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Establishment of seniors active living centre celebrated by provincial minister

Ministers and councillors posing for photo


Minister for Seniors and Accessibility Raymond Cho was in Amherstburg last week to celebrate the establishment of a Seniors Active Living Centre (SALC).

The local SALC is the home of the Fort Malden Golden Age Club and the building being restored at 179 Victoria St. S. was where Cho visited last Wednesday, along with Essex MPP Anthony Leardi and Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Andrew Dowie.

“They work so hard for seniors,” Cho said of his colleagues Leardi and Dowie. “I’m so excited.”

Cho told members of the Golden Age Club that the organization is vital and it helps provide seniors a place where they can get support, services and avoid social isolation.

“Your organization is very important to this community,” Cho told the group. “(The club) helps people stay active.”

There are currently 316 SALC programs across Ontario, including 17 new centres. Of the 17, two are in Essex County. Cho was also in Kingsville last Wednesday for the announcement of a similar facility there.

“This is an exciting day for Amherstburg, Kingsville and the entire region,” said Cho. “These new Seniors Active Living Centres let our seniors stay fit, active, healthy, and socially connected so they can continue to live independent lives.”

Cho recalled being told by a senior whose husband died that her quality of life improved by attending a senior centre. The woman was isolated after her spouse passed away but after being brought by friends to a senior centre, she made new friends and it improved her outlook to where she said “because I started coming here, it saved my life.”

“I’m really thrilled Amherstburg has a Senior Active Living Centre,” said Cho.

The 87-year-old MPP from Scarborough North believed seniors are a key part of society.

“The most important people are the seniors,” said Cho. “We are the ones who raised our families. We are the ones who built our beautiful province of Ontario. We are the ones who built Canada. We all deserve dignity and respect.”

The provincial funding formula for such SALC programs is 80 per cent provincial and 20 per cent from the municipality, explained Leardi. He also pointed out there were 299 SALC programs in Ontario with 17 new ones added.

“We got two of the 17,” said Leardi.

Leardi stated there were two reasons one of the two in the riding was in Amherstburg, stating “we worked hard for it in Queen’s Park” and “Amherstburg put in a good application.”

“The Minister said Amherstburg residents are happy, healthy and kind,” said Leardi.

“Seniors from all corners of Essex County seek out opportunities to be active and engaged, and bringing Seniors Active Living Centres to Amherstburg and Kingsville will benefit our entire region,” Dowie added. “Our seniors in Essex County know that that the Government of Ontario has their back.”

Amherstburg received in the neighbourhood of $20,433 in 2023, based on when the town began as a SALC and got the paperwork done. The 2024 amount hasn’t been disclosed yet, but Amherstburg can receive up to $50, 000 for services and programs. This is an increase from the base funding of $42,700 over the past number of years. Additionally, the town is eligible to access the Special Grant funding of up to $15, 000 later in the year.

Mayor Michael Prue recalled the senior centre being an issue on the campaign trail in the last municipal election. He noted “it took a while” to get the funds to tear down the walls in what was the former Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) office and restore the building into a seniors centre.

“It’s almost done,” said Prue, adding they will officially sign a lease with the Fort Malden Golden Age Club upon completion of the work. “I was adamant and so were others that this is a seniors building.”

Prue added it was difficult for some of the seniors when the club was at the Libro Centre, stating there were times when the club was shuffled around the building due to rooms being needed for other purposes.

“(The Golden Age Club) wanted their own facility,” he said. “Now they have it.”

The mayor thanked Cho and Leardi for investing in the SALC in Amherstburg.

“This Seniors Active Living Centre will provide programs to promote wellness, social interaction and education to reduce isolation and help seniors stay active, independent and engaged in our community now and into the future,” said Prue. “This commitment underscores the importance of investing in the well-being and quality of life of our seniors, who have contributed so much to our community's growth and prosperity.”

Establishment of seniors active living centre celebrated by provincial minister

By Ron Giofu

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