MEADOWS — Minnie Vallis has long been known to be a mover and a shaker.
Wednesday, the provincial government announced its strategy for long-term care and community support services. It included details of a $1.5-million project for age-friendly transportation.
Thursday — armed with details of the project that offers non-governmental organizations, municipalities, and other community groups financial support for transportation programs — Vallis was preparing to go to the town office in Meadows to encourage officials to develop such an initiative on the north shore of the Bay of Islands.
“I really think councils could be responsible for putting something in place,” she said. “I will try to encourage our council to take some initiative, get with it. I am sure there are a lot of people willing to, if there was a small shuttle bus, do this.”
Vallis believes seniors would be more likely to get out of their homes or residences and get out to various events, volunteer for community initiatives, do their own banking and grocery shopping if they had the transportation.
She said transportation, even at a nominal charge‚ would especially be beneficial in the winter, when many seniors park their vehicles.
Vallis said other provinces in Canada offer such services, picking up seniors at their doors to take them grocery shopping or do their banking. She is also aware of such practices by a long-term care provider in the Humber Valley area.
In Meadows, Vallis, who is part of the 50-Plus Club, said volunteers have personally picked up seniors to take them to events and, other times, have brought meals to their homes during certain events.
Meanwhile, another seniors rights advocate Israel Hann, was more skeptical of the initiative. The Mount Moriah resident said government announcements of the like have always sounded good or looked good on paper, but seldom lead to any change or improvement.
“I don’t pay any attention to them now because there is nothing there for working people,” he said. “You are better off not ever having worked a day in your life. You might get some help. For a person that worked, there is nothing.”
Hann said transportation is a very big concern for seniors. Aside from difficulties in everyday life, he also said it continues to be too expensive on seniors having to travel to St. John’s for medical appointments.
He said the transit system in Corner Brook is an asset for seniors, but it does not help those in the outlying areas get into the city or around their respective towns.
“(Government) can say what they damn well like, but it is gradually getting worse for seniors,” he said. “I talk to seniors all the time, and they are complaining about the system.”