FLEETWOOD — The Fleetwood Community Centre is celebrating its 20th anniversary and Wanda Penner has good reason to be part of the celebration.
Penner has lived across from the facility since it was built. In fact, she was part of the group that lobbied for the facility decades ago.
She said she’d never been involved in anything political in her life until she became frustrated with her inability to register her son for swimming lessons one fall, after he was coming out of the summer set.
“Fleetwood was continuing to grow in leaps and bounds, and we had to travel out of our community to use libraries and recreational facilities that were already overburdened due to Surrey’s tremendous growth in general,” Penner recalled.
After talking with friends in Fleetwood, they formed a group to lobby for more facilities in Fleetwood.
“And thus began my journey into the realm of being a community activist,” she said.
The group got connected with the Fleetwood Community Association and together they pushed for funding.
The group was met with resistance at first, and also a few times throughout the process, she said, but “we stood our ground and did not waver in our requests.
“My prediction, when the community centre and library first opened, was that during the hours of operation, the doors of the building would never remain closed for more than a few minutes at a time, that the residents of Fleetwood were going to embrace the facility wholeheartedly and that where would be constant activity,” said Penner.
“Today, that prediction continues to hold true. It’s a place of events and meetings, fitness and recreation, of senior and toddler programs and activities for youth… The association’s original 1923 mandate of providing recreation for the community has been realized in the building of each of the recreation areas in Fleetwood, not just the community centre.”
The centre will play host to the 17th community festival this Saturday, Sept. 12, and Penner urges the community to come out and celebrate all that is Fleetwood.
“It’s good to know your neighbours, whether they are businesses or families,” she said, “as they are all part of the community we call Fleetwood. It’s a great place to call home.”
The family-friendly event will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 15996 84th Ave.