The Peace River Regional District is looking to move forward with a seniors support service for residents in Electoral Areas D and E, offering healthy meals, housekeeping, social supports, and yard maintenance.

A public meeting was held last night to gather resident feedback the ‘Seniors Aging in Place’ program, with a public referendum expected to conclude July 17 before final approval. If approved, the service would begin in 2022. Residents can also mail in their ballots.

Residents would be taxed to provide the services at rate of 66 cents per $1,000 or a property tax limit of $1.9 million.  Additional individual user fees are being considered to improve the financial viability of the program.

Arras resident Linda Ash asked how it differs from Dawson Creek’s ‘Better at Home’ program, which has long provided similar services to seniors 65 and up living independently in Mile Zero.

“It’s almost a duplicate to the Better at Home program. Can you tell me what the difference is?” said Ash. “So I’m wondering if it’s not the same service, would you partner with them as opposed to overriding them.”

Area E Director Dan Rose says while he’s not familiar with Better at Home, Aging in Place is only for seniors living in the rural areas and would be delivered by contractors through tax dollars.

“This is a rural service for rural seniors living in the rural areas,” said Rose. “We’re not planning on overriding anybody, what we piloted and what we’re offering was a service that was required in the rural areas only.”

“Certainly the folks that participated were quite happy and are very enthusiastic about the service going forward – it is filling a gap, that I believe isn’t offered in the rural areas,” he added.

A feasibility study was authorized and completed in 2019 for $100,000, splitting the funds evenly between Area D and E residents.