Activity centre should be signed over for seniors’ exclusive use

Editor, The Record:

Re: MCSA wants seniors’ opinions, May 12 edition.

This story reads like a fairy tale of bafflegab and renderings from apologists and enablers, that permit Mission council to continue their shameful neglect of seniors.

Mission council recently retained a consultant who recommended the community activity centre be designated the seniors activity centre. Council placed the report on a shelf, without even a whimper of protest from the Mission Seniors Centre Association board.

Coun. Paul Horn recently had five questions answered, not by the board but rather, an autocratic response by the MCSA president, Frank Sleigh. Now, the district’s senior planner has convened a focus group of hand-picked participants, many of whom are from the status-quo segment. How better to get the answers you want? The survey mentioned is folly, and this procrastination just delays council acting with empathy to afford seniors a place to call their own.

The MSCA board are the opponents to progress, indeed the benefactors of five years of failure, so far, to achieve their constitutional mandate. They make foolhardy excuses and act as apologists for council’s indifference and neglect.

Rather than hold council to account for their lack of empathy and duly represent seniors, Sleigh says, “It just takes time to get things going.” As well, “council is just being careful with public money.”

But then the glaring anomaly where Sleigh states the building’s bills are covered by the municipality, and if they move into their own building, associated costs would follow. This is all conjecture. First, small space and sporadically used is free but no plans are in evidence to move anywhere, so is this all fear-mongering?

At present, there is drop-in, crib, bingo, line dancing that has existed for years, some bi-weekly meetings for OAPO and MSCA, an exercise class for maybe 12 people, use of a small meeting room and cramped lounge, but most space is only during certain scheduled hours.

Anyone who has visited a functional seniors’ activity centre, like Maple Ridge, should find it ironic that Mission, for its size, is one of the only municipalities that does not look after seniors and have an activity centre. Council must immediately assign the complete building to seniors’ use, and continue paying operating costs as a fee-for-service.

Being respectful and responsive to elders’ needs is part of a culture that appears alien to Mission, but sadly seniors representatives are largely to blame. They fail to negotiate from a position of strength, as 10,000 senior voters 50+ years of age, of an eligible voter list of 22,000, can be persuasive. This is an election year!

George F. Evens