Mission seniors should get involved

Advocacy group persistent in lobbying for seniors centre

Editor, The Record:

Mission seniors have been met with indifference and neglect for over seven years now in their quest to secure a fully functional and self-governed seniors’ activity centre.

After years of volunteering, paying taxes and creating the infrastructure that exists today, seniors should not be faulted to expect an activity centre, like most every other municipality in B.C.

We are optimistic because Mayor Ted Adlem said in his inauguration speech that council will make a decision in a timely manner, now passing four months. As well, a new Mission Seniors’ Centre Association (MSCA) board has now been elected and I feel confident we shall witness some progress.

The Elder Citizens Action Coalition’s (ECAC) rallying call, “unity in challenging times,” heralds our pro-active approach and expected direction to be taken to meet seniors’ needs. As a private, apolitical, pro-active advocacy, we have been persistent and steadfast in lobbying to create public awareness and encourage increasing support from all residents toward achieving this needed facility.

Two specific objectives need to be met by the municipality:

1. To designate the current Mission Community Activity Centre, as a seniors’ activity centre, under the direct control of seniors, to plan, schedule and use the full facility on a temporary basis, effective by Sept. 1 to coincide with a planned bus stop. To include a fee-for-service, initially not less than equivalent to existing operating budgets.

2. To commence discussion with a view to finalize a permanent site on district-owned land adjacent to the Leisure Centre, initially 10,000 to 12,000 sq. ft. with an estimated cost of $4.3 to $5.1 million, paid at least half by amenity fees; later plans to increase to 15,000 sq. ft., estimated total cost $6.4 million. Seniors’ housing and some market value accommodation, such as 600 to 900 sq. ft. suites, will help offset costs, plus grants, public donations and last, possible self-financing loans from existing surplus accounts.

We call upon all seniors over 55 years old to be involved, and wish to see the formation of a mutually supportive seniors’ activity centre governing body, presumably by the new board of MSCA.

Most people will not commit until there is a viable plan, or in our case, an actual site to visit. Hence, we call for an immediate designation, and this will encourage and permit seniors to partake in a variety of activities now and join ranks as we move toward a permanent site over the next three to five years. This also allows the municipality time to amass funding, something that indifference and procrastination by past mayors and councillors have been negligent to do.

George F. Evens