VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Seniors in East Vancouver finally have their own centre, 16 years after the idea was launched.
“Tears streaming down my cheeks, it was go gratifying to see it really happening. It’s beautiful and I can hardly believe it.”
That’s how Lorna Gibbs felt recently as she sat down to see the finished product on Killarney Street.
Back in 2002 she helped form the non-profit Southeast Vancouver Seniors Arts and Culture Centre Society to get the facility next door to the Killarney Community Centre built.
She explains it wasn’t easy to get all three levels of government to pitch in to fund the $7.5 million building.
“We were a small but dedicated group. We went out in blistering heat and slogged through the snow and down to city hall and managed to gather 7,000 signatures on a petition. We would talk to anybody who would listen to us.”
Gibbs and her organization were convinced a place designed for seniors in East Vancouver was desperately needed.
“Loneliness and isolation is prevalent among seniors. It’s essential for them to have somewhere to go to meet.”
And to that end, the building has been custom-made for people 55 and over. “It’s got hearing loops in the ground floor, for people who use hearing aids. It will help them understand what’s going on. An audio-visual system has also been installed.”
Gibbs confirms they’re getting the industrial-sized kitchen she lobbied for and she says in a few months time, they will start to deliver a hot meals program.
Unfortunately, a man who was instrumental in drawing attention to the project won’t be at the opening ceremony on Thursday. Keith Jacobson, who was once president of the Killarney Community Centre, passed away two years ago.
The grand opening is Jun. 28 at 11:30 a.m.