Mindemoya seniors likely ‘dropping in’ at local school

Central council, seniors’ group, school board, working on a plan for seniors’ drop in centre

CENTRAL MANITOULIN—The concept of a seniors’ drop-in centre located at Central Manitoulin Public School (CMPS) in Mindemoya is not new, but the Central Manitoulin municipal council was again approached by a local seniors’ group for their support in principle along with a presentation to committee.

“This goes back a couple of months now,” said Central Manitoulin Mayor Richard Stephens. “One of my councillors (Linda Farquhar) approached me with the idea. This all came out of a meeting in West Bay where Mr. (Norm) Blaseg (Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) education director) was looking for ideas on how to utilize excess space in Island schools. Gore Bay took them up on it at the time.”

An RDSB program was seeking to optimize space in underutilized school buildings by leasing portions of the building out to compatible functions, such as senior drop-ins or doctor’s or dentist’s offices.

“I said let me talk to the school board, we had a chat and confirmed that there was space, and reported back what the cost would be,” said Mayor Stephens. “Initially, it came back that it would be too expensive. Now they have rethought it.”

The cost comes in at about $10 a square foot, roughly $700 to $800 a month, but what makes the project more attractive is that the RDSB is willing to undertake the leasehold improvements, separate entrances and washrooms needed to make the idea work. “They have agreed to shoulder the cost of renovations,” confirmed Mayor Stephens.

Mayor Stephens confirmed that he personally thought the project is “a great idea,” as did council who endorsed the idea. “They needed council support to proceed,” he said.