Members of the Okanagan Mission Senior Centre Society pictured at an event in 2019. (Caitlin Clow/Black Press Media file)

Members of the Okanagan Mission Senior Centre Society pictured at an event in 2019. (Caitlin Clow/Black Press Media file)

Community members gather support against demolition of Kelowna seniors’ activity centre

Talks about the centre’s demolition have been happening since 2019

Community members are concerned over the potential demolition of the Okanagan Mission Activity Centre (OMAC) on 4398 Hobson Road in Kelowna.

The Okanagan Mission Activity Centre is a small multi-use facility near Sarsons Beach in the Lower Mission. The facility is owned by the city and is operated in collaboration with the Okanagan Mission Seniors Centre Society. It is a community hub for over 300 senior members and a much-beloved site for many others, according to Seniors Centre Society member Carol Millar.

But the fate of the facility has always been uncertain: talks about the centre’s demolition have been happening since 2019.

“A couple of years ago, we invited the manager of the parks and recreation department to come and speak with us. At the time, he told us that the city wanted to put in this new building between the Capital News Centre and the H2O Adventure and Fitness Centre. I think their vision is for it to be like Parkinson Recreation Centre,” said Millar.

Millar and other society members have been canvassing the community to gather comments and feedback from residents. Many of the people they talked to did not know about the city’s plan to demolish OMAC, she said.

“They didn’t know about it, and that’s why we are canvassing. This past weekend we attended the Pandosy Art Festive to let people know that this is the city’s intention for OMAC and if they are aware of it,” said Millar. “We want to gather information and gather support as well.”

Millar said she has been in touch with the city ever since she started canvassing the community about this issue. However, the plans for the activity centre still remain unclear.

“The city said they will consult the community about this, so now we’re getting our ducks in a row because the consultation process can often be very quick or they’ve already made up their minds,” said Millar. “Right now we are trying to get support from the community and trying to figure out how to support the building financially and what the Society can do to support it.”

The city, however, said there is no imminent plan to demolish OMAC. Plans to redesign the centre are in the city’s 10-year Capital Plan, but nothing concrete has been decided.

“It’s only a plan at this point, and the final decision on budget approval for that will be made by the council of the day,” said City of Kelowna media relations manager Tom Wilson. “OMAC Seniors Centre Society has been aware of the above plans for several years, and staff have been in contact with the board periodically to answer questions and consult on any needed upgrades to the building.

“Until there’s a decision by city council in a few years, there is nothing new,” he added.

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