City staff at Seniors' Centre continue to make life difficult for the membership.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

February 22nd, 2019



The Gazette keeps hearing about problems at the Seniors’ Centre on New Street. For the most part they are small niggling little issues but when collected together they suggest there is a deeper issue.

Seniors sign

Seniors’ Centre staff showing their concern for the comfort and safety of people who use the facility.

Do the staff really care about the people they are supposed to be serving?

These are seniors; the people who have paid their dues and have the right to quality time and more than just a measure of dignity.

The week was registration week – the Gazette published a news report on some of the problems that were being experienced with the registration process and the impact a change in the way programs are paid for was having on some people.

Earlier today we were sent a photograph of a sign that had been set up outside the entrance door advising: For your comfort and safety please do not line up outdoors.

The doors should be opened as early as possible so that the seniors can be both safe and comfortable.

There is a care taker in the building – he could unlock the doors and people could wait in the auditorium.

People get to the Centre as early as possible so they can obtain a number and be in the registration line based on the number they hold.  These people want to take courses – many of them that are exercise classes.  They want to remain healthy and active – but the staff seem to want them to stand out in the cold.

Burlington is a city that talks about the way it cares for its citizens but refuses to open the doors to a public building so that older people can get inside and stay out of the chilly if not downright cold weather.

What is wrong with these people?

Related news story:

Empathy appears to be in short supply as Seniors’ Centre

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3 comments to City staff at Seniors’ Centre continue to make life difficult for the membership.

  • Penny Hersh

    Stephen, you are obviously computer literate. Many of the older seniors are not. The only option they have when it comes to registering for city programs is to go to a designated community centre, line up, get a number and then wait their turn for a staff person to register them. While all this is taking place those seniors who are computer literate are booking the same programs.

    Some seniors who have computer skills have had issues with the city’s online registration system and opt to lineup because of that.

    Why the seniors line up early is to get one of the first numbers so that they have a fighting chance at getting into their class ( some classes have a maximum of 12 participants).

    This year is the first time that a sign appeared telling members not to line up early. Other options could be made available. Yes, like opening the building when operations start their shift, in the past it was 6:30am in the winter, this could have changed, or bring them in at 6:30am for the 2 days a year that registration days take place.

    This is also a new policy it went from 4 registration sessions to 2 registration sessions a year ( this is problematic financially for many seniors). In order not to pay for 2 sessions at once post-dated cheques can be provided for the second session ( Spring/Summer, Fall/Winter) however this can only be done by registering in person – the system does not allow for this option for those registering online.

    Isolation is a very large issue for many seniors, in my opinion, we should be doing whatever we can to encourage them to get out of their homes. Are these new policies “Senior Friendly”?

  • Etts P

    Just reading the sign, most people would say, “how great, they are opening the doors 1 1/2 hour before Registration starts.” What people don’t realize and is not clear above, is that because of previous internet registration problems, or because they don’t have computers, many, many seniors start lining up 6:30 to 7am just to be able to get a low number to register for the program they want, hopefully before it is filled up by the on-line registrations that also start at 9am. It has been this way for years and the Rec. Staff are well aware of it, so to decide now that the Seniors can’t come inside or line up until 7:30, it is the City putting them in peril. If they really knew anything about seniors as they claim, they would know that seniors can be stubborn and they will do anything within their power to be able to continue to do something that’s important to them. The sign is merely to cover the City’s liability in case someone falls. How about if the City won’t open the doors earlier as has been asked for years by the seniors, making sure the sidewalk is clear, put some chairs out there early and hand out Hot Chocolate to help keep the seniors warm?

  • steven craig gardner

    sorry please explain. Sign seems to say registration strats at 9 am and doors open at 7:30 am which seems mighty early to me. Did you want doors open at 6 am or 3 am or when or am i mis-reading the sign??