Krestova resident Walter Popoff has been appointed to a new 30-member council of seniors from across the province by B.C.’s Seniors Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie. Council members will be key volunteer advisers to the Advocate and her office.
“I was really honoured,” said Popoff, who attended the first meeting in Richmond on March 6. He said the appointment is “totally separate” from his role as Electoral Area H director on the Regional District of the Central Kootenay, although it has certainly helped to know what the issues are.
“I live in Krestova and I represent the Slocan Valley [as EA H director] so my view I am bringing forward are truly rural issues.”
Prior to being elected to the regional district in 2008, Popoff volunteered as a Senior Citizens Counsellor with Interior Health for the Slocan Valley, connecting seniors with information and resources.
“Being involved with the seniors I see the issues in a rural community and to sit on this council I can bring truly rural issues like transportation to the table. Transportation for groceries, to doctors, the regional hospital in Trail or Kelowna.”
While he said the transit system is great, it doesn’t always fit senior’s needs.
The council is expected to meet four times annually.
In a written statement Mackenzie wrote, “The applications for this council were outstanding and it is inspiring to see so many seniors willing to offer their time to serve fellow seniors.
“This is an exciting new journey we are embarking upon and I am very fortunate that I will be guided in my work by actual seniors who can ensure their many perspectives are heard and considered. I want to advocate for seniors with seniors.”
The appointed council members bring perspectives from a variety of backgrounds. Among the group there are advisers with experience in social work, teaching, health care, business, and local government, to name a few. Advisers range in age from 65 to 85, live in 26 municipalities in all regions of B.C., and come from diverse cultures and communities.
Recommendations for council members were made by the Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of British Columbia (COSCO-BC) on behalf of the Advocate, after reviewing over three hundred applications. In addition to the council, the Advocate will be welcoming the public and service providers to get involved in an advisory role on upcoming committees and focus groups.
The media and the public may connect initially with regional council members through the Office of the Seniors Advocate. The Office of the Seniors Advocate is an independent office monitoring and analysing systemic issues affecting seniors.