Planning for healthy, active communities that serve residents over the course of their lifespans, from childhood through senior ages, provides for a sustainable 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 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.
Active & Age-Friendly
Provincial policies highlight the role of active transportation in creating healthy active communities. 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 for the County.
Existing Policy & Legislation
- Provincial Policy Statement 2014
- County of Simcoe Official Plan Policies
- Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
Current Township Policies
The current Official Plan does not contain specific policies regarding age-friendly or accessible communities.
Section 8.12 contains policies for subdivision development and consent standards, which largely address infrastructure considerations, such as groundwater availability, stormwater management, road access, and development constraints.
Policies regarding community character speak to protecting the rural/agricultural/hamlet lifestyle and sense of community spirit, as well as the positive role of the natural environment in the community.
The concept of “8 to 80 cities” is a helpful 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 going 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.
Your ideas and vision are important!
What changes would you like to see?
- 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 abilities?
- How do you think that land use planning policies can enhance quality of life for everyone?
- What types of public spaces and private spaces can help build liveable, age-friendly communities?
- Please provide any other comments you have for consideration in the development of new policies.