Grey Power 50 — June 19, 2014

John
John Fryters
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So, both the federal and provincial governments delivered their 2014 budgets earlier this year.  And what is the municipal verdict and how does it affect the lives of seniors in Prince Albert?

Kiley Bear, the communications manager with the City of Prince Albert, responded to my email to the mayor requesting information about the municipal budget and explained that the Prince Albert Community Services Department focused its efforts around fitness programming for seniors with multiple programming options at different city facilities :

• Alfred Jenkins Fieldhouse (306-953-4989)

--Seniors Walking Program

-- Light Adult Fitness Class

-- Gentle Beginners Yoga

-- Hatha Yoga

-- Ladies Only Area

• Margo Fournier Centre (306-953-4816)

-- Easy Adult Fitness

-- After Work Fitness

-- Yoga

-- Noon Hour Fitness

• Art Hauser Centre 

-- FREE walking and jogging from October to April

• Steuart Arena

-- FREE skating for seniors from September to April

• Kinsmen Arena

-- FREE skating for seniors from September to April

More detailed information can be obtained by calling the City Community Services Department at 306-953-4800.

The city also provides a FREE venue at the Margo Fournier Community Heritage Centre which provides programming to seniors to assist them to stay active and socialize.  A survey in 2013 showed that the Heritage Centre had 1,387 people use the centre each month.

According to the city's communications manager, the city also provides funding of approximately $500,000 per year to the Community Service Centre for special needs transit and the seniors' transportation program.  Grey Power covered this program extensively in an earlier column (more info can be obtained through HYPERLINK "http://www.pacsc.com/"www.pacsc.com).

Some discounts are offered on the city's transit system, operated by a private company.

How do Prince Albert's efforts compare with other cities around the world, particularly in Canada?

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) in a 2013 Study called “Canada's Aging Population: the municipal role in Canada's demographic shift change,” stated 

“Seniors continue to face barriers to remain in their homes, stay active, and remain engaged with their communities.  Much adaptive work is needed at the municipal level, public transit, municipally owned buildings, sidewalks, recreation centres, local parks and other municipal infra-structure.”

While some of Prince Albert's initiatives might sound impressive, looking at some other cities, our municipal fathers might be able to learn some lessons.  

For instance, the Cities of Ottawa and Moncton let seniors ride the public buses FOR FREE at least once a week.  The City of Halifax is latest city to consider a similar service.  And you might believe that to be impressive, but in many European countries (France, Germany, Czech Republic) transit is TOTALLY FREE for seniors if they pay municipal taxes.

Next week, we will be looking at some other initiatives by other municipalities and look at how we, “Grey Power” seniors, can put some real pressure on our local politicians to make an effective change for ourselves in future budgets.

 

John Fryters is a 65-year-old senior citizen who has lived in Prince Albert for the last 25 years.  He is genuinely interested in making a difference in the lives of his peer group.  He can be contacted by e-mail at john_fryters@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Organizations: Prince Albert, Margo Fournier Centre, Prince Albert Community Services Department Hauser Centre Federation of Canadian Municipalities City Community Services Department Community Service Centre

Geographic location: Prince Albert, Canada, Ottawa Moncton Halifax France Germany Czech Republic

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