The city is considering building a seniors centre as either an addition to the Community Centre or as a stand-alone building on the same property.
Coun. Larry Samson urged council at its April 29 meeting to help the seniors who have been bounced around between several locations since 2009.
The seniors’ centre currently operates at the Sportsplex for part of the week and at the Community Centre the remaining days.
“What we have now is not sustainable,” Samson said. “I think for me the Community Centre is something we have to closely look at. I think to me it’s a natural fit.”
The Community Centre already hosts the city’s 50+ Active Living program plus it is the centre of public transit.
Coun. Claire Moglove said the Community Centre is the perfect fit because it’s a place where youth and seniors both meet. Moglove said she learned through a workshop at the recent Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities convention that a healthy community is one that promotes intergenerational relationships between young people and seniors.
“Having the seniors at the Community Centre is hugely important and much preferable in my opinion than having a stand-alone building,” Moglove said. “I think that having the seniors’ centre or an expanded space at the Community Centre for seniors is the absolute number one concept.”
But councillors Ron Kerr and Andy Adams wanted city staff to look at other potential locations.
Kerr suggested city staff look at using the city-owned lot across from the Community Centre on Cedar Street.
“We have land on the other side of the street which is close enough and it has the parking there,” Kerr said. “My concern with the Community Centre property is you’re going to eliminate an awful lot of parking there.”
Adams said only considering the Community Centre was too limiting.
“I think we’re all on the same page that the desired objective is to have a stand-alone Seniors’ Centre in the downtown core,” Adams said. “I wouldn’t want to restrict as to what that may look like or how we get there.”
Samson responded that looking at other options has gotten the city nowhere.
“That’s what we’ve been doing for two years and we’ve gotten nowhere,” Samson said. “I’m saying it’s time to look at something that’s concrete. Let’s get on with it. Let’s not keep looking for something that’s down the road.”
Council in the end agreed and voted to have staff bring back a report on the feasibility of building a seniors’ centre either within the Community Centre or on the same property.