VANCOUVER When seniors in South Vancouver started lobbying for a seniors centre at the Killarney Community Centre, you can bet they had fewer grey hairs.
But after more than a decade of waiting for the municipal, provincial and federal governments to decide how to pay for a seniors centre in the underserved community, the federal government finally announced Tuesday it will invest $2.5 million in the planned $7.5-million project.
"Seniors, who have given so much to our country, deserve a top-notch facility," Vancouver South MP Wai Young said in a statement. The facility will be an accessible space for recreation and socialization, she added.
But the 10,000 square-foot facility is not yet a done deal.
While the city has promised land, $2.5 million and to pay for future operating costs, the province has only shelled out $1.3 million.
The centre won't get built until the province hands over another $1.2 million, Vancouver city councillor Raymond Louie said.
"The only other option at this point in time would be to value engineer the project down to a smaller size," Louie said. "We've heard very clearly from the community they do not want that."
The city is pleased the federal government decided to provide the funding after council passed a motion asking it for financial help two months ago.
Louie looks forward to working with the province, he said, adding that MLA Suzanne Anton indicated in a December meeting she would continue to work to secure the funding.
In the meantime, seniors are celebrating getting that much closer to a space of their own.
"We've been waiting for a long time for this," Killarney community centre association president Ainslie Kwan said. "Everybody is really happy."
The association, which is in a legal battle with the park board, has earmarked $500,000 in savings to help operate the centre.
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