Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


Last night at the Britannia Park and School board all-candidate meeting the issue of fee increases for Seniors arose.

Seniors now receive discounted fees of 30% and youth receive 25% discounts on their fees.

Ian Robertson, NPA incumbent Commissioner articulated that he supports raising seniors fee another 5%. He claimed that many seniors can afford this.

Mr. Robertson came across to many of us in the audience as unfeeling toward seniors and to suggest that many seniors who live on fixed incomes are financially well-off is unusual.

These discounted fees are imperative to seniors well-being since they ensure our senior population takes advantage of our community centres. A robust healthy lifestyle is vital to optimum good health in advancing years. This of course reduces medical costs since a healthy senior needs less costly medical intervention.

Commissioner Robertson went on to articulate that youth who now receive a 25% discount with the new proposed fee plan will see their discounted fee increase to 30%.
This move by the NPA appears mean-spirited since it pits seniors against youth. I guess the NPA hasn't figured out that youth have grandparents and they prefer their beloved grandparents healthy. It seems to me that youth will join forces with the seniors in opposing this unfair fee increase.

Sharon Urton, an NPA Park candidate who was sitting behind me when hearing Mr Robertson's plan said "oh what a dumb answer".

Former NPA Park chair Laura McDiarmid who is seeking re-election and was sitting directly beside Commissioner Robertson was mute and this is surprising since Ms McDiarmid has two ailing senior parents who use the community centres.

We want our youth and seniors to be healthy and both these groups should receive 30% discounted fees. If there is a budget short-fall this can easily be made up by ensuring that the Vancouver Aquarium doesn't receive exemption from paying fees on its concessions as it did this past year.

Commissioner Robertson when summing up at the end of the evening talked about the windstorm in Stanley Park and how he was Chair of Park board during this time. He went on to articulate that this was the type of leadership citizens could count on if he is re-elected.

Pitting seniors against youth and than taking a sledge-hammer to seniors discounted fees is really mean-spirited and hardly seems like leadership to me Mr. Robertson. Shame on you!

Jamie Lee Hamilton