Making Nelson a City for All Ages

13/02/2020 12:49pm

Imagine a city that works for everyone, no matter their age, physical or mental health. A city full of cosy, sheltered places to sit and chat, with thriving public transport, pedestrianised areas, and businesses that value the differing perspectives of both young and old.

Imagine a city where social isolation is a thing of the past, where younger and older people both benefit from each other’s company. Or supermarkets where the aisles are wide enough to take your time without getting in another person’s way. What about more events with matinee sessions at times that suit new parents and those who find it hard to travel at night?

Those are just some of the ideas that spring to mind when you think of “A City for All Ages”, a new Nelson City Council initiative launching on 24 February designed to help Nelson thrive as its population ages.

Twenty percent of people in Nelson are over 65, and by 2043 that figure will rise to a third. This change will affect us all, so everyone has a stake in making sure Nelson is a great place to live at any age.

Group Manager Strategy and Communications Nicky McDonald says this demographic swing will present Nelson with a range of challenges, but City for All Ages aims to involve the whole city in finding positive solutions.

“An ageing population will have an impact on housing, the economy, the labour market, transport, and health care. Getting the city to prepare for those changes now, in a way that involves people of all ages, is the smart thing to do.”

Piloted by a community steering group chaired by Nelson businessman Paul Steere, A City for All Ages launches on 24 February with a presentation by the Co-Director for Active Ageing at AUT Professor Stephen Neville.

Professor Neville says Nelson has a high internal migration of older people, who come to the city to retire, but stresses there are ways to accommodate these demographic changes.

“If Nelson can get this right, it can become a city for all people.

“This can involve really simple changes to the City’s physical environment – like having seats appropriately placed so people can stop and rest, or by making libraries central meeting places.”

We want to hear from you, so the first stage of City For All Ages will be a questionnaire that everyone in our community is welcome to fill out. If you fill in the questionnaire you go in the draw for $100 worth of supermarket vouchers or a Prezzy Card for the same value. Once we know your vision for an age-friendly city, we can start to act to make it happen.

The survey and website launch will take place in the council chamber 24 February at 1pm and is open to everyone. If you have access to email, please reply to gina.fletcher@ncc.govt.nz if you would like to attend. Otherwise, it is fine to simply turn up on the day.  A meeting of Nelson’s Positive Ageing Forum will take place after Professor Neville’s presentation.