Seniors taking exercise classes upset over program changes that will require people to provide their own equipment.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 29th, 2018


The city has asked that we publish a statement they have made related to this news story.  That response can be found HERE. 

The city Parks and Recreation department runs a number of programs for the seniors in the city.
Some are exercise related and the some people taking part in those classes, for which they pay a fee, are not happy.

One Exercising Class was told that they would have to provide their own equipment – for health reason.

The equipment includes yoga mats, stretching bands and exercise balls.

resistence bands

Sitting on exercise balls and working with resistance bands is part of most classes – transporting that exercise ball seems unfair the class participants.

Yoga mats and the resistance stretching bands are not much of a problem but the Aldershot resident who talked to the Gazette wondered how a senior was going to use public transit with an exercise ball on her lap.

What also bothered the people in the exercise class was that the message was delivered by the class instructor and not a member of the Seniors’ Centre staff. The change is to be effective with the Spring classes which begin in April of next year.

“Many of the people in the class are on fixed incomes: said our source. “They were shocked and perturbed and couldn’t understand the health reasons.”

The group is getting ready to put together a petition asking that the new plan not be put in place.

Comments from people who were uncomfortable providing their names centered around policy changes without any input from the program participants.

Seniors Centre

The Gazette sat in on a meeting where seniors were asked to comment on the programs that were being offered at the Senior’s Centre on New Street. Few words were spoken because there were a number of staff in the room and participants didn’t feel free to speak their minds. That seemed to be a policy approach at the Centre that wasn’t appreciated.

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9 comments to Seniors taking exercise classes upset over program changes that will require people to provide their own equipment.

  • “My name is Rob Axiak and I am the Manager of Recreation Services for the City. I would first like to apologize for any misinformation that may be out there that has resulted in this article and subsequent commentary. We are looking to send out more accurate information regarding personal equipment for fitness classes over the next two weeks. Prior to information going, please rest assure that equipment will always be provided by the city for our fitness programs. It was never our intention to remove equipment and to force individuals to bring their own. Some who currently participate had expressed an interest in bringing their own equipment to programs for a variety of personal reasons. We fully support this and encourage anyone who would prefer to bring their own equipment to please feel welcome in doing so. For those who prefer to have the convenience of using city issued equipment readily available onsite, well that is perfectly acceptable too! Our goal is to remove any barriers to participation and provide individuals with options based on your own personal preference. Hope that clarifies and thank you for your ongoing interest and participation!”
    -Rob Axiak

  • Etts

    I agree with all of the above comments. This is not the way seniors who pay a Membership to belong to the Centre should be treated! As Joe says, since ousting the previous Board, things have gone downhill, events and socials aren’t as good and the seniors no longer have any say in what they would like to have available to participate in or how the Centre is run by a much younger generation. Going backwards in my opinion. Hopefully the new Council will step up and take notice of how the many, many seniors, who voted them in are being treated in Burlington, not only at the Centre that they raised money to build and is supposed to be for them, but to look at their transportation issues also. I was at that meeting also, and when you see seniors looking back at the staff standing there while deciding to speak or not, it certainly WAS an issue and a form of bullying, even on the verge of senior abuse, I haven’t renewed my membership because of some of the above and the way I have seen some seniors treated. This WAS our Centre, but no longer. Our thoughts, suggestions or wish lists don;t matter any longer and the so called Surveys aren’t worth the paper they are written on, strictly for show and to be able to say they were done. Too bad, it is a great facility.

  • Rob Allan

    The city want us to cycle, walk or use public transit but now we have to take our own exercise balls as well… who’s kidding who?

  • Penny

    I was at that meeting. It was when Marianne Meed Ward came in at the request of a senior who wanted some senior issues clarified. The room was filled with seniors and at the back 4 staff members were present. The presence of staff was a definite deterrent as many of the more controversial issues were not brought forward.

    Many seniors stay silent when staff is present. It would have been more beneficial if they had not been there. It is difficult to say negative things in front of the very people who are in charge of organizing the programs.

  • fj

    As a participant at the Burlington Seniors’Centre for over 10 years, bringing your own ball is not practical. Members walk, bike and take Transit as well as drive to the Centre to do fitness classes and other activities. Instructors were not aware or told why the change in policy when delivering the message to us. Members were going to contact our mayor and councillors elect.
    This is not a happy situation.

  • Bonnie

    As an active member of the Seniors Center, I find it interesting to read that the seniors present were not willing to speak up because staff was present. My experience has been just the opposite in that members are constantly looking for staff in order to share their opinions. Most active seniors are not shy people.

  • Gail

    One wonders how fixed income seniors will be able to afford this extra expense.
    I fear these folks will be forced to withdraw from exercise classes.

    …and what’s the plan for the supply of exercise balls, straps, mats, etc currently owned by the Seniors Centre??.

  • Joe

    This is typical of the Staff at the Seniors Centre. Since they took over 2 years ago and dismissed the members Board of Management Seniors have have had no say whatsoever . Their record on special Events has been dismal

  • Wendy

    This is ridiculous! I taught fitness classes for over 30 years, including ball classes. There aren’t any health risks in using balls for a common purpose. Clean them, wipe them down. No gyms in Burlington make people bring their own balls. I agree with the upset seniors !