October 1st, 2020

Let the seniors run the Veiner Centre

By Letter to the Editor on January 13, 2020.

The submission of this is the result of being a member, discussions with other members and over heard conversations from other users in the coffee room with respect to the use or lack of use of this facility. This will touch on a few issues that would improve the environment and attendance.

The first issue revolves around the chair of the Senior Citizens Advisory Committee. Some say this individual has blatantly broken or changed the age rules of joining the centre to suit the person’s own needs and the needs of the club, lowering the age requirements to allow more members to increase the number and implementing day rates. All of this being done to accommodate a personal agenda.

Coinciding with these changes has been the theft of a dart board from the games room. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.

The next issue is the under utilization of the multi-million dollar kitchen and its staff. This part of the facility is operated to accommodate the Meals on Wheels and it appears for other City of Medicine Hat departments to hold meetings. They do offer a lunch but not much else. From the perspective of the many people I’ve spoke with or have heard in conversation there is way more to offer.

There are many members who would come for breakfasts and lunches and even bring their families for an affordable evening supper. I checked with some friends in the restaurant business who all agreed that there is profit to be made for a $5 breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast.

Here’s a novel idea. How about approaching the Chamber of Commerce or the many service clubs to host their breakfast meetings here. At present many are going to restaurants and some have limited space to accommodate them.

I was once told the City of Medicine Hat didn’t want to be in competition with the local businesses. Well, if that’s the case, maybe the city should get out of the land, gas and entertainment businesses as they are in direct conflict with the local bars, theaters and Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede.

The last issue is with respect to the staff in the Veiner Centre. I was told by a man whom I would consider well informed that there are many employees working in the Veiner Centre that are not even affiliated with the operation of the facility. The combined salary of these employees is $1.2 million that is in the Veiner Centre’s budget and should be not.

To Mayor Clugston, city council members and the other bureaucrats, this is not the Esplanade and cannot be run in the same fashion. It cannot be operated as a money making operation. Let those from the Veiner Centre that have the experience and proper senior contacts to run this facility. This was supposed to be a facility or the seniors of the city and area, not a community center for the general public.

Operating this facility in the manner it is now may result in the closing of its doors before reaching any potential. Unless that what the city wants.

Robert Tetz

Medicine Hat

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8 months ago

I am responding to one of Robert Letz’s points in his Letter to the Editor, dated January 13, in which he questions the motivation behind allowing young people to attend Duplicate Bridge lessons at the Veiner Centre.

As a Veiner Centre member and budding Bridge player, I appreciate being able to learn alongside such a pleasant group of engaged, courteous, and intelligent young adults. These people in no way create any form of disruption to any users of the facility.

Many studies have shown that when seniors are given the opportunity to interact with younger generations, there are mutual benefits for both age groups, emotionally, intellectually, and socially.

Certainly there are potential benefits for this bridge club in the recruitment and education of new players, but one must realize that a vibrant and growing bridge club benefits the very seniors the Veiner Centre is meant to serve. It is beneficial to the Veiner Centre to engage these younger people so they can help champion and advocate for the Veiner Centre on behalf of those currently using it. If they can see the value of the facility at their age, they can help take steps to ensure that it is available for the generations to follow.

Michele Winger

Medicine Hat