Gatineau seniors event hosted in in Aylmer
Reuel S. Amdur
June 8 was the occasion for Gatineau’s Rencontre for seniors at Galeries Aylmer. This was the last of four such gatherings across the city. While the theme was seniors, much of the information was pertinent to all people living in the city.
At a very general level, we were informed about Portal citoyen, gatineau.ca, where you will find information about culture and leisure and a way to address problems, including waste collection.
The 311 phone number has a similar role. It can provide information about parks and recreation, but it also tells how to raise concerns about such matters as animal control, waste collection, and potholes.
Carte Accès Gatineau is another category of service. A yellow card is free for residents and gets you into the library and makes it possible to sign up for cultural activities and to reserve a spot for arenas and sports fields. A yearly fee gets open access to sports and recreational activities. The fees: children up to 18, eight dollars. Adults, $29. Family, $62. Recipients of social assistance do not pay. Seniors, $23. Students and people with incomes of $40,000 and less, $15.
There is a booklet in French discussing a plan for action for inclusion of families, the elderly, and the handicapped. The booklet spells out need and goals but is thin on implementation. A glaring lack is any discussion of language. In fact, at the session generally there was little in
English. One fellow manning a kiosk acknowledged that that was a problem, “especially,” he said, “in Aylmer, where many people speak English.” And of course there are immigrants who bring other languages—Spanish, Portuguese, Arab, Chinese. And Ukrainian?
We chatted with a fireman about evacuation of disabled people from seniors’ residences and other apartment buildings in case of fire. He assured us that they have evacuation chairs to get them to safety.
Alexandre Dumas, from Gatineau’s Environment Services, was distributing tree seedlings to all takers—yellow birch, sugar maple, and white spruce. Gatineau has 3,000 to distribute, provided by the province. Somewhat larger trees will be available in the fall.
One kiosk distributed a card from the Centre d’action bénévole. The organization provides activities for the elderly, transportation to medical appointments, visits and phone contacts, help with taxes, and trips to the supermarket. Services are available in English. 819-684-22412.
The city’s department of Culture, communications, et condition feminine has a fold-out on a walking tour of Old Aylmer. Espace Pierre-Debain and Galerie Montcalm are city art galleries. They offer different exhibitions during the year. The Théâtre de l’Île provides the thespian experience, with different plays throughout the year. Music, spoken word recitals, and performances for children are scheduled at the Salle Jean-Despréz, 819-243-8000.