Calgary seniors fight over activity centre

A Calgary seniors' group is taking its local community association to court, claiming they shouldn't have to pay rent on their activity centre.

A Calgary seniors' group is taking its local community association to court.

The Parkdale Nifty Fifties say they built and paid for their activity centre in northwest Calgary themselves, and they're outraged the Parkdale Community Association wants to charge them rent to use it.

The Nifty Fifties have filed an application with the Court of Queen's Bench to prevent the association from collecting rent and being "subjected to inappropriate eviction action." The city, which owns the land, is also named in the notice.

The seniors' centre, which is attached to the community centre, has been under the complete control of the Nifty Fifties for nearly 30 years, they said.

Besides playing bridge and doing crafts, the seniors say they've put hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of renovations into the facility over the years.

But the community association holds the lease for the land on which the centres sit, and has said that since the Nifty Fifties are tenants, they should pay rent.

"Our own building was built by our own hands and [with] our own money," said Margaret Caveny, an 88-year-old Nifty Fifties member who has been with the group since its beginnings in the early 1980s.

"These ladies built this place," said Al Penner, Nifty Fifties treasurer. "It's you telling your mother pay me rent or get out. How frustrating is that?"

The community association did not want to speak about the case.

But its community newsletter said it should be able to control who uses the whole building, and how it's used.

Brian Franks, president of the Parkdale Community Association, said they have tried to maintain a good relationship with the seniors, but would not elaborate on what that means.

The case is expected to be in court in March.