CBC News is first to report the City of Windsor has been accepted into the World Health Organization's global network of "age-friendly cities."

The WHO notified Windsor officials of the designation last week. However, excited project lead Jill Cadarette confirmed the designation with CBC News on Tuesday.

Windsor's senior advisory committee prepared a report called Age-Friendly Windsor: Report to the Community. It will be presented to the social development, health and culture standing committee Wednesday. That's also when the advisory committee was to make the designation public.

A total of 200 surveys were completed and returned. The surveys were completed during 20 focus groups held at a variety of venues across the city last fall.

Seventy-three per cent identified themselves as female and 93 per cent were English-speaking. The majority surveyed were between 60 and 69 years of age.

Cadarette said she would have a preferred a more diverse field of participants. She said organizers had two months to conduct the research and could have used more.

"It is definitely a concern. It’s something we listed in our limitations of the study," she said.

"Windsor is such a diverse community; it would have been more desirable to see that diversity reflected in our results. While our survey was open to all, we can only speculate how/if results would have differed with a broader audience," the report states.

Participants answered questions in eight categories:

  • Outdoor spaces
  • Transportation
  • Housing
  • Social Participation
  • Social Inclusion
  • Employment
  • Communication and Information
  • Health Services

Windsor scored high marks in housing. Respondents called housing "sufficient, affordable and safe."

However, Windsor lacks quality transportation for seniors, according to the survey. A majority of participants said roads are not well maintained; there are too few crosswalks; there are too many impatient drivers and that taxi drivers are not "courteous and helpful."

The majority of survey respondents indicated they rarely or never use public transportation. Although, it was generally acknowledged that public transportation options are a key factor in being able to enjoy all that Windsor has to offer.

A CBC News exclusive last week found that some seniors claim Transit Windsor drivers put them at risk of injury by leaving stops before everyone is seated.

The advisory committee also surveyed 61 people it called "stakeholders" to prepare the report.

A stakeholder is defined as a representative of an organization, agency, municipal department, business, or group who has decision-making power and a vested interest in one or more of the areas identified in the World Health Organization checklist.

Cadarette said project co-ordinators have had "preliminary discussions" with people from each of the areas that were critiqued by survey participants and stakeholders.

"I think we’re in pretty good shape," Cadarette said of Windsor. "Looking at results we found, people had good things to say about Windsor.

"There were some opportunities for improvements. We didn’t expect to be perfect."

The New Horizons for Seniors Program granted $24,425 to the Windsor seniors advisory committee towards the completion of the assessment. No city funds were used to prepare the report, Cadarette said.