Kelowna’s new seniors’ centre has been officially opened at the Parkinson Recreation Centre.
Renamed the Parkinson Activity Centre, the new, two-storey, 13,000-square-foot building will be a place that better meets the needs of Kelowna seniors, said Mayor Walter Gray during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning.
It replaces the old Water Street Senior’s Centre on the downtown lakeshore. That building will now be demolished to make way for a new Kelowna Yacht Club. The yacht club’s existing location, besides the old seniors centre, will, in turn, become space for an expansion of Jim Stuart Park.
Gray said the new $4.1 million activity centre—which will also be available to host programs for people who are not seniors—was built on budget and on schedule.
It contains a main hall that opens onto a large grassed area on the banks of Mill Creek, a commercial-grade kitchen, an activity room, meeting room, a computer lab and a billiard room. The latter two rooms will be for the exclusive use of the newly renamed Parkinson Seniors’ Society.
Carole Bridges, president of the society said seniors moved into the new activity centre Nov 13 and some programs are already up and running.
The popular computer programs will start in January and anyone interested is advised to contact the centre by December if they want to register.
“The more we use the space, the more we can cal it our own,” Bridges told the gathering of about 100 seniors who showed up to watch the ribbon-cutting.
In his remarks, Gray touted the new location as being convenient because it is adjacent to the Parkinson Recreation Centre and because it has good transportation links being on Harvey Avenue and major bus routes.
But, while one lady in the crowd welcomed the new building, she said the mayor may have been overstating the transportation convenience of the new centre.
Barbara Roberts said she is concerned the city has cut some bus routes that are popular with seniors and that might make it difficult for some seniors to get to the new centre.
“I’m really thankful for this,” she said pointing to the building. “But I’d say transportation is actually getting worse for some seniors.”
But many in the crowd Thursday morning were just happy to see the new building, saying it was a vast improvement over the aging facilities at the Water Street Seniors Centre.
Bridges said the new digs will make a difference.
“It will enable many classes to he held without (the participants) being disturbed,” she said.
In the old centre, the main hall was only accessible through the lounge area, so that meant people often passed through during various classes.
Both Gray and Bridges praised the volunteers who helped plan the new building.
“I think the city spent more time on planing and fine-tuning this building than it has on any other building in Kelowna,” said Bridges.