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A Tough Call Indeed: Letter to the North Shore News

Letter to the Editor

North Shore News

Dear Editor,

Regarding your June 25th 2010 Editorial “Tough Call’, I would agree that the North Vancouver District Council decision regarding the proposed Seymour Seniors Residence will be a tough call indeed. No matter what they decide, some will be disappointed. It is significant though that speakers at the NVDC Public Hearing supported the Seymour Seniors Residence by a 2-1 ratio.

In your editorial, you commented that “Rev. Ed Hird is correct when he suggests an OCP, unlike the Ten Commandments, is not written in stone. A municipality’s vision for its future evolves as it matures, external and statistical factors affecting planning.” Somehow this 10 Commandment/OCP contrast has struck a chord with many, even being re-quoted in your sister newspaper The Delta Optimist.  As the massive population of North Shore babyboomers begins to hit age 65 as of 2012, something needs to change.  Some at District Council argued that the OCP was an unchangeable covenant. Perhaps it’s time for a New Covenant, a fresh beginning that makes room for our valued Seymour seniors.

In your editorial, you stated that “…the excellent services envisioned by Pacific Arbour might justify breaking existing zoning height in Lynn Valley where there are more seniors and more available services…”.  I fully agree with you that Pacific Arbour offers excellent services and is ‘a respected company’.  The demographics of Seymour/Deep Cove where I have served for 23 years clearly show a significant increase of seniors, tripling since the OCP plan. The Seymour seniors love their Seymour community. They don’t want to be forced to relocate to Lynn Valley.  They need and deserve real options in their own backyard, where they can walk to their own Parkgate seniors centre, to the Parkgate Rec Centre, Shopping Centre, Library and other amenities.

When Mary and Joseph turned up in Bethlehem, they were told to go away. There is no room in the inn for you.  Fortunately one innkeeper made room for them in a manger.  Let’s not kick our seniors out of Seymour. Let’s tell them that there is room at the inn for Seymour seniors, even when their health changes.

As stated by some several very involved citizens, people must come before plans. This is exactly what would occur if the Seymour Seniors Residence was approved by Mayor and Council. A good plan would become a great plan as it allows an much needed amendment. Community leaders see this. Let’s trust that Mayor and Council will reflect this in their upcoming deliberations.

Sincerely,

Rev. Ed Hird

*Note: The District of North Vancouver Council ended up voting unanimously 7-0 in favour of the Cedarsprings Residence which is now nearing completion.

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Letter to the Editor, North Shore News re Seniors Housing

Letter to the Editor

North Shore News

It is good that Joseph Bowes is admitting the need for such seniors facilities. Despite the title ‘Parkgate Highrise not about Seniors’, the discussion is in fact all about negotiating for seniors.  Our judeo-christian heritage teaches us to advocate for widows and orphans.  Our senior residents need to hear that they are welcome and wanted at the centre of their Seymour-Deep Cove community.

Joseph Bowes’ alternative locations would not meet the needs of our Seymour/Deep Cove seniors.  Because these alternative sites are remote and out of the way, they are not near enough, nor accessible enough. Seymour seniors can’t afford to be tucked away in a corner.  These alternative suggestions are non-starters and perhaps red-herrings.

The uniquely flat topography makes 3600 Mount Seymour Parkway ideal for seniors access. Many mature seniors find it more challenging to negotiate stairs. The elevators would give these seniors more access and greater mobility to their own community.

Let’s clearly tell the Seymour Seniors that they are both wanted and welcome at the core of their own community.  I hope that our civic leadership will put people ahead of bureaucratic plans.  The Seymour Seniors population has tripled from 515 to 1500+ since the OCD plan was first envisioned. Our Seymour seniors are worth adjusting for.  Seniors deserve better choices as their needs evolve. Independent living is a healthy choice not currently offered in the Seymour community.

I urge others who value the place of seniors to come out and support this application on June 22nd 7pm at North Vancouver District Municipal Hall, 355 West Queens Road.

Rev. Ed Hird

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