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Seniors benefit from grants

Feb 08 2012

Vancouver Island communities are getting thousands of dollars from the provincial government to improve services for seniors.

The government announced $750,000 in grants for 52 municipal and regional governments Tuesday, including 10 on the Island.

The money is to help pay for local projects. "It basically gives the community an opportunity to do something to make it a friendly environment and a better place to live for seniors," said Ron Cantelon, Parksville-Qualicum MLA and parliamentary secretary for seniors.

The money, administered by the Union of B.C. Municipalities, is on top of $650,000 in grants Premier Christy Clark announced last September. Municipalities still have until Feb. 29 to apply for the remaining $419,000 in grant funds.

Ten Vancouver Island communities will split $200,000 in grants, at $20,000 each.

Campbell River received money to conduct a "walkability inventory and assessment" for seniors, while the Comox Valley Regional District will host age-friendly working groups. The Cowichan Valley Regional District says it will use the money for an age-friendly housing study in Cobble Hill, Duncan is focusing on seniors' safety, Esquimalt has earmarked money for a seniors' fitness program, and Qualicum Beach is looking at age-friendly transportation.

Metchosin will use the grant as part of a one-stop telephone referral service for seniors, Saanich is boosting nutritional programs, and Nanaimo is connecting with new seniors. The Capital Regional District is assessing trails.

Oak Bay's application for a grant to help improve seniors' access at Willows Beach was declined, said Oak Bay administrator Mark Brennan.

Victoria didn't apply for a grant, but plans to in the future, a spokesman said.

rshaw@timescolonist.com

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