City committee for an age-friendly Markham make recommendations

On Feb. 28, the Committee for an Age-Friendly Markham outlined 19 recommendations on how to improve services and the overall quality of life for seniors in Markham. Co-chaired by regional Councillor Jack Heath and Andy Langer, the committee calls for land, now in use as parking lots for government and various agencies, to be used at no cost to develop affordable townhouses, condo apartments and purpose-built rentals. In exchange, the housing development would provide structured parking for the donor within the new building.

“We’ve found the land that’s needed to provide more affordable housing for seniors and others,” said Heath. “It’s the vast parking lots of suburbia that are used by municipal governments, hospitals, school boards, and transportation facilities. The government agency gets the parking it needs and we get the free land for affordable housing.”

Beside hoping that property will be offered, the committee also suggested that any housing built in Markham have a proportion more physically accessible, or always homes, where owners can live there regardless of health issues. Similarly, they call for more home elevators to be installed, better nursing and support services.

It is a tall list and one not likely to be completed in full but does concisely outline a path forward in planning what the committee hopes will be acknowledged by councillors and developers going forward. So far, there is no word on whether there are organizations or businesses that have pledged property for such an initiative.

Contact Melinda Phuong, executive assistant to Councillor Heath, at mphuong@markham.ca for a copy of the recommendations or more information.

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