LETTER | Bowling lanes a vital social link for many

Terrace residents says the bowling alley is more than just a place for sport

Dear Editor,

This is a last gasp effort to save our bowling alley, the only one left in the Northwest. As most of you are aware, the City of Terrace bought the property earlier this year, for “future use”. Meantime, citizens like myself and many others are left to wonder what we will do without this popular recreational facility. I am a 77-year-old senior, have lived in Terrace for 56 years and, like many seniors, I love bowling.

While there are numerous other user groups, including special needs individuals and developmentally challenged youth, my efforts have been focused on our seniors who have no option once this has been taken away from them.

Out of 35 signatures from our Monday seniors bowling, two are in their 60s, 18 in their 70s, 13 in their 80s and 2 in their 90s, one of whom is 94 and comes over from Kitimat every Monday for eight months of the year to bowl, one is a 90-year-old WWII vet.

We are not just a group of people of various ages, we are a community of bowlers, totaling about 300 people every week, aged from 4 to 94. It is a vibrant, busy place. Every senior has a story, someone who has just lost their spouse, one lady who had a spinal stroke, many who live alone and this is their social place to go. We care about each other, we share joy and sorrows, medical issues, and celebrate the joy of a new grandchild.

When we leave this building at the end of March, what are we going to do? Most can’t go to the aquatic centre or the Sportplex, skateboarding is definitely out and for most, pickleball is not an option. All the pieces are in place to keep this facility open. Someone wants to lease the building as a bowling alley, the City has stated they have no immediate use for it, the owners of the fixtures inside the building have a lease in place, it is simply the City needing to do as they have done for other groups and make it financially workable.

While I appreciate the City feels they are bound by rules that dictate the amount of lease rate they must collect, this is a unique situation whereas we are only asking for time, time to find another location, to pursue some financial options, like maybe get a grant, etc. But we have no time to do that.

This is what is going to happen: we will continue for now to have a facility where people of every age will be coming and going, having fun, or, sometime in May the bowling equipment will be sold and moved, the building will be demolished, seniors will be left with no recreational facility to enjoy, and we will drive past a vacant lot with nothing but memories.

Nothing would give me more pleasure than to return a call to the CBC and tell them the City of Terrace and its residents found a way to keep this facility open for now and we have some time to look for other options.

Terrace has a huge heart, we care about each other, I urge you to call your council member, the mayor, be proactive and vocal to support all the user groups, but mostly our seniors.

Christine Olson and Carol Campbell

Terrace, B.C.

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