By Merna Emara
Programming offered by the Fort Frances Senior Centre are set to resume under the Yellow-Protect level, however the building itself will remain closed until the province says otherwise.
This decision was communicated during last week’s Board of Management meeting.
Aaron Bisson, recreation and cultural manager, said they are going to return to where they were before Christmas.
“The shop is going to be opening again on the schedule that it was previously operating under,” Bisson said. “That’s in line with public health guidelines. The exercise classes and bingo and other activities that we had going on previous to Christmas are going to start up again.”
There is no word yet regarding the reopening of the building the Senior Centre runs from. Bisson said predicting when it will reopen is tough to gauge because they are dealing with the most
vulnerable population. It depends on where we are as a district and what the public health guidance is at the time, he added.
Bingo night had been running from the Memorial Sports Centre before the lockdown to allow for
physical distancing. Bingo tables were taken from the Senior Centre and set up each bingo night.
Cynthia Donald sits on the board of management. She said she has concerns about seniors setting up and taking down card tables.
“I’ve been there where we’ve got seniors taking down the heavy tables and putting them away,” Donald said. “We could have someone designated and give them the agenda of the time that they will come up from wherever they are in the building to help with taking down the tables. I think the arena or the Senior Centre should provide the help. Seniors shouldn’t be going there to take down and put things away.”
Cindy Noble, Senior Centre manager, said she has been putting up the tables and taking them down.
Bisson said having someone to help from the sports centre depends on the manpower available during the time and the scheduling of bingo nights.
“It’s something that I could talk to Ray Calder about and see if the people are able to do that or not,” Bisson added.
Coun. Wendy Brunetta said a reason they are seeking an expansion to the Senior Centre is to have the tables set up permanently.
“That’s one of the problems we have with our centre being so small. The rooms are so multi-use that we’re always putting furniture up and down,” Brunetta said. “The other thing is that when we get back to programming in a regular manner, I think it’s something that we’ll look at more closely.”
During the meeting, Irene Laing accepted a nomination to be chair and Wayne Allen accepted the
nomination to be vice-chair of the Fort Frances Senior Centre, also known as the Sister Kennedy Centre.
Discussed in the meeting was also seniors’ wellness at home during the pandemic.
Noble said they have a project to give out tablets that are formatted for easy use.
“When the senior opens up the tablet, there’s three buttons; they can go on the internet, they can go on zoom, or they can go on their email,” Noble said. “It’s very simple for them to use. They’ve taken out all the websites that are dangerous, like porn or gambling sites. They give 24-hour help to get them up and going.”
Noble said the program would enable seniors to socialize over Zoom, in place of meeting in person for the time being.