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Letter to the Editor: The 55 Plus Centre

To the editor: The 55 Plus Centre is a good thing. It consistently generates revenue for the Corporation of the City of Thunder Bay.
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Letters to the editor - with text

To the editor:

The 55 Plus Centre is a good thing. It consistently generates revenue for the Corporation of the City of Thunder Bay. The volunteer Board also generates revenue, last year $100,000, which was reinvested into the purchase of computers, dances, equipment for activities, and the $52K the Board contributes to the City operating budget annually.

More than 500 people daily visit the Centre, and about 30 volunteers assist daily. There is a partnership between the city and volunteers; the city needs volunteers to achieve success and the volunteers need the city to provide structure.Together, the Thunder Bay 55 Plus Centre has set the standard for Seniors' Centres in Ontario.

Census figures from 2016 showed that there were 5.9 million seniors and 5.8 million youth, the first time there were more Canadians over 65 than there were 14 and under, and this trend is ongoing.

So, this year two full-time jobs were cut from the 55 Plus Centre to create other full-time jobs elsewhere in community services.

The first was the special events co-ordinator which was rolled into the community program developer, located at West Arthur Community Centre. Immediately one staff member daily was pulled from the 55 Plus Centre to support the community programmer so that she could go out into the community and do her job. It now takes two people to do one job.

The second position was the administrative assistant/office manager. This position provided an overarching co-ordination of roles, responsibilities and assignments for volunteers, and supported other existing staff. 

An interim part-time staff person has been reassigned, but the continuous flow of information is now broken. 

I feel that the councilors from the 1980s who had the foresight to design and implement this advanced example of enlightened cooperation to meet the mutual needs of seniors and the city must be turning over in their graves.

What about the seniors who volunteer every day in a multitude of capacities to make this community better? 

How about you can spend 50 to 60 years as a senior? Seniors are a stabilizing element in society. 

Volunteerism provides individuals with a function which is necessary for self value and enhances longevity.

If you agree that the city should rethink destroying a good thing, call your councillor. 

The 55 Plus will present a deputation before the budget committee on Thursday, Jan. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at city hall. Please come out to show your support.

Thank you for your consideration.

That $52K we contribute annually to operating budget would pay one of those salaries.

Lorelle Stein
President of the Board of Directors
55 Plus Centre