New Challenges and Opportunities for Region
The Association of Kootenay-Boundary Local Governments (AKBLG) is partnering with the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute (RDI) to host a learning event focused on regional demographic shifts relating to our region’s aging population.
These shifts will create new challenges and opportunities for our region. The event will bring local government, education, health and seniors advocacy leaders together to learn more about emerging opportunities and innovative solutions relevant to our region.
“Our region has a larger share of seniors than the provincial average with 20 per cent of our population over the age of 65 compared to the provincial average of 16 per cent,” says Regional Innovation Chair Dr. Terri MacDonald. “It is projected that seniors will comprise 29 per cent of our population by 2041. It is important that our region understand the challenges and opportunities this demographic shift will cause, including a projected total of 23,500 job openings due to retirement by 2022. That represents 80.4 per cent of job openings over the next seven years.”
The event will look at finding answers and working towards solutions.
“How can we work together to ensure these job opportunities are harnessed and the knowledge is effectively passed along to the next generation? How can we best structure our health care services and infrastructure to ensure our seniors can age in place?” says MacDonald.
Local Government Helping Lead the Way
The learning event will feature a keynote presentation from BC Seniors’ Advocate, presentations exploring demographics and related implications, why we choose to live/stay here, health service implications and emerging policy issues, and economic development impacts. The event will conclude with an innovative solutions panel and discussion of next steps for our region.
“The challenge of an aging demographic is not unique in rural regions,” says MacDonald.
The recently released State of Rural Canada report states that population aging and the recruitment of a “next generation” workforce together require investments that build robust new development foundations.
“The needs of our residents are important to local governments and needs change as people age,” says Deb Kozak, chair of the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments and mayor of Nelson. “AKBLG is taking action to educate our members about these issues and is leading the way to explore collaborative solutions for rural areas.”
Join this learning event that is sure to motivate some interesting dialogue. It takes place on October 7 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Warfield Community Hall. Register by calling 250.365.1208 or by email. Registration fee is $75 (includes lunch).