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District seeks development partner

Downtown Mission has been identified as the preferred location for a seniors centre, but it will be at least another few years before one is built, said Bob Ingram, chair of the district's seniors centre task force.

Earlier this week, council supported a business case developed by the group and will be looking for a development partner to conduct a detailed feasibility study.

Downtown is being considered because of the social, cultural and economic benefits for seniors, and a centre would fit in with the district's redevelopment plans for the area.

Ingram noted several sites are being considered, but did not want to identify them until after the study is completed. Another location being examined is near the Leisure Centre.

The study will look at the viability of a mixed-use building, which would include a seniors centre on the ground floor with affordable condos on top, and if other resources are needed.

After the study is completed, the group will move to the design stage, said Ingram, who would also like to see a multi-generational facility with a portion dedicated to senior use.

"That's really important for a community because the research we did showed us a standalone seniors-only facility isn't what seniors are looking for," said Ingram. "They want to see programs put in that are a part of the community, not just seniors."

The facility could also have rental space and a commercial kitchen.

It's not a place for seniors to go and hide, he added.

The seniors task force, which has been in place since 2012, studied seniors centres at several nearby communities, added Mayor Ted Adlem, who is also a member of the group.

The proposed operating model would see the district as owners of the building and the Mission Seniors Centre Association as the managers of the facility.

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