“If seniors don’t have a place to go, people are going to end up sitting at home- lonely,” association co-ordinator Lori Friars said.
In 1993, the province cut funding to seniors programs. Since then, the centre has relied on membership fees, fundraising and revenue from other programs. Still, it’s had to dip into its reserves almost every year.
“We were able to get by for quite a long time on the reserves that we had, but we have now spent all of the reserves,” Friars said. “Each year we run a deficit, this year was $40,000, the year before was $47,000 – it’s about what that grant was that we lost in 1993.”
While there are other grants available, Friars said most of them at the moment are project-based, so they don’t cover operating costs.
“Our operating expenses for the two floors that we use here every month run between $6,000 and $8,000 which is about $4,000 more than we can afford to spend,” Friars said.
But it’s not just the operating costs, the building is also in need of a number of upgrades, including painting and repairing the walking track after flood damage.
“We suffered a flood in the basement a few years ago and it has increased the amount of alkalide that is coming up through the floor,” past association president Wayne McGregor said.
“What happens is that it’s ruining our track down here and it’s going to cost us between $10,000 and $30,000 to get the track fixed. Without the track, there goes your ability to be able to come down and do a bit of physical activity.”
Without funding, the centre said it’s on pace to close within six months. Down the street, the Cosmo Senior Citizen’s Centre is also facing a similar fate.
“The last five years, we’ve spent half our reserve,” centre president Bill Smith said. “So that tells me, we’re good for another four or five years if nothing gets done.”
Smith said another thing that would help, is if more people got involved.
Both centres are banding together, hoping the community joins them as they take their concerns to Moose Jaw city council on May 27.