Representatives of the Charleswood 55-Plus Active Living Centre are looking forward to the opportunity to relocate to a proposed new development on Oakdale Drive.
Currently housed in the former Charleswood library, the senior centre faces an uncertain future and must find a new home before its lease expires in 2025.
At the same time, plans are in the works for a proposed development on Oakdale Drive geared to residents aged 50-plus. Earlier this year, developers Exemplar Developments and EdgeCorp approached the Active Living Centre’s board of directors.
"The team had heard about our search for a new home," board chair Sherry Mooney said. "Discussions began with this group and a mutually beneficial partnership was formed. This partnership offers... accessible, adaptable supportive housing for older adults in our community with an on-site connection to physical, social, intellectual and emotional wellness activities for healthy, active living."
Mooney said the proposed development would provide much-needed housing for the 50-plus community as well as the potential for a new home for the Active Living Centre.
"This innovative model of community development will allow Charleswood residents to stay in the home community that they love and remain active and engaged in the community they have served for much of their lives," she said. "This is their Charleswood, too. Without such residential housing options, seniors are upended and forced to move out of the community they love and where they have their family and friends. The resulting effect is a significant toll on physical and mental health."
The proposed new home for the centre would enable its ongoing survival and continued service for the 55-plus community, Mooney added.
"The centre is the only 55-plus activity program in Assiniboine South and the only organization in our community that provides the aging population with critical programming designed to promote one’s mental, physical and emotional health, while also providing key transitional supports, social networks and volunteer opportunities."
The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the vital supports the organization provides to the aging members of the community, Mooney noted, particularly by creating connections for those who are physically isolated.
"The new facility will allow for the survival of the centre and provide new opportunities for enhanced social spaces, outdoor activities, physical activity classes, recreation, educational and community events," she said. "The proposed size and design of the centre in a new building will enable increased flexibility for programming in a fully accessible, eco-friendly, modern space."
It’s especially important since Charleswood has the fastest-growing population of seniors in the city, Mooney said.
"Charleswood has the lowest ratio of 50-plus housing units to 50-plus community members. The current vacancy rate in our community is near zero. Charleswood needs an additional 440 units by 2025 and 980 units by 2030 to keep pace with the aging population," she said.
The proposed development will create 280 units across three buildings and would include universally accessible units and adaptable units for those with mobility challenges, Mooney said, thereby allowing individuals and couples to age in place.She said the Oakdale development is ideally suited.
"This is an ideal location in relation to parks, active transportation paths, transit and amenities, allowing them to maintain an active lifestyle and reduce their reliance on automobiles," she said.
Area residents are opposed to the development, citing traffic concerns, proximity to nearby schools and the potential loss of greenspace. Mooney requests that they keep an open mind.
"We have learned so much during the past 15 months about the vital importance of community, family and health — and in order to move forward harmoniously, some flexibility and willingness to work together is required," she said. "Many concerns can be addressed as compromises for the benefit of all.
"The local improvements, infrastructure upgrades, new sidewalk and attention to tree maintenance and landscaping details are being done and paid for by the developers. Their actions will be improvements for the neighbourhood without additional costs to the city or the taxpayers."
More information on the EdgeCorp proposal is available at www.oakdaleresidences.comFor more information on the Charleswood 55-Plus Active Living Centre, visit www.charleswoodseniorcentre.org