s Hospital.

Identified current health system’s gaps for Vanderhoof’s seniors include: more support to allow assisted in-home living for seniors, disconnect between theoretical solutions and practical applications, a practical plan addressing how exactly problems can be fixed, catching people sooner through education of families and the public, addressing what the senior wants and how to support their choice, costly housing developments are very costly with long waiting lists for existing housing, and many seniors do not meet criteria. The number of seniors is expected to increase in the next 10 years and problems must be addressed today.

Possible solutions and next steps discussed include taking advantage of existing grants, better service facilitation and awareness, as well as including other community partners such as First Nation communities and service groups, active seniors, and church groups.

Next meeting will include senior groups and all community service partners to identify all issues for seniors and solidify a plan of action.


Highway 16 single-lane safety concern

A Vanderhoof resident raised concerns on the lack of left-turn lanes for the 3.4-kilometre stretch of Highway 16 west of Vanderhoof.

A multi-vehicle incident on Jan. 5, involving various vehicles pausing for a left turn and approaching vehicles unable to stop in time, led to a collision, with the concerned resident’s husband taken to the hospital for chest injuries.

With industrial and agricultural businesses that see large truck traffic, the single-lane highway poses concerns for safety and traffic build-up, the resident said.

As discussed during council meeting, district staff will look into the issue further and prepare a presentation detailing the concerns and issues, which Council could then use to lobby government for change along this stretch of highway, said CAO Tom Clement.


Garbage truck renewal

Council staff identified the district’s garbage truck as beyond its economical useful life, requiring replacement.

With the incoming cardboard ban from Vanderhoof’s transfer station to take effect on July 1, staff also anticipated revenue drop from commercial waste pickup.

Two replacement options are presented: a status quo truck for $140,000 and a fully automated truck for $250,000.


Business Walks

In June, four teams comprised of representatives from the District of Vanderhoof, district council, and the Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce will survey local business owners over two days to understand how businesses are doing in the area.

Gathered information will result in a report on the economic climate of Vanderhoof’s downtown retail sector.


Sturgeon conservation centre

The District of Vanderhoof will be assisting the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC in applying for funding for the proposed Nechako White Sturgeon Interpretive Centre.

An interpretative centre, building on the current hatchery located on Burrard Avenue, will allow the society to facilitate outreach and public education on sturgeon recovery in the region, the society states.


– with files from the District of Vanderhoof