Taber had the honour of hosting the opening event for Seniors’ Week this year. With the week celebrating seniors within the community, Josephine Pon, Minister of Seniors and Housing, came to Taber along with Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter to speak at the kick-off event, and to present Burns Wood, a local senior in town, with a delegation to commemorate the week. After the presentation, Pon spoke to why the provincial government chose to hold this kick-off event in Taber.
“Because it is a beautiful town and also because MLA Hunter too,” said Pon. “MLA Hunter is a very good friend of mine and we talked about somewhere we’ve never been before. At Taber, I want to get some corn because it is famous. Besides that, it is very important and what the process is, usually we open bid, open to any city or town that they would like to help us co-host this launch event for Seniors’ Week. We got a number of applications that wanted to co-host it with us and Taber was one of those applications that would co-host with us. We pulled our funding of over $5,000 to hostess this event with us.”
Hunter chimed in afterwards saying.
"Why not in Taber? This is God's country down here,” said Hunter. “This is a great place to be able to show what rural Alberta looks like. Senior needs in rural Alberta versus urban is very different. The minister has been gracious enough to be able to come down, to be able to see and listen too — I think she’s actually was shaking hands at the beginning here with every person that’s been here. She wants to hear directly from our seniors in smaller communities to know where are those funding gaps are and what are some things that we can do. I really do appreciate her coming down here to be with all of you.”
Wood also discussed the delegation that he received from Pon.
“Well, this represents all the seniors in the Taber area and actually I think it represent all the seniors in Alberta because it says on this there are more then 705,000 seniors in the province of Alberta,” said Wood. “They chose Taber to have an inauguration opening of this (Seniors’ Week) and so the committee asked me if I would accept it on the behalf of (Taber seniors). I’m probably one of the oldest seniors in town, although there are many seniors now reaching the age of 100. There’s probably several in Taber who are 100 years old. We are being kept alive by pills and hospital, and good care.”
Finally, Wood talked about his views on Seniors’ Week and how the week has gone so far.
“I think seniors deserve to be honoured because we are the parents of the population and we are supposed to be the reservoir of knowledge and wisdom that we should be passing on. We should be setting an example to the rest of the citizens and I think that Alberta has been very good at providing accommodation for seniors. They have programs that — you know you can be in apartments for a fairly cheap rate that we can afford. Alberta spent their money well on housing and everything. Well, this weekend obviously has been quite a success because they had a large group of people here (in the auditorium) and it corresponded with the commemoration of D-Day — that was an important day as well. It was the seniors of today that participated in D-Day. Like I said before, we are the parents of the seniors today — all my kids are seniors.”
Ian Croft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Taber Times