At a meeting held Tuesday, May 17, 2016, Municipal Council unanimously endorsed the Age-Friendly Wawa Needs Assessment and Action Plan prepared by Maury O’Neill of the Economic Development Corporation of Wawa.
Completed with a grant from the Province of Ontario Senior’s Secretariat, the Municipal Plan’s creation was overseen by a committee of local volunteers including Andy Stevens, Mary-Anne Pearson, Carol Chalykoff, Norma Kauk, Barb Sutherland, Lynne Lavigne, Darlene Trovarello and Mayor Ron Rody.
In a presentation to Council, it was stated that Wawa had transitioned into an aging community with 50% of the population estimated to be over the age of 50. “Wawa’s population is aging and impacting the social, economic and cultural make-up of the community. Undertaking actions to meet the needs of a growing senior population is vital to ensuring Wawa maintains its residents, health services and community wealth. Senior’s have tremendous purchasing power,” stated Maury. “There are potential business opportunities in Wawa serving senior needs.”
The Age-Friendly Wawa Committee reviewed over 50 suggested actions for addressing senior’s needs which came from senior survey responses, focus group meetings, reports and other public events. Several high priority recommendations were made to Municipal Council including assisting the Royal Canadian Legion to renovate its building and become accessible, hiring a seniors’ advocate and developing a senior’s housing facility. ”The Age-Friendly Wawa Plan is important and Council will work closely with local seniors’ organizations and other partners to implement the recommended actions of the Plan,” said Mayor Rody. “As community leaders, Municipal Council and its staff have the lead role to ensure the Age-Friendly Wawa Plan is implemented. The Municipality will not be able to do this alone and has many local organizations and volunteers, both young and old, to get involved to help move Wawa closer to becoming age-friendly.”