Lynne Reside, project coordinator (at right), speaks to Vernon council about report into making Vernon more attractive to young people (Pete McIntyre/Beach Radio News)
A draft report looking at ways to make Vernon more youth-friendly is getting good reviews from City council.
A steering committee has made 44 recommendations in the ‘Draft Youthful Vernon Strategy,’ which will next go to stakeholders and the public to comment on.
Councillor Brian Quiring says the committee did a great job.
“One of the recommendations is to extend the hours for the washrooms in parks. The other recommendation I thought was good was revisiting the requirement for open space (play areas) in townhouse developments, and provide amenities for kids,” Quiring told Beach Radio News after Monday’s council committee of the whole meeting.
Quiring says it’s an important initiative.
“We have to keep them here (young people). I have three kids and they all moved away, so we need to do what we can to keep the youth in Vernon.”
Among the other recommendations is to add new parks and improve existing ones, and to create places in the City Centre where youth can hang out.
The report also calls for more pedestrian and bike networks which give kids more independence.
Another action item is to encourage the School District 22 to include child care provisions in new builds and facility expansions to co-locate related services.
Project coordinator Lynne Reside says it’s a world-wide movement to make communities more child friendly.
“The respect and inclusion they get in their communities is extremely valuable. These are our future citizens, and we want them to do well. We want them to stay in our communities. We want them to feel that their needs have been met,” Reside told council.
Long range planner Cleo Corbett says the designs of buildings, streets and parks all play a role.
“And when we support children and youth, a wonderful effect that has it that a city can better support all its residents. So if we plan from the bottom, it actually natural supports all of our residents,” said Corbett.
Twenty percent of Vernon’s population is made up of people aged 19 and under.
“We have a lot of youth living here, not just seniors (25%),” noted Mayor Akbal Mund.
The steering committee includes Carson Armitage, a grade 11 student at the Vernon Community School.
“This whole thing has been really incredible. I know our class definitely felt very heard which is very important,” said Armitage.
Councillor Catherine Lord says council is grateful for the work of the nine person steering committee.
“It would be good to make a list of what action items refers to what department,” said Lord.