Could an expansion to the Mission Activity Centre solve the growing need for more space for seniors?
Council has approved a staff recommendation to hire a qualified consulting firm, at a cost of $7,500, to inspect and evaluate the possible expansion in order to provide more space for both community and seniors’ programs.
The firm would provide recommendations and a budget for the proposed expansion.
A community working group will also be created to work with district staff and the consultant.
That decision was made following an earlier report that suggested no further action be taken by council in regard to a new seniors’ centre/affordable-housing project. That project was thought to be expensive and there was no guarantee that the homes could be filled once built.
While some on council felt the activity centre expansion is a step forward, Bob Ingram, president of the Mission Seniors Centre Association, was disappointed with the decision.
Ingram told council he believed the association would be consulted before a report went before council and that four people recommended by the association and some from the youth committee would form a working group.
He said he thought “the project would be done with the seniors’ centre association, not to the seniors’ centre association.”
Ingram also told council that the report did not recognize the efforts of seniors.
“There is a disregard totally for the thousands of volunteer hours contributed by seniors to make it the success it is today,” said Ingram.
“I thought to come out of this process would come a vision for the future needs of seniors in this community. What I see developing is a stop gap. After 10 years of involvement, we’re back to square one. I find this extremely frustrating.”
Mayor Randy Hawes replied that the study would assess if the centre could, architecturally, be expanded and had to be done before planning could begin.
Ingram did not agree.
“I see a commitment to yet one more study. I see no commitment to anything coming up. I see nothing coming out of this study.
“I have the sense that, since I’ve been working with this council, that I have been led around by the nose in ever-increasing circles and we are back to square one,” said Ingram, adding that he was sorry to rain on council’s parade.
The need for a permanent seniors’ centre in Mission has been ongoing for several years. In 2012, the Seniors’ Centre Task Force was created to help identify a possible site for a permanent centre.
One of the challenges has always been financing such a large project. Renovating the existing centre could be a less expensive opportunity.
The facility could possibly double in size to 929 square metres (10,000 square feet) of programmable space.