Gibsons Briefs: Students hatch plans for Seniors Café

Gibsons’ youth councillors will be ending their terms soon, but they’re hard at work on an initiative that will launch next school year, after the pair graduates.

Youth councillor Jason Lewis introduced the idea of the Seniors Café at the May 21 council meeting, and after council voted at the June 4 meeting to work in partnership with School District No. 46 to support it, youth councillor Sacha Stipec filled in some more details.

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Stipec said the project, which they’ve been working on with the school board’s student trustee, would involve inviting seniors to dinner at Elphinstone Secondary School, with students in the culinary arts courses of the ACE-IT trades program doing the cooking.

“This would be a once-a-month dinner for seniors in the community to come out and engage with the youth,” Stipec said. “It would be a really good opportunity for them to share experiences and have a really nice dinner together and also the ACE-IT students would have an opportunity putting on events, serving and making food.”

Stipec said they’re still working out the details, but the plan right now is to have several tables of six with two students at each table. 

“It would be an open dialogue between seniors and youth. We would be especially targeting seniors who are living in the isolation of their homes and maybe aren’t out every day engaging in the community,” she said.

Stipec said she and Lewis have been speaking to the students who could take on the project next year and the idea would to start in October or November. “This project is shaping up to do well.”

Tree and Affordable Housing Committees

Gibsons council is going to form a select committee to look into establishing a tree bylaw and one to explore affordable housing policies.

At the June 4 council meeting Mayor Bill Beamish said they decided to form the tree committee after hearing a “very good presentation” from a resident urging the Town to draft rules around removing trees on private property.

The Town’s existing bylaw applies only to trees on public property.

Coun. Annemarie De Andrade will chair the new committee, which would include members of the community.

Coun. Aleria Ladwig said she felt council could also benefit from similar committees to look at cannabis, short-term rentals and affordable housing policy.

The Town already has consultants working on policies for cannabis and short-term rentals, and Beamish said forming committees might duplicate that work.

In response, Ladwig put forward the idea of an affordable housing committee and volunteered to chair.

“I have been interested in forming some kind of affordable housing committee for some time,” she said. “I’m very interested in developing an affordable housing strategy, which is something that other communities are much further advanced in than we are.”

She said she’d like the committee to looking into strategies like zoning and official community plan changes and tax policies that could encourage the development of affordable housing projects.

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