Thriving Development and Safe Future for All

As a follow up to my previous blog, I am very relieved at the final vote at Tuesday, June 25th's Council meeting regarding the request to build a seniors residence within our Heavy Industrial Overlay Zone.  It was defeated, but I want to share some of my other beliefs around this topic.

First, let me say that I am pro-business.  (Borrowing a line from Mayor Nenshi in Calgary, I can't believe I actually have to say that.) 

We have a community with a unique blend of businesses.  On one side of the spectrum, we have multi-billion dollar corporations who call Strathcona County home.  On the other side, we have passionate and hard-working small business owners who contribute substantially to our economic engine.  We have a robust, award-winning Chamber of Commerce - arguably the strongest in Canada.  Each business plays an important role in the community and most respect and operate within the rules.

But when we're asked to bend the rules for "just this once", we discover that "just this once" doesn't exist.  We set a precedent.  We send the message that all of our plans, policies and bylaws are open to be changed for the sake of a buck.

We had experts in the field of industrial risk management testify that putting high density seniors housing within this area was, not only dangerous, but unethical.  We had many of the key players in heavy industry request we not build residential for health and safety reasons.  When we start to encroach on this line with denser housing, we compromise the safety of ALL residents as emergency and rescue resources get stretched thin.

As many of you know, I am a passionate advocate for seniors programming and housing.  As our population continues to age, we will have more and more demand for creative ways to deliver in these areas.  We need more appropriate housing for our aging demographics.  We need our services, our agencies, our health care facilities, and our programming to be accessible.  But the rules are in place for a reason.  Do we need more seniors housing?  Absolutely.  But let's be responsible about it.

I support our industry and business but I will NOT offer the health and safety of our older residents (or ANY resident, for that matter) as collateral.

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commented 2013-07-24 16:40:47 -0600 · Flag
Well put Roxanne,
You have cleared the air on this proposal in a way in which the local public media failed to accomplish.

While on the general topic of “seniors housing” the time has come to clarify and categorize this wide-ranging topic. As you know, seniors may require varying levels of residency while “aging-in place” – ranging from family homes to seniors residences/complexes and on to (or through) assisted living quarters and full-care facilities. Aging through time and space will require a continuum of options for individuals as well as couples needing varying levels of assistance during their “later years”.

Regards,
Bob Newstead
CarrforMayor
Leadership in Action