Council evoked a rarely-used power of council last week to re-open a decision made three weeks ago on a new seniors’ centre.
Coun. Andy Adams said he wanted council to re-consider a motion passed at the April 29 council meeting that directs city staff to look at adding a seniors’ centre either onto or adjacent to the Community Centre.
Adams said new information brought to light at an in-camera meeting convinced him that council should also consider building a seniors’ centre on a city-owned lot on Cedar Street, across from the Community Centre. Coun. Larry Samson’s original motion, which was passed by council, was specific to only the Community Centre and did not name any other locations for consideration.
“This is certainly not to take away from the initiative of Councillor Samson in looking for a report for a seniors’ centre at the Community Centre but information has been brought to light that this may be worth a look,” Adams said.
Samson disagreed and wanted to stick with his original motion.
“The original motion never stopped council from looking at other options, that option’s always been open,” Samson said. “The original motion only talked about the Community Centre. But putting a seniors’ centre on Cedar Street looking out on a back alley; I don’t think that’s the vision we want to give to the seniors’ centre.”
Coun. Ron Kerr said the building would not have to look down into the alley, it could be built right on the street. Kerr also said he would hate to see any future plans die because council was too narrow-minded.
“I have no problems with the initial motion,” Kerr said. “I think we should be looking at the Community Centre but I would hate to have staff come back and say ‘it’s not appropriate to look at the Community Centre’ and then we’re back to square one.”
Mayor Walter Jakeway felt the same way.
“I think we need to look at all options and allow staff to have free rein to look at all possibilities,” Jakeway said. “If we’re going to spend a million dollars, it would be a shame to not look at all the options.”
Coun. Claire Moglove, however, was in Samson’s camp and said for her, having the seniors’ centre as part of the Community Centre makes the most sense.
“My rationale is that I do believe that by far the first choice is to have the seniors in the Community Centre because of the intergenerational connection,” Moglove said. “We have fairly significant seniors programming (there) now so having a group that’s isolated from the existing seniors group I think is going in the wrong direction.”
Councillors Ryan Mennie and Mary Storry also decided to stick with the Community Centre model and, along with Moglove and Samson, voted against changing the original motion to include consideration of other sites.
Since the current council was elected in 2011, council has re-considered a previously passed motion just once before.
Last year, Mayor Jakeway brought back a motion so council could reverse its decision to deny a bylaw amendment to permit a doggy daycare business.