• John Jantak

Point de convergence aims to end isolation by giving Pincourt seniors a place to meet


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Pincourt Mayor Yvan Cardinal with the help of several senior volunteers cuts the red ribbon to officially inaugurate Pointe de convergence, a gazebo aimed at providing the town’s elderly population with an exclusive ‘meeting place’.

Pincourt Mayor Yvan Cardinal cut the red ribbon to officially inaugurate Pointe de convergence, the town’s latest initiative aimed at providing the town’s senior citizens with an exclusive ‘meeting place’, during a special ceremony attended by municipal and regional officials last Thursday afternoon, October 22.

The Pointe de convergence – or seniors’ meeting place – is a 12-by-14 ft outdoor gazebo at the end of the pétanque court, located behind the Office municipal d’habitation (OMH), on 114 Duhamel Road near the intersection of 5th Avenue.

The gazebo comes complete with patio furniture to provide a relaxing place where seniors can gather to socialize and enjoy the open green surroundings along the shore of the Ottawa River. But what makes the gazebo really interesting is that the roof panels are arts works created by seniors taking part in an afternoon art program they participated in this summer.

Under the supervision of Madeleine Turgeon, Myriam Gaudry and Suzanne Caron, the seniors learned mixed media techniques that combined stencils and acrylic painting with collage embossing. The participants then produced textured sheets, which were later fastened onto a 4-by-4 ft wooden panel that will be installed in the OMH common room.

It’s these individual pieces of art that were individually photographed and reproduced that went into creating the stunning display that graces the gazebo roof. Cardinal congratulated all the participants that came together to create something special that epitomizes the exuberance of the town’s seniors.

“This is a truly groundbreaking project,” said Cardinal. “There are no other places in town created by and for seniors. Although there are a few other spots where seniors can meet up, none of them were developed with active input from the end users.”

The Point de Convergence was spearheaded by the town’s Ville en Santé committee November 2014 in partnership with the Pincourt OMH and with financial support from the Conférence régionale des élues Vallée-du-Haut-Saint-Laurent under the 2013 to 2017 agreement to improve living conditions for seniors.

The project was initiated after consultations were held between residents at the OMH and the town’s health committee in the spring to decide on a place to locate the meeting site. The consultations, which were also a part of Pincourt’s Social Development Policy that was adopted in June 2013, revealed that many seniors spoke about solitude, isolation, and access to services.

Even though the Point de convergence is located on the grounds of the OMH, Cardinal stressed that all seniors are invited to spend time at the gazebo which is intended to be a place that brings them together and encourages sharing and communication. Citizens are also invited to stop by and visit with the seniors to alleviate the loneliness and isolation they sometimes feel.

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