Skip to content

Victoria seniors stage protest at vacant school field, seeking park space for elders

100 seniors, many using walkers and motorized scooters, point to emphasis on rec space for youth
Terry Dance-Bennink speaks to seniors during a rally in support of a senior-friendly park at the former S.J. Willis Junior High School field in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. The protesters say they are being shut out of open green space near their homes, while the city recently opened a new skateboard park for youth in the area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Dozens of Victoria, B.C., seniors have staged a rally at a former school field to demand more elder-friendly park space, contrasting their situation with facilities available to youth that include a new skateboard park nearby.

About 100 seniors, many using walkers and motorized scooters and carrying placards, took part in the protest near the land owned by the Greater Victoria School District, and say they are being shut out of green space near their homes.

The vacant field was on the grounds of a former high school, and protester Terry Dance-Bennink says transforming it into a senior-friendly area would offer more than 1,000 older people in the neighbourhood a place to exercise, socialize and appreciate nature.

Dance-Bennink says the seniors have approached the school district about turning the area into a temporary seniors park, but have not heard back.

The Greater Victoria School District was not immediately available for comment.

Last week, B.C. seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie released a report saying the province ranks last in Canada in providing key financial supports to seniors.

—Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

RELATED: B.C. seniors have lowest financial support in Canada, says advocate