When is a senior not a senior? When they use Kelowna’s new “multi-age” activity centre currently being built at the Parkinson Recreation Centre.
The newly named, but yet to be completed, Parkinson Activity Centre is the replacement for the existing Water Street Senior’s Centre downtown. That centre will relocate to the PRC grounds once the new building is complete.
Earlier this week, council adopted a new name for the building, with staff saying the word “seniors” was dropped because the new building will offer programs for more than just seniors and is considered a “multi-age” centre.
But some on council expressed concern about the building primarily for seniors not being identified as a seniors’ centre.
Mayor Sharon Shepherd said she was disappointed the word was omitted because it would have recognized the main group helping to operate it. SHe said a sign should at least identify it as home to the Kelowna Seniors’ Society.
She also noted that other seniors centres in the city do include the word in their titles.
Coun. Charlie Hodge said when word gets out, the city can expect to hear from many seniors that he said will feel “snubbed” by the omission.
But not all councillors agreed.
Coun. Andre Blanleil applauded the new name saying it would help attract a wider range of people to the centre and that will be a good thing.
He said even some seniors, such as his parents, do not want to go to a centre that is identified as a “seniors” centre.
City recreation and cultural services director Jim Gabriel defended the omission of the word in the new name for the two-storey, 13,000-square-foot building, noting it will be multi-use and provide multi-age community programming.
He said the city’s civic naming policy calls for several criteria, including respect of civic identity, reflection of programs and services offered there, preservation of any historic landmark connotations of particular significance in the area, marketing capacity and uniqueness, ability to name components of the building, memorability and the ability to convert the name into an acronym or abbreviation.
He said in total 30 names were suggested for the new building, which will be located beside the Parkinson Recreation Centre and is expected to be complete next year. The other 29 suggestions were not released.
Despite questions about the lack of the word “seniors” in the name, all members of council voted in favour of it.