Ottawa needs to prepare itself for a “massive onslaught of senior citizens,” a mayoral candidate said yesterday.

The first candidate to publicly address the issue of Ottawa’s aging demographic, Jim Watson said the city has “a lot of work to do.”

“I see it when I go to Carlingwood Mall, I see the increased usage of Para Transpo. More of us are becoming senior citizens and we have to be properly planning for the future, which we haven’t been.”

The city owns a number of long-term care homes and does the maintenance on the sidewalks, as well as run recreation programs,” said Watson.

Over the next several decades, the percentage of residents in Ottawa 65 and older will double from 12 per cent today to 24 per cent.

“We have a lot of work to do. And what I’m proposing to do in the first year, if I have the honour of being elected, is to bring together experts from across the country and around the city to hold the first-ever seniors’ summit.

“We have to be better prepared, we have to learn from others.”

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