Lardeau Valley surveys

Lardeau Valley Surveys

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Lardeau Valley Seniors Needs Assessment Survey

Executive Summary

Introduction

The Lardeau Valley Opportunity Links Society initiated a two year Seniors Needs Assessment Project in April of 2014 with funding provided by the Columbia Basin Trust. Phase 1 of the Project involved conducting a survey of Lardeau Valley residents regarding key issues requiring attention in order for seniors to remain in their homes functioning as vital community members. Phase 2 of the Project will explore ways to facilitate solutions to the identified issues.

The Seniors Needs Assessment began in May, 2014 with informational posters, web site and local Pennywise notices describing the purpose and methodology of the survey. Two hundred and twelve (212) surveys were mailed to residences in early June, with additional copies available for pick up at area stores and post offices by residents wishing to participate. The surveys were collected by July 18, 2014. There was a 25.5% response rate.

Follow up telephone conversations occurred with those recipients wishing to be contacted and two public meetings were held in August and September to provide initial results of the survey and invite further comments from participants. Comments from the surveys and public meetings comprise the results being reported.

About the Lardeau Valley

The Lardeau Valley is located at the north end of Kootenay Lake in the West Kootenay, British Columbia. The Lardeau Valley is a remote area with a total population of approximately 387 full time residents. This includes seven main communities (Lardeau, Cooper Creek, Meadow Creek, Howser, Hamill Creek, Argenta and Johnson’s Landing) as well as smaller ones such as Poplar Creek and Gold Hill. Gas stations and convenience stores are located in Cooper Creek and Meadow Creek. Meadow Creek is also the location of the sole restaurant. Three communities (Meadow Creek, Argenta and Johnson’s Landing) have community halls maintained by local associations with the assistance of the Regional District of Central Kootenay.

Lardeau Valley residents generally shop in Kaslo and/or Nelson, a distance of approximately 52 km and 120 km respectively, south on Highway 31. This translates as up to one and two hour trips one way on winding mountain roads. As with most of the Kootenays, winter driving can be treacherous and winter avalanches are not uncommon, temporarily cutting off travel for the majority of Lardeau Valley residents.

The area is home to several small mills, a timber construction company, skiing and wilderness resorts, organic market farms, professional artists and craftspeople, dedicated homesteaders and retirees. Residents tend toward independence and varying degrees of self-sufficiency. Communities are small and close knit.

Values Statement

The Seniors Needs Assessment Project has been undertaken in the belief that:

  • the sustainability of rural communities relies in large part on the vital engagement of the residents in common interests and activities.

  • Lardeau Valley residents share an interest and concern with the outdoors. Livelihoods and recreational activities incorporate homesteading, arts, forestry and resource development, animal husbandry, farming and gardening and various wilderness activities.

  • Local seniors hold a wealth of experience and knowledge that contributes to the ongoing well-being of the community as a whole.

  • Integration, not compartmentalization, of services will usually provide the most meaningful and effective access and delivery to rural recipients.

  • Creative and flexible responses are often required to effectively address individual needs in rural communities, and, at times, require stepping beyond traditional boundaries to achieve desired outcomes.

Summary of Survey Findings

Of the surveys returned, seniors (55 years of age or older) comprised 85% of the respondents. 74% of the respondents were between 55 and 75 years of age. Responses from men comprised 42% of the completed surveys while women comprised 53%.

The information gathered identified a wide range of concerns on how to support individuals to remain in community and to create more age friendly environments and services. Priority items will serve to focus the Project’s Phase 2 efforts to explore and implement solutions.

Three priority areas emerged from the Seniors Needs Assessment Survey. They were:

  • access to health care services,

  • access to non-medical home support services, and

  • transportation.

Secondary concerns pertained to:

  • outdoor spaces, and

  • access to service information.

The remaining survey categories of housing, social networks, finances and food security, while important, generated comments of lesser concern.

Recommendations

  1. Access to health care services:

    – Explore the possibility of coordinating appointments for Lardeau Valley residents at

    the Kaslo Primary Health Centre with available bus schedules.

    – Explore the possibility of a mobile laboratory conducting outreach services in the

    Lardeau Valley.

    – Explore the possibilities of outreach programs in the Lardeau Valley for other

    medical disciplines.

    – Investigate the establishment of Telehealth resources in the Lardeau Valley.

    – Work with Telus to improve back-up communication options in the Lardeau Valley

    during power failures.

  2. Access to non-medical home support services:

    – Explore the development of a range of home support services for those needing

    assistance (housekeeping, snow removal, firewood, etc.).

    – Explore the provision of meals using a local commercial kitchen.

  3. Transportation:

    – Explore the possibility of adjusting/expanding the Friday Shutty Bench bus run to

    include Howser and Argenta.

    – Develop local car-share opportunities.

    – Clarify the duties and expectations of bus drivers.

  4. Outdoor spaces:

    – Work with the Ministry of Transportation to address concerns regarding snow

    ploughing, sanding and repair and maintenance of roads in the Lardeau Valley area.

  5. Access to service information:

– Explore the possibility of establishing a Seniors Services and Information

Coordinator’s position to assist individuals in locating and accessing governmental

and local support services and information.

– Facilitate local presentation of various informational and educational workshops such

as computer skills, advance planning or falls prevention.

– Identify central locations in the area where information brochures and/or digital

information may be obtained.

In conclusion, there is much that can be accomplished through effective partnering with appropriate groups and organizations. The social services sector, health care providers, regional government services and private sector services need to coordinate their efforts to ensure service gaps and barriers are minimized. Working with neighbouring communities may avoid unnecessary duplication and maximize opportunities to coordinate efforts. It is hoped that initiatives undertaken in Phase 2 of the Seniors Needs Assessment Project will build a foundation for ongoing development of responsive and innovative services for Lardeau Valley residents and beyond.

The Lardeau Valley Opportunity Links Society wishes to thank all the survey and public meeting participants as well as the volunteers, contracted personnel and funders who have helped to realize this project.

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Results from the LINKS Mail Out Survey February 2012

The request was: please number the following topics in the  order you think is most important with #1 being the most important.

The categories, which had previously been identified as directions to go in regards to economic development were:

Forestry

Agriculture

Tourism (Heritage/Recreational/Cultural/etc)

Other

The results are as follows:

Forestry              Agriculture        Tourism            Other

#1         17                                  19                             3                        5

#2          4                                     3                           16                        5

#3         13                                   9                            10                        3

#4          4                                     0                              6                        4

A total of 246 survey question mail outs were sent to all areas of the Lardeau Valley.   21% (52) were returned.

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North Kootenay Forest Initiatives’  FOREST INVENTORY  is  now available.

If you would like to receive a copy of the forest inventory created by the Forest Initatives committee,

please contact: links@lardeauvalley.com.

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