A dearly loved hangout in the Skeena Mall, the Seniors Corner has provided services, smiles, snacks, and items by donation to the region’s seniors population for the past year and a half, says the president of Skeena Valley Seniors Society, Diana Penner.

"The mall offers access, easy access, one stop shopping for people who come in. People who come in often will come with their with their significant other. One may be able to shop, one may not. So they can leave one here to be with us, to do whatever they want to do while they go about their business."

Due to its accessibility, location, and parking, the mall provides an ideal location.

"We've basically created a bit of a thrift shop type of thing, so browsing is something that a lot of people just like to do. So browsing is huge when it comes to our seniors and their families because their families come too of all ages, including many grandchildren who love to shop here because they can come with a nickel and leave with a whole armful of treasures. So we have medical supplies as well. We all sorts of stuff that's been repurposed."

Unfortunately, their lease is coming to an end.

"They are have said to us that it looks like some of their long term tenants might be looking to expand and so they want us to head out. So that in the event that they want to this space, they can."

The Skeena Valley Seniors society came into the space as it was in need of renovations. Vice-President of the Society Anka Gibson says the group applied for grants to update the Seniors Corner space with running water, a washroom, finished walls, a new floor and a kitchen.

"We gave them the plan and what we wanted to do and which is, you know, putting the kitchen and finishing it, to make a little more respectable to our seniors and people that come here."

In appealing for a new lease, the seniors corner created a petition that got over 700 signatures from 37 communities.

This was presented with a floor plan to BOSA Properties, who were not compelled and denied the lease request. As the grants were hinged to a secured lease contract, they have now also been denied.  Visitor to the Senior’s corner Wes Huebert says he’s not happy with the decision.

“I'm extremely disappointed. I feel like it's an insult to Seniors. Not just the ones that come here, but to Seniors in general.”

In a statement from John Martin of Loon Properties inc. which is the Skeena Mall, he says the company is dedicated to community-led initiatives, but that venue was considered temporary from the beginning.  Seniors Corner will be closing at 4 pm Tuesday, April 30th. Until then, the Seniors invite you to come in for a coffee, and help clear out inventory.


-Jaylene Matthews