Seniors need to get on board with pushing for a centre

The Mission Seniors' Centre Association is hosting an AGM March 7 at 10:30 a.m.

Editor, The Record:

I recently went on a bus tour of Pitt Meadows’ new Westbrooke Seniors’ Living and Activity Centre.

This impressive four-floor site boasts 104 living units, some assisted living and an adjoining 9,500 sq. ft seniors’ centre. Readers can view the pictures at thecouncilclaw.ca.

In Mission, seniors have not been afforded due respect, nor until recently, has the indifference by each level of government been abated and replaced with more respectful and meaningful dialogue. Eight years have passed since seniors first raised the idea spectre of having their own seniors’ activity centre.

It is incongruous that Mission does not have a seniors’ centre. At present an unacceptable arrangement exists to share the Mission Community Activity Centre.

Until seniors see a structure as “their” building — where seven-day-a-week drop between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. is possible — there is a major lack of support. I believe the “build it and they will come” adage applies.

Mayor and council, along with the seniors’ task force deserve encouragement to proceed quickly. If, like Pitt Meadows, it takes six years to bring the project to fruition, many seniors will not see a facility in their lifetime. But if funding and a site is quickly secured and a developer steps up, it could happen sooner.

The Elder Citizen Action Coalition (ECAC) continues to advocate for a centre to be established on district-owned property, adjacent the Leisure Centre. Simply, a three to four storey market housing structure, with a designated number of low-cost, and some assisted living suites. I envisage a 10,000 to 12,000 sq. ft. activity centre, using a fee-for-service grant to operate with some full- and part-time staff, but largely with volunteers.

Due to the unacceptable progress to date and failure by past mayor and councils, seniors may be forgiven their lack of enthusiasm or positive involvement. But this reticence by seniors presents a double-edge sword.

First, lack of physical involvement due to a lack of available and consistent use of a seniors’ facility and lack of interesting activities discourage many to participate, thus, a dearth of volunteers. But the second side tends to pose a dilemma to politicians; that witnessing absence of active public interest and volunteer involvement, they may be lulled to believe their indifference and scarcity of progress is justified.

So, may this letter serve as an awakening call to all seniors to get on board, make your support known, and consult the website for more details on seniors’ issues.

As well, join the Mission Seniors’ Centre Association by attending the AGM March 7 at 10:30 a.m. at Mission Seniors’ Activity Centre. Annual dues are $10.

George F. Evens

Mission