Music by the talented Ben Klick served as a nice soundtrack during the Okanagan Mission Senior Centre Society’s 50th anniversary party on Saturday, July 27, 2019. (Caitlin Clow - Kelowna Capital News)

Future unknown for Kelowna seniors’ activity centre

Okanagan Mission Senior Centre Society celebrates 50 years, but hopes to celebrate many more

The Okanagan Mission Senior Centre Society celebrated 50 years of memories and fun last Saturday at their beloved centre on Hobson Road.

Cake was cut, stories swapped, art was displayed and history was relived through old photo albums during the party that drew people of all ages to celebrate the society’s 50 years in the building they’ve called home since 1973.

Cake was cut and served in celebration of the Okanagan Mission Senior Centre Society’s 50th anniversary on Saturday, July 27, 2019. (Caitlin Clow – Kelowna Capital News)

But underlying the buzz of the celebration and music by country artist Ben Klick was uncertainty, as the future of the Okanagan Mission Activity Centre remains unknown.

READ MORE: Rutland townhouse project will ‘step it up a notch’: Kelowna Councillor

READ MORE: West Kelowna’s Crystal Mountain to reopen this winter under new management

The centre is a special place for more than 300 senior members, said president Grace Egeland.

But it’s possible the centre, otherwise known as Dawe’s House, could be demolished to enlarge the park space at Sarsons Beach and increase the parking lot size.

City of Kelowna parks and building planning manager Robert Parlane said the demolition slated for 2020 is not the activity centre, but rather another structure on the southern portion of the property.

The city wants to remove the hedging and fencing to expand the green space near Sarsons Beach, he said.

He added that “no firm decisions” have been made at this time regarding the future of the beloved activity centre.

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr offered words of support to the members of Okanagan Mission Senior Centre Society during its 50th anniversary celebration on Saturday. (Caitlin Clow – Kelowna Capital News)

“From the second I walked in here…I immediately saw and felt the value of this place,” Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr said to the more than 100 attendees at the anniversary party.

“This space is amazing,” he said. “It means a lot for the people here in the community and it’s definitely worth keeping.”

He said although the issue is not in the federal jurisdiction, he would do anything he can to use his influence to advocate for the space.

“The City of Kelowna is really, really proud of the seniors’ centre,” added Kelowna city councillor Maxine DeHart.

“I don’t think there is a better location in the city to have a building like this.”

Parlane said the City of Kelowna purchased the former residence in 1973 and converted it for community use.

“It’s really not well designed for community use,” he said.

But, he acknowledged it has great views and has become very popular with the people who use it.

“The (property) was bought with the intention of creating beach access,” he said.

“There were no conditions upon purchase.”

Seniors Minister Filomena Tassi visited the centre alongside Fuhr during last month’s visit to the Kelowna area and praised the centre and the society for all they do, Fuhr explained.

Egeland said instead of demolition, she would rather see fundraising and renovations to upgrade the waterfront space.

“We want our home,” she said.

Parlane said renovations could be an option.

“No decisions have been made, so I can’t say yes or no,” he said.

“It has to be an option on the table until decisions are made.”

The city’s capital plan has proposed the construction of a new activity centre at Mission Recreation Park and Parlane said the development of a new centre could render the Sarsons Beach house redundant.

Talk of designating a seniors’ activity centre near the H2O Adventure and Fitness Centre doesn’t leave a good taste in the society president’s mouth.

Egeland said the cement building with small windows inside the centre won’t ever have the same magic or homey vibe that the senior members love so much about their current location.

“If the place came down,” she said. “I can’t see myself working hard for the society in a place that’s not worthwhile.”

Parlane said community consultation would be undertaken if a new centre is to be constructed to create a “welcoming centre.”

READ MORE: Truck rolls of Lakeshore Road inches from Kelowna home


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Members of the Okanagan Mission Senior Centre Society are worried about the future of their centre. (Caitlin Clow - Kelowna Capital News)

Just Posted

Successful Canadian Sport School coming to Penticton

A meeting is planned for February about Canadian Sport School - Penticton

Peachfest announces 2020 headliners

Glass Tiger and Honeymoon Suite back featuring large in the list of headliners.

U.S. lawyer charged with allegedly smuggling restricted firearms across Osoyoos border

Shawn Jensen allegedly smuggled AR-15, Ruger .22 over U.S./Canada border, with no licence.

Okanagan among Canada’s most at-risk habitats: WWF report

Report found the Okanagan is inadequately protected despite being a hotspot for at-risk species

Penticton council supports “dire need” for youth rehab centre

Bridge Recovery Services seek support for youth dealing with lack of treatment facilities.

UBCO students raise funds for those affected by Philippine volcano eruption

All proceeds will be donated to the Philippine Red Cross

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

Empty speedboat sinks off Kelowna shore on Okanagan Lake

This is the third report of a boat found in the lake in the past two weeks

COLUMN: Pre-clearance changes at Canadian airports

Some believe these expanded powers may be contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

UPDATE: Revelstoke City Council gives themselves a raise, councillor resigns in protest

The mayor’s pay is set to go from $30,000 to $60,000 over three years

Kelowna General Hospital takes steps to prevent spread of coronavirus

So far, at least six people have died and 275 people have contracted the virus worldwide

Most Read