Advertisement
Lifestyle

Sundre seniors centre could close doors over carbon tax

Approximately 120 seniors belong to the Sundre West Country Centre, which hosts a number of activities and community gatherings.
Approximately 120 seniors belong to the Sundre West Country Centre, which hosts a number of activities and community gatherings. Supplied by Sundre West Country Centre

For about 120 seniors in Sundre, Alta., the West Country Centre is more than a place for a game of Canasta over lunch on Tuesdays or an exercise class on Wednesday mornings.

“For a majority of our members, it is the one way to get out of the house,” said president Ed Wicks. “A nice low-level, low-cost [thing] to do.”
“There’s some people [for whom] that’s their only outlet. They come four, five times a week.”

But the future of the centre is at risk.

An increase in utility costs which Wicks attributes to the carbon tax is leaving the centre short roughly $1,000 per year. While the group is currently using its financial reserves to make up the shortfall, Wicks said the centre needs to find a long-term solution.

“We have to either come up with new ways to counter that extra expense or raise membership fees — [where] we would lose members — or possibly even shut down,” Wicks said.

“If we can’t come up with another alternative and if the carbon tax happens to get worse, I would say we only have enough reserve to last another 12 to 24 months, and then we would have to shut our doors.”

Tweet This
Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Ottawa explains how carbon tax revenues would be used

Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre UCP MLA Jason Nixon told reporters on Wednesday the West Country Centre situation is just one example of what he called the “catastrophic” impacts of the carbon levy.

“The people that have built our communities will no longer have a place to recreate as a direct result of this carbon tax,” Nixon said. “That’s 100 per cent because of that carbon tax.”

A spokesperson for the Alberta Climate Change Office issued the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

“We know that recreational hubs like the Sundre West County Centre are important community gathering places for folks of all ages,” Matt Dykstra said.

“We’ve been in touch with this organization and are looking for ways to help them reduce their energy costs, including connecting them with energy efficiency grants and resources offered by the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre and Energy Efficiency Alberta.”

In a release, a spokesperson for the minister said “We know that recreational hubs like the Sundre West County Centre are important community gathering places for folks of all ages. We’ve been in touch with this organization and are looking for ways to help them reduce their energy costs, including connecting them with energy efficiency grants and resources offered by the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre and Energy Efficiency Alberta.”

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Calgary restaurant bracing for carbon tax, minimum wage hikes in 2018

Wicks said the centre has applied for grants in hopes of finding additional dollars to offset the increased cost. However, if those applications don’t come through, the membership will need to figure out a way to keep the centre open.

“The members most likely think, ‘What can we do? It’s government.'”

Global News Redesign Global News Redesign
A fresh new look for Global News is here, tell us what you think
Take a Survey

Sponsored Stories