Metchosin Arts News
Metchosin Seniors Celebrate Move to Spiffy New Digs
Metchosin Muse March 2020 - Johnny Carline, February 28, 2020
Officially the open house at the Seniors Resource Centre on February 12, attended by a veritable who’s-who of the Metchosin seniors’ community, was to celebrate the renovation of the seniors’ coffee room. That renovation was worth celebrating indeed! I remembered the room as a glorified storage closet with a lonely coffee pot in it. Its transformation into an immaculate space lined with elegant cupboards and complete with a full-size refrigerator, dishwasher, sink, tables, and chairs was truly an eye opener. As Metchosin Seniors Association (MSA) vice-chair Helen Fletcher noted, “It is difficult to believe this is the same space. It seems to have doubled in size.”
But the event was also a celebration of an amazing demonstration of what volunteers, many of them seniors, have done in creating the new, relocated Seniors Resource Centre. It is still in the same building at 4495 Happy Valley Road and has really only moved a few feet. But if the old space was beginning to show its age, the new space reflects the Metchosin seniors who use it. It is bright, cheerful and invites conversation. The window which opens onto the corridor is a brilliant design feature that helps make the space feel not only lighter but also bigger. Standing there, amidst a throng of delighted seniors, it was difficult to believe that the new space is actually a bit smaller than the old space. It does not feel that way.
MSA director Bonnie Hardy soon had people feeling comfortable as she offered everyone a variety of delicious goodies which she had, of course, made herself. MSA chair, Deirdre Chettleburgh, then formally welcomed everyone to the event and introduced Jennifer Burgis who had been the driving force behind the project, from writing the original grant application through recruiting the volunteers and managing the contracts with the professional installers. Jennifer described the two-year process, including references to the contributions made by husband Bob, and Ric Perron, who took care of all the electrical work, both of whom are, like Jennifer herself, volunteers extraordinaire.
It was nice to see all four Metchosin councillors attending the event. The first two to arrive, Cllr. Kyara Kahakauwila and Cllr. Andy MacKinnon, were soon put to work handing out the inevitable cake, leading to Andy quipping, “I like to think I can make myself useful for at least half an hour a week.”
Also in attendance were Metchosin Arts and Culture Centre Association’s vice president Chris van de Water, secretary/treasurer Gail Nash, and liaison director Betty Hildreth – three more driving forces in the renovation of the entire building.
Jennifer Burgis made reference to the fact that the original grant was $20,000 and that she still had $3,000 left, which she thought might be directed towards making the washrooms, originally installed for very small schoolchildren, not only a little more senior friendly but also low-flush to conserve water. As I left, I thought, this is what Metchosin volunteers do – plan and execute projects in a brilliant fashion, with a shoe-string budget, and end up with money to do even more. How appropriate that this particular project should be for the benefit of seniors, most of whom have given years of volunteer service themselves, and some still do, helping to build this remarkable community.