By Gillian Slade on November 8, 2018.
The newly renovated Strathcona Centre was bright, airy and bustling with the activity of seniors at the open house on Wednesday.
“Finally home. It’s good to be back,” said Joan Townsend as she continued exercising on a stationary bicycle, something she does every day Monday to Friday for an hour. “I might be 78 but I need the exercise.”
Since the 2013 flood she had had to go to the Crestwood Centre.
In addition of a fresh coat of light and bright paint there are dropped ceilings now with new lights, said Leah Prestayko, general manager community development public services at the city. The large room that had been the cafeteria, before the renovation of the Veiner Centre, is also gleaming with appropriate lines painted on the floor for curling and pickleball.
About 21 events a week are scheduled for this area alone, said LaVerne Noble, chair of the Seniors Citizens Advisory Committee. Next summer three of the events for the provincial seniors games will take place at the Veiner Centre.
“What a transformation,” said Mayor Ted Clugston. “On behalf of myself and city council, congratulations.”
Coun. Julie Friesen called it a “gorgeous facility” that has taken a long time to achieve but the Veiner Centre and Strathcona Centre are now both fabulous.
“I feel very grateful to be part of the journey,” said Karen Charlton, commissioner for public services. She talked of the superb facilities that now exceed expectations and have evolved over time with the community. It was not just an expense but an investment in quality of life, she said.
As seniors used exercise equipment in their fitness routine, John John was watching from the entrance. The whole idea of exercise equipment for seniors came from John originally.
He raised the first $100,000 to buy the equipment which had been in the basement of the Veiner Centre before the flood. In the “olden days” there was an arrangement with the hospital who would refer patients to the Veiner Centre to use exercise equipment, said John who also commented on the really good renovation at Strathcona Centre.
The renovation included electrical upgrades for fitness equipment, washrooms that are now barrier free and storage to accommodate ping-pong tables.
The annual membership for seniors to belong to the Veiner Centre is $100, which gives the member access to the Veiner Centre and the Strathcona Centre, with the exception of the fitness centre.
Those who would like to use the fitness centre need to pay a $300 annual fee. This includes the basic membership of $100 plus another $200 for the fitness membership. A one-time fitness centre access card of $10 (refundable upon return of the card) will also apply to those buying the $300 membership.
Other activities in the Strathcona Centre, such as ping pong, fall within the basic membership of $100.
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