Gibsons is an age-friendly community! In fall 2019, the BC Ministry of Health officially declared Gibsons an “age-friendly community” based on our efforts to support seniors so they can live active, safe, socially engaged and independent lives. In total, BC has 57 communities that have been recognized for creating healthy, age-friendly communities.
Gibsons Age-Friendly Community Action Plan
During the fall of 2012 and early 2013, the Town of Gibsons undertook an Age-Friendly planning initiative to address the needs and capacities of people from all age groups within the community. The work included reviewing existing policies related to age-friendly planning, engaging a group of community participants from a broad cross-section of the community and through a public forum, and developing policies and actions that set a path forward towards a more age-friendly future for the Town of Gibsons. Input was gathered through a community workshop, three community meetings, use of an online Wiki-styled platform, through telephone conversations, emails and direct discussions with youth at Elphinstone high school. This work cumulated in the Gibsons Age-Friendly Community Action Plan, which was presented to Council in February 2013.
Read the Executive Summary of the Action Plan here: Gibsons Age-Friendly Community Action Plan-2
Read the full version of the Action Plan here: Gibsons Age-Friendly Community Action Plan
In the years since completing the Action Plan, the Town has implemented several projects which benefit residents of all ages. Recent initiatives include:
Financial Commitment to Support Various Age Groups (Ongoing)
In 2021, Council made funding the Gibsons Seniors Society a permanent line item in the Town’s budget, in the amount of $5000. Previously, the Gibsons Seniors Society submitted funding requests on an as-needed basis through the Town’s Grants of Assistance program. With funding now a consistent annual occurrence, the Seniors Society can better manage its own budget.
Supportive Housing Development (Ongoing)
In 2019, the Town of Gibsons, Province of BC and the Government of Canada came together to create a 40-unit supportive housing project for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The facility, which opened in March 2021, is home to a range of age groups, from 19 year-olds who have “aged out” of other provincial housing programs to low-income seniors.
Development of Multiple Affordable Housing Projects (Ongoing)
The Town is actively working to address the community’s lack of affordable housing, with several affordable housing initiatives underway. The largest of these projects will see the creation of 40 rental apartments consisting of a mix of 1, 2, and 3-bedroom units at 571 Shaw Road. The site will offer a mix of market rents as well as reduced monthly rents with rent reductions of $200 to $700 below market levels. This mix of rental options of market and below-market apartments will provide affordable housing options to independent seniors or other singles, lone parents, couples, and couples with children. The second project, located at 744 Franklin Road, will see two affordable housing units constructed on a closed road end, with other similar Town-owned sites designated for the future development of affordable housing.
User-Friendly Trail Guide for the Mobility Challenged (2019)
Released in April 2019, this trail guide features 21 low-gradient pathways found from Langdale to Pender Harbour.
The guide was a joint project by the District of Sechelt, Town of Gibsons and the Sunshine Coast Regional District, funded by the Age Friendly BC and UBCM, 2018 Age-Friendly Communities Grant Program. It provides detailed information about each of the 21 trails, so that users may choose which trails best suit their needs.
Great for people with mobility challenges – and for those who’d like to experience nature with young children!
Completing a multi-use path between Lower Gibsons and Upper Gibsons (2018)
Built to accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists, this new pathway is a safer, more gently sloping link between Lower Gibsons (where many citizens live) and Upper Gibsons (where a majority of the Town’s amenities are located).
Revitalization of Armour’s Beach (2018)
This revitalization of one of Gibson’s most popular beaches included terracing and landscaping the site to significantly improve accessibility and usability by people of all ages.
Creation of the Gibsons Public Market (Opened 2017)
Spearheaded by the Gibsons Community Building Society, Town of Gibsons, Sunshine Coast Community Foundation and Community Futures of the Sunshine Coast, the Gibsons Public Market (GPM) hosts community gatherings for food, entertainment, education and events, with something for everyone to enjoy. A key ingredient to the success of the GPM is its diverse offerings—from community kitchen activities, to the marine education centre, facilities for public meetings and entertainment, and on-site food market dedicated to featuring the best of the Coast.
Creation of low-gradient forest trail between Lower Gibsons and Upper Gibsons (2016)
Known as Helen’s Way, this low-gradient walking and biking trail connects Lower Gibsons and Upper Gibsons through a forested area. It was created, in part, to encourage foot traffic from Upper Gibsons to the Gibsons Public Market, which was envisioned to be a community gathering place.
The trail was named in memory of Helen Alp, who was a fixture in the Town for many years and who would have loved a low gradient route to get to Upper Gibsons with her buggy of cans and bottles.