Planning for healthy, active communities that serve residents over the course of their lifespans, from childhood through senior ages, enhances quality of life for all. Accessibility is a prime concern in creating safe, equitable communities where people can “age in place”.
Provincial & County Policy
The Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) and the County of Simcoe Official Plan Policies provide direction on specific issues. The Township Official Plan policies must conform to the PPS and County Official Plan, which set out the following policies:
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) became law in June 2005, and it applies to all levels of government. AODA aims to identify, remove, and prevent barriers for people with disabilities. AODA has standards for reducing barriers in a number of areas, including the design of public spaces.
The Province has identified that planning for people of all ages is key to long-term prosperity and social well-being. Building strong healthy communities is a key policy area that is supported by efficient land use patterns that create livable communities and provide opportunities for active transportation and social interaction. Provincial policies highlight the role of active transportation in creating healthy active communities. Access to healthy local food through urban agriculture is also supported.
Active & Age-Friendly
The County requires development proposals by plans of subdivision to incorporate age-friendly and transit supportive design elements, including systems of walkways and design elements for safety. The County encourages municipalities to consider developing Complete Streets guidelines, and to develop Active Transportation Plans with cooperation and support from the County.
Existing Policy & Legislation
Provincial Policy Statement 2014
County of Simcoe Official Plan, 2016
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
Current Township Policies
The current Official Plan does not contain a specific section regarding age-friendly or accessible communities; although there is reference to healthy active communities in the Craighurst Secondary Plan policies in section C18.2.5 of the current Official Plan.
The concept of “8 to 80 cities” is a useful way to think about planning for land use and the public realm. If a community is designed in a way that can accommodate both an eight-year-old and an eighty-year-old, then it is likely to be safe and accessible for nearly everyone.
New and revised Official Plan policies will aim to enhance quality of life, as well as opportunities for active transportation and social interaction for people of all ages.
What changes would you like to see?
Given that older adults will comprise a large proportion of the Township’s population in the coming years, more age-friendly development approaches should be supported through land use and development patterns. The County of Simcoe is working towards development of an Age-Friendly Community (Positive Aging Strategy), and the County’s Official Plan already supports age-friendly urban design elements as part of subdivision applications. In 2016, the Township completed its Older and Bolder – Age-Friendly Action Plan for the Township of Oro-Medonte, which is being considered during policy development. Recommendations supportive of the World Health Organization’s 8 Age Friendly Dimensions will be included, especially in the areas of outdoor spaces and public buildings, transportation, housing, and community support services. Legislation such as Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and associated accessibility standards for the built environment need to be considered in the Official Plan as well. Also, to support healthy active communities, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has developed resources including Healthy Community Design Policies for Official Plans, which will be useful to consider in development of new and revised policies in the Township’s Official Plan.
Do you think that the current policies reflect the needs of people of all ages (i.e. children, youth, young adults, adults, and seniors) and diverse abilities?
How do you think land use planning policies can enhance quality of life for everyone? Are there particular land uses that should be encouraged or discouraged to support healthy communities?
What types of public spaces and private developments can help build liveable, age-friendly communities? What would you need to "age in place"?
What healthy and age-friendly elements are missing from your neighbourhood?
Please provide any other comments you have for consideration in the development of new policies.