Commissioner Woodcock’s Letter of Support Senior Centre in South Van

Commission Woodcock has asked me to read this letter to Mayor Council tomorrow for the discussion on the next Capital Plan.

“ I join many residents of this city in applauding city council and the mayor’s office for responding to the need for a seniors centre in Southeast Vancouver. For many years community advocates such as Lorna Gibbs, John Pawluk, Tom Holmes and Keith Jacobson have spoken on behalf of the 16% of the city’s seniors who live in SE Vancouver. This area of the city has many lower income seniors as well as English as a large second language population of seniors who need a community gathering place where they can socialize and have nutritious meals.

The community has sought a senior’s centre in the area since the mid 1990’s. The City and Parks Board supported a centre at Killarney in 2001, however a provincial election changed the political landscape and the city’s funding went elsewhere. Since then there has been a history of efforts by park board and the city to locate adequate capital dollars which could then be leveraged to acquire provincial and federal government matching funds to build this long overdue facility.

In 2009 the park board expressed its support by passing a motion asking staff to investigate siting options at the existing Killarney community centre for adding 10,000 sq. ft. of program space to accommodate a seniors centre. Commissioners hoped that if park board could provide the land then the costs of building and operating this facility would be reduced significantly.

In my years of approaching both provincial and federal officials in seeking support for this seniors facility, what I heard was that it was crucial for the City to pledge funding and prioritize this on our projects list before other levels of government would consider pledging funds. So it is with much enthusiasm that myself as a commissioner, speaking on behalf of the Coalition of Progressive Electors, along with residents of this city, applaud this initiative to make a capital dollar commitment to the development of a seniors facility. “

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