Seniors’ represent approximately 17 per cent of the population and at the District of Mission account for about 5,000 people over the age of 65. That number grows to more than 10,000 when you factor in the people who are 55 and older.
Another Seniors’ Week ends, yet, after 10 years of advocating for seniors, I find indifference and a moribund form of governing both from successive mayors and councillors, but sadly, less than proactive representation from senior leaders so far.
Sadly, I just witnessed the passing of the 10th senior, who devoting their lives and retirement to making Mission a more inclusive place to live and each was dying to have the opportunity to enjoy the camaraderie and benefits of having our own seniors’ activity centre in their lifetime.
It has been a frustrating experience observing the lack of urgency dealing with this time sensitive group, but equally the lack of recognition beyond lip service to this wonderful group of citizens who have built the infrastructure and many amenities that exist in our community – and not to forget a lifetime of paying taxes – only to be one, if not the only municipality in B.C., to not rejoice in having a dedicated seniors’ activity centre.
We have had unsuccessful meetings with councils, a year-long task force, and now a year into another council tenure, with the closest optimism being a statement that the newly purchased property at the northwest corner of the leisure centre property could be a new home for a seniors’ facility.
While we have endured silly notions to embrace a multi-generational environment to be shared with others.
Seniors can take major progressive strides forward following a dynamic proactive approach, overcome the prevalent apathy and start to achieve a sustainable membership at Mission Seniors’ Centre Association.
I anticipate the consultants housing component review will be shelved and more procrastination will emerge, likely in the form of renovations to the existing facility, a shared community building and of course another (committee) to review and at the end of the day witness a larger version of an old fire hall converted for seniors but remain a shared community building which is insulting, at best.
The most important step is to convince mayor and councillors to commit to a firm date to have a minimum 12,000 square foot cement facility built for approximately $7 million and an innovative funding process to do so, that may include multi-use housing above, to help defray costs. Let’s get motivated and do dynamic things.