New seniors’ centre could include church partnership

A preliminary plan was presented to council Monday

A potential partnership between St. Andrew’s United Church, the District of Mission and the Mission Seniors’ Accociation was presented to council Monday evening.

In a staff report looking for a permanent location for the Mission Seniors’ Centre, staff recommend seeking public input for a centre at the Grand Street location, among other possible locations.

Coun. Jenny Stevens said she has heard widespread support from local seniors for the idea.

The proposed redevelopment project would include a new church, 24 townhouse units, 67 apartment condominiums, and an 8,000-square-foot senior’s centre at an estimated cost for the seniors’ component of $2.4 million.

The benefits to such a redevelopment project, as outlined in the staff report are multi-faceted.

For the church, it would enable shared space, parking and overhead, important with a shrinking congregation.

For district coffers, it would generate an estimated $100,000 in new property tax revenues (the church is presently tax-exempt), $1.2 million in development cost charges, and $256,000 in community amenity contributions (CAC).

For seniors, it would provide both a much-needed addition to affordable seniors’ housing in the district, while finding a permanent and central location for the seniors’ centre, presently located at 10 Avenue and Taulbut Street.

Coun. Heather Stewart said it was encouraging to hear Mission is considering following the example set in Maple Ridge of combining the needs of seniors’ housing with an activity centre.

But deputy chief administrative officer Paul Gipps quickly noted this proposal is still in its infancy.

The St. Andrew’s site is just one option, and staff will now seek public input on this proposal, as well as possible sites in Pleasantview adjacent to the northwest boundary of the hospital, and Fletcher Avenue on the southeast boundary of the hospital.

The public consultation will include questions as to whether the district should maintain ownership of the seniors’ facility, or if the Mission Seniors’ Association would form their own agreement with St. Andrew’s.

Should the district partner in the project, it could choose to forgo receiving DCC payment until project completion, use part of the new property tax revenue to finance debt, contribute the CAC directly to the project, and use municipal finance authority dollars for capital costs.

However, Gipps stressed the church location is just the preliminary stage, and any negotiations and partnership with St. Andrew’s is still purely conceptual.

Should the project go ahead, drawings provided to council show a 3,000-square-foot church, underground parking, and a four-storey wood frame structure.