Seniors discount age rising in Richmond

As of July 1, residents will have to be age 65 and over to get discounted rates at the city's recreational facilities

In just over a month’s time, the seniors discount age at city-run facilities is about to rise significantly, from 55 to 65.

After July 1, only residents aged 65 and up will qualify for the 20 per cent to 40 per cent discount on things such as community centre programs.

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The move – which will create funds for an increased recreation fee subsidy program (RFSP) for adults on low income – first surfaced in the fall of 2017.

But the city decided to delay moving the age of the seniors discount to give residents more time to adjust and to sign up for programs, while the current age limit still applied.

Not surprisingly, the age limit increase didn’t go down too well with some residents, including 62-year-old Robyn McTague, who noticed the sign at the City Centre Community Centre this week.

“(This is) very upsetting. I am about to turn 63 and live up the street from (the Minoru Centre for Active Living) and was looking forward to using the place,” said McTague in an email to the Richmond News.

“(It’s) now a no-go for certain things. What bothers me the most is the people (whose ages are) caught in between…

“Why aren’t they being grandfathered? Why didn’t they choose a midpoint like 60?”

City spokesperson Ted Townsend said the current date for changing the age of the seniors discount was chosen as it gives the “best chance for seniors affected to consider options for their passes.

“Implementing in the fall would mean communicating in the summer, a time when vacations make it more challenging to communicate the change.”

Seniors programs, said Townsend, will continue to be open to those aged 55 and over, but regular adult rates will apply.

“On July 1, the age of eligibility for senior’s pricing will change for drop-in admissions, 10-visit passes and annual pass purchases,” added Townsend.

“On July 23, pricing for most 55+ programs will reflect the new age of eligibility for seniors pricing, with many programs having a senior and adult rate. This coincides with the launch of registration for fall programs.”

The age of seniors pricing, explained Townsend, is changing in order to “bring Richmond’s pricing policy in line with other Lower Mainland municipalities and to be consistent with most government provided seniors services and benefits that begin at the age of 65.

“As well, seniors in Richmond are living longer and the number of adults 55+ living in Richmond continues to grow.

“By changing the age of pricing for seniors programming, we are better able to support healthy and active aging by ensuring resources are in place to support programs and services.”

As a consequence of the change, more residents of all ages (children, youth, adult and seniors) who experience financial hardship that prevents their participation in recreation and cultural opportunities will be able to apply for financial assistance through the updated RFSP.

For more information, visit Richmond.ca/Subsidy.

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