Seniors forum asks about centre

Pelham Seniors Forum next week will zero in on a question.
What do the town’s seniors want in a multi-purpose community centre proposed for East Fonthill?
The forum at the Fonthill Legion hall on Regional Rd. 20 will run from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Nov. 5. Admission is free and includes a complimentary lunch.
Any topic can be raised, but the Pelham Seniors Advisory Committee will look for input on the community centre now in the planning stages. 
The town expects to build it at Regional Road 20 and Rice Road once it finds funding.
“I can’t speak for my constituency group unless I hear from them,” said Gail Hilyer.
She represents the seniors advisory committee on a body working with an architect to design the recreational facility. 
The architectural design advisory committee has representatives from hockey, basketball, figure skating, arts and culture, service clubs, youth and seniors. The facility is expected to include an ice rink, gymnasium, walking track, community rooms and possibly a theatre. 
Hilyer said the forum is an opportunity for seniors to talk about their needs and desires for a centre.
Issues could include accessibility, types of rooms, equipment and activities.
Seniors will want more than a card-playing room and space to watch their grandchildren skate, she said reflecting on a comment she heard at a meeting.
“Ageism abounds,” she said of attitudes toward seniors. They must make their desires clear.
The forum will discuss related issues such as public transportation.
Not all seniors can cycle or walk to a centre on Rice Road or anywhere else in Pelham, she said.
“At a recent meeting of 25 people I attended, six were using canes. That’s the type of community we’re becoming.”
The forum will include keynote speaker Doug Rapelje, chair of the Niagara Age Friendly Leadership Council.
He will update seniors on a report to develop an age-friendly strategy for the Niagara Region.
It has reached the draft stage, said Hilyer and Rapelje plans to present the final report to regional council in February.
While admission to the forum is free, registration is necessary. Contact Martha Toscher in Town Hall at [email protected] or phone Judy Reid, chair of the Pelham Seniors Advisory Committee, at 905-892-8277.


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