It is ironic that the federal minister for seniors, Filomena Tassi, visited the much-loved Okanagan Mission Seniors’ Centre on Hobson Road which the City of Kelowna plans to demolish as part of a redevelopment plan (Courier, July 5).
During her visit, the minister emphasized the importance of such centres. When MP Stephen Fuhr spoke to our (weekly) Thursday group about the redevelopment, a loud clamour was heard. He promised to do what he could to speak for us. He also told me the building is in “pretty good shape.”
An official was overheard saying that as an entrepreneur they could see the potential for the site. (Hmm.)
As a newer resident of Kelowna (three years), this spectacularly- located centre has proved a literal godsend for me. As one of the hundreds of users of this facility, it has provided friendship, stimulation and the opportunity to endlessly appreciate being able to play bridge, meet and learn to care for new friends and to enjoy watching the moods of Okanagan Lake, as well as those playing upon, and in it. Even in winter it is soul-soothing.
From what I have learned, it appears the city was gifted the site by the Dawes family with the stipulation that it be kept as a seniors’ activity centre, but the paperwork for this has been “lost.”
A long-time resident told me some witnesses to this fact are no longer with us.
Do the neighbours in the Sarsons Beach area have any idea what will ensue when this building is demolished? (We are a quiet and respectful group.) The plan is for beach improvement, but no extra parking. Do we think there may soon be a condo on site once the more than 300 users of the building are removed and the attention has died down?
The pro-development attitude of city government has been noted.
At 70 years of age, does not this house, which is a senior itself, qualify as a heritage jewel?
Presently we are quilters, bridge and crib players who also regularly get together on the lawn for picnics.
Last weekend, it amazed me to see how the building had been transformed for a showing of local artists. On July 27, the 50th anniversary of the OKM Centre will be celebrated. Why not come and have a look?
Personally I believe in people power and am prepared to lay down in front of a bulldozer if it would help.