Campbell River seniors finally have a home.
It may be temporary but it’s a home nonetheless for the nearly 600 seniors left with no fixed address since having to vacate the Campbell River Common Mall.
Council on Tuesday voted to allow the seniors centre society use of both the Sportsplex and the Community Centre, rent-free, weekdays during the day.
Council approved the move from September up until the end of this year.
The four month period equates to $19,000 in value but Ross Milnthorp, the city’s parks, recreation and culture manager, said it’s unlikely the city would have seen all of that money even if the seniors weren’t there.
“It’s very difficult to predict with any certainty if any percentage of those times would be rented to other customers between now and Dec. 31,” Milnthorp told council. “Because we are already nearing September, I would say there is not a strong likelihood that a significant percentage of those times would be rented.”
Coun. Claire Moglove wanted to keep the rent-free period at three months after hearing from city staff that one year would see the city potentially forfeit $76,000 – reducing the city’s surplus.
Moglove recommended the Seniors Society apply for a grant-in-aid for 2014.
“It would be my hope that the seniors would continue at the Sportsplex and or the Community Centre in 2014,” she said.
Moglove also addressed the issue of setting a precedent by giving one community group rent-free access while other seniors groups, including the 50+ Living program have 25 per cent of their costs covered by taxpayers.
But Moglove said she believes this is a different situation.
“I think there is a caution in our report that this might set a precedent, however, because the Senior Society is working with the city to merge the two programs (city seniors programs) and we’re looking forward to a partnership; I think that puts this is in a different category,” Moglove said.
“And I think the seniors have worked diligently and I do applaud their efforts.”
The Seniors Centre Society operated rent-free out of Campbell River Common Mall from July 1, 2010 up until May of this year.