Seniors Club could be forced out
Both parties seek legal advice in dispute over Lions Club building space
The Gander Seniors 50+ Club and Gander Lions Club are struggling for position regarding use of the Lions Club building for meetings and events.
The 50+ club says it has had an agreement with the Lions since 2009 to use the building every Thursday of the month and the first Tuesday of every month, exclusively.
According to 50+ Club vicepresident Renata Oman, the agreement worked fine until recently, when the building’s operators began taking rental bookings for use of the space during the 50+ Club’s allotted time.
In addition, the 50+ Club is expected to cover 50 per cent of the salt and snow-clearing bill during winter despite only using the building for five days out of each month, she said.
Oman feels the club is being bullied out of its meeting place, although she said it was the 50+ Club’s involvement that helped the Lions upgrade their facility.
“New Horizons (for Seniors Program) has given us over $75,000 worth of grants, which we could not have gotten without the Lions, and the Lions could not have gotten without us,” Oman said.
“With that money we have put in a brand-new kitchen. We also have two new bathrooms fixed up so that we can have them wheelchair accessible for the seniors, we have had ramps put in the front and the back, and a deck in the back with the grants we have received.”
Oman alleges the Lions Club began to put the squeeze on her club over issues such as cleaning the facility after every use. However, she said the 50+ club offered several solutions to the problem and all were met with resistance from the building’s operators.
“We don’t have access to the closet where mops are stored,” said Oman. “If there’s a spillage when we’re using the club, we’re not able to clean it up now because they said we’re no longer able to use their cleaning supplies.
“If we could use their closet, we could have our own mop and supplies, but we have no place to store them. Now they’re telling us it’s a commercial building and we can be let go any time.”
The issue has now become a legal matter. Both clubs have sought advice from lawyers and a new agreement has been tabled by the Lions Club, but the window to sign the new agreement is short. The Gander Seniors 50+ Club was given one week to come to a decision – a week that ended March 26.
Oman says it’s something they simply cannot sign until the club discusses the agreement during their official meeting in April.
Gander Lions Club president Perry Kieley declined comment when contacted for an interview.