Gore Bay seniors’ centre celebrates grand opening

The new Gore Bay and area senior’s centre was officially opened last Friday. The location of the new centre, in C.C. McLean Public School, was established due to a partnership between the town of Gore Bay and the Rainbow District School Board (RDSB). In photo, left to right, taking part in the official ribbon cutting ceremony are Gore Bay Mayor Ron Lane, C.C. McLean Principal Tracey Chapman, Cam Clark, Mina Turner, RDSB Chair Doreen Dewar, RDSB Director of Education Norm Blaseg and Gore Bay Clerk Annette Clarke.

Seniors centre located in Charles C. McLean Public School

GORE BAY—In a partnership, the first of its kind between the Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) and the Town of Gore Bay, the new Gore Bay and area seniors’ centre grand opening was held on Friday of last week.

“I would like to welcome everyone here today as we celebrate a significant event in our community,” stated Gore Bay Mayor Ron Lane, at the opening.

“In this day and age, successful projects require partnerships and the creation of this new facility for the seniors in Gore Bay and area is certainly a prime example of how partners can work together for a result which is a win-win for everybody,” said Mayor  Lane. He explained, “last year we were advised of the concerns the (RDSB) had relating to declining enrollments in its schools. With many schools closing across the province due to this issue, our council felt it was important to engage the board in discussions as to what we could do to assist. These discussions focused on the availability of space at the C.C. McLean Public School and since council had been looking for the right location to establish a new seniors’ centre for the community, that was larger and more accessible, this seemed like a good fit. After consultations with our seniors group, a lease was negotiated with the school board and we are now here today to celebrate and officially open this new centre.”

“A school is the heart of any community and it is critical that everything possible be done that can be done to support and maintain that presence,” continued Mayor Lane. “Equally as important are the needs of the seniors in our community to be able to enjoy life through social and physical activities. It is the hope of council that with this facility not only will our school have the support it needs but our seniors will have a new and improved location that will allow them not only to continue on with their current activities but also expand upon them and encourage other seniors to use the centre as well. In addition, it is our hope that, given its new location, programs can be developed which will permit interaction between our youth and our seniors which I believe would greatly benefit both.”

“Good afternoon. It is a pleasure to be at Charles C. McLean Public School to mark the official opening of the Gore Bay Seniors Centre,” stated Doreen Dewar, chair of the RDSB at the opening. “This  is an historic occasion for Rainbow District School Board and I am particularly pleased to be here, along with our Director of Education, Norm Blaseg.”

“Today, we witness first-hand the results of our very first partnership agreement under our new Community Planning and Facilities Partnerships administrative procedure,” said Ms. Dewar. She explained RDSB, “is committed to exploring opportunities to share facilities with the community where space is available in schools.”

“The community has access to space to offer important programs to its citizens,” said Ms. Dewar. “The board makes use of surplus space, helping to revitalize the school. But there is something fundamentally more significant that happens when we work together. We transform the school into a community hub, a gathering place where good things happen.”

“Just as we are bringing learning to life, enabling students to fulfill their aspirations, the Town of Gore Bay brings this Seniors Centre to life, enabling older adults to thrive and flourish,” continued Ms. Dewar. “On behalf of (RDSB), I would like to congratulate the Town of Gore Bay for its leadership and vision.”

“This partnership is a prime example of what we can achieve when we work as a team. Congratulations,” said Ms. Dewar.

Bill Baker, president of the Western Manitoulin Senior Drop-In Centre seniors group stated, “it gives me great pleasure to be part of this historic day, being the official opening of the Gore Bay and Area Senior Centre, which will now play host to our seniors.”

“We believe that it is important that our governments at all levels keep in mind the welfare of our aging population as it relates to their social and recreational needs,” said Mr. Baker.  “The Town of Gore Bay continues to be a leader today as shown by their willingness to provide this lovely facility as a place where seniors can enjoy a game, a cup of tea or just visiting. Gore Bay-stand proud today of this accomplishment on behalf of area seniors.”

Mr. Baker noted that the move to the new location was funded primarily by the town of Gore Bay, and that the RDSB played a big role in that it provided the funding to carry out the considerable renovations needed to make the location suitable.  The ongoing operating/rental costs are covered for the most part by government grants.

“We, seniors, extend a hearty thank you to all parties who have made this a reality,” said Mr. Baker. “The new site aptly facilitates pool players of all skill levels, card players, those who want to throw darts, or play on the shuffleboard. If you are not a player you can still drop in for a visit and have a tea or coffee. Although it may appear to be more oriented towards the needs and wants of our male seniors, we would be more than pleased to see the ladies establish their own pool league, or perhaps a mixed league. I’m sure some of the regular pool players would be available to assist in starting up this use of the facility and even to coach new players.”

Mr. Baker said, “the fact that this new location is accessible, complete with proper washroom facilities, makes it open to and inviting for all mobile seniors.” He noted that while the old facility had its shortcomings it served the seniors well during its long period of use.

“Second, we are missing today one of our notable Gore Bay seniors and the treasurer of the Western Manitoulin Seniors, Peter Fletcher. Peter currently has some very serious health issues that he is dealing with. Let Peter know that you are concerned for his well-being by sending him a card or a note. It will be an encouragement to him,” added Mr. Baker.

Linda Willson represented Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha and Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes.

“It is with great pleasure that we offer our congratulations to the Town of Gore Bay and members of Gore Bay Seniors Centre today on grand opening of this new location. This is truly a resounding win-win for everyone associated with this new arrangement. As well, this initiative serves as a  prime example of how communities can work together to make better use of existing facilities to bring about not only increased cost effectiveness but, more importantly, improve the lives of local citizenry,” said Ms. Willson. “Gore Bay can take pride knowing that this initiative serves  as a positive example for other communities as a forward thinking community that endeavours to develop innovative partnerships that effectively improve people’s lives.”

The seniors centre is totally separate from C.C. McLean’s student-staff area, with a new door and new parking spots available as well.