Vision Vancouver politicians promise more money for Killarney seniors centre

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Mayor Gregor Robertson will introduce a motion at the Tuesday (January 21) council meeting to allocate an additional $1.2 million in city funds to build a new Killarney seniors centre.

That's on top of previous commitments of $2.5 million and free land from the city, $1.3 million from the province, and $2.5 million from the federal government.

The motion is not on the city website, but its existence was revealed in a statement to the media. The mayor's office referred all questions to Coun. Raymond Louie.

Louie told the Straight by phone that he has "high confidence" that there will be at least a $1.2-million surplus in this year's operating budget, which can be reallocated to cover the capital costs of the new centre.

"The goal is to build a 10,000-square-foot [centre], including a kitchen and elevator, but working within the framework of the monies available," Louie said. "Currently, we have $7.5 million available if this motion passes through council."

It comes four days after NPA commissioner Melissa De Genova questioned why the city wasn't able to come up with the money for a seniors centre when it uses community-amenity contributions to fund other projects.

Last year, De Genova introduced a motion at the Vancouver park board calling on the city to use CACs, but Vision Vancouver politicians have refused to do this.

"It's inappropriate for it to be coming out of another community—to be pulled out of their allocation—to fund this," Louie said.

De Genova's motion last year also suggested that a 10,000-square foot Killarney seniors centre with an elevator and full kitchen will cost $10 million.

Louie called that a "made-up figure" that city staff have never confirmed.

The initial $7.5-million estimate was created in 2011.

"It's important for us to re-evaluate the exact costs of what a facility would cost today and update those figures," Louie said. "We may be able to find enough efficiencies through design to build all of it."

The federal government mentioned in a January 7 news release that it had committed $2.5 million for a "new 10,000-square-foot facility".

Louie didn't discount the possibility of the provincial government or private funders coming forward with more money.

When asked if the city could generate funds through the sale of naming rights on the building, he said that coucil is guided by a 2006 policy.

It permits individual naming rights over new park-board or social-services facilities, as well as individual renaming, individual naming of interior and exterior facility components.

Corporate naming rights are not allowed on new park-board or social-service facilities, but they can be attached to interior facility components.

Corporate naming rights are allowed, however, on new community sport facilities.

Comments (3) Add New Comment
MarkV
As a Boomer about to turn 65 this week, I should welcome the readiness of all three levels of government to pony up to $1000 per sq. ft. (!!) to tend to my future recreation needs as well as those of other persons with wrinkles. But before I commit to segregation from the rest of the community I would like to know more. What kind of weightroom will this centre have? Will the music just be classic rock or will other genres be occasionally played? Will it be active after 5:00 p.m., unlike most of the seniors centres currently operating? In short, how will it be different than a normal community centre, and if isn't going to be, why are we bothering?
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Kim
It's not a Steve Nash Fitness Club Mark.
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MarkV
A good thing, Kim, I look terrible in Lulu Lemon gear. As the tide of Straight on-line opinion seems to be running against my last post, let me clarify. If we are building senior centres at this point, we are building them mainly for the Boomer generation and those to follow. Given that we are "talking about m-m-my generation" what evidence is there of a demand for such a facility? I would like to see a scientifically controlled poll of the 55-70 yrs age cohort to see if they're enthusiastic about the idea and, if so, what kind of facility/programmming would actually draw their participation. I, for one, would be happy to continue rubbing shoulders against other generations in any old community centre (although I am not ready yet for the typical 'seniors' programming they provide).
Note, too, that we are not talking about 'adult day' care here, which is and will no doubt continue to be a strong need, and where I feel the public investment should go.
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