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Whistler seniors gear up for future

Seniors lifestyle fair puts the 65+ set in touch with service providers

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"It's like your day where you get to socialize or network so from there you can meet other ski buddies and things like that," he said. "A lot of them get really serious and others are there to just have fun. There are actually some that are a little crazy. They'd rather be off-piste then on-piste."

Glen Bayliss has lived in Whistler since 1995. The 61-year-old attended the fair with his wife to visit friends and see what kinds of services are available to them. Though his number one wish - a curling rink for seniors - isn't being addressed, he found plenty of good information at the other tables. He said while seniors' services in Whistler are decent, he's seen lots of folks move to the city to be closer to specific amenities.

"Absolutely. The specialists weren't here. There were no social programs here. If you had a spouse that was disabled there was very little support available, but there still is lots of room for improvement in that area," he said.

"Whistler has changed a lot. There were no parks, no valley trails, no recreation centre. For a small town the amenities we have are just incredible. We still need to get a curling rink for seniors and we still need to get a seniors centre, the winters are long here and the nights are dark. There's not a lot to do in the evenings for seniors unless you're involved with specific clubs, as a social group some of those things are still missing."

Using an $18,000 grant from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, the municipality, WCSS and MAC produced the Access Whistler Guide, a resource magazine for seniors released in September. They also held an Aging in Place community forum in mid-October, which was used to collect information from older residents related to their needs and concerns. That data is being compiled and will be submitted to the municipality to be factored into the amendment of the Official Community Plan.