White Rock Seniors’ Forum on Crime and Safety.

MEDIA RELEASE: May 24th, 2019

Building Safer, More Inclusive Communities for Seniors:

Seniors issues and the challenges of aging were explored by a blue ribbon panel of experts at a community meeting Friday afternoon at the White Rock Community Center Gallery.

Isolation, economic uncertainty, elder abuse, along with health and public safety issues, were just a few of the topics explored by the panel, who invited comment, personal statements and important issues raised by the audience.

The Panelists included: Gordon Hogg, MP for South Surrey White Rock, and former MLA and Provincial Cabinet Minister; Linda Annis, a Councillor for the City of Surrey and Executive director of Crime-Stoppers; Jim Cessford, retired Chief of the Delta Police Services; and Ramona Kaptyn, President of the White Rock Surrey Chapter of CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) . The meeting was chaired by Judith Higginbotham, a former long-time Councillor in the City of Surrey and a chair and member of many public safety committees in the City.

The meeting heard comments from the panelists that covered four key topics at the top of the agenda for seniors in the community: They were:

  • Impact and Anxiety: Crime in South Surrey/White Rock
  • Economic Anxiety: The risks associated with fraud, mobility and street safety
  • Social Interaction and Security
  • Government Support: Pensions, Cost of Living Allowances, Rent Subsidies, Medial Needs Assistance and Seniors’ Advocacy.

Retired Police Chief Jim Cessford stressed that isolation; loneliness and depression were some of major issues he encountered in Delta as head of police services. He advocated establishing more community outreach programs which bring together seniors interacting with the broader community, particularly access and opportunities with youth.

Councillor Linda Annis focused on public safety concerns in the City of Surrey and the under-reported crime of ‘elder abuse’. “Many seniors living in isolation are vulnerable to fraud, confusion and vulnerability about monetary issues within the family and safety in walking our streets.”

Ramona Kaptyn stressed the work of CARP as a Canada-wide advocate and voice for seniors. The group focuses on programs, services and most importantly gaining the attention of governments in addressing the living conditions and quality of life for seniors across Canada.

Finally, MP Gordon Hogg outlined the changes in recent Federal Budgets aimed at addressing housing shortages and affordability; changes to the Income Tax Act and adjustments to Federal subsidies and programs for Seniors.

The meeting was sponsored by the Liberal Party of Canada, Seniors Liberal Commission of British Columbia, and is one of a number of meetings that will be held throughout British Columbia in the coming months.

The input gathered will eventually be posted on the SLCBC website; federalslcbc.ca and will be presented to the election platform committee ahead of the General Election this Fall.

For more information contact Judy Higginbotham @ 604-535-9196 or jehigginbotham@shaw.ca