LETTER: Blood, drugs and urine should not be part of Surrey’s city hall experience

How does an event not protect its patrons, or at least guarantee them safe access to their cars – especially when the event is at city hall?

  • Oct. 27, 2016 7:00 p.m.

One reader says she had an unsettling experience after a recent Surrey City Hall’s Centre Stage theatre event.

The Editor,

I had a very unsettling experience this weekend after a Surrey City Hall’s Centre Stage theatre event and I had to write you.

I just couldn’t let this slide.

I surprised my friend for her birthday and took her and my husband out to see the live comedy show “Laughs from the Past” on Saturday night at Centre Stage at Surrey City Hall. We parked our vehicles in the underground parkade and took the elevator up.

Not only was it our first time at this venue, it was also our first venture into city hall itself.

It was pretty impressive – or so we thought.

The performance ran from 8 p.m. to  9:30 p.m. After the show ended, we were more than slightly miffed by the substantial lineup at the parkade elevators.

With only two elevators and a large crowd of people, it was going to take a while to access our vehicles, so we opted for the stairs.

However, we couldn’t find them. When I asked the security guard for directions, we were told to exit the building, go around past a large concrete set of stairs and underneath and there we would find a door with access to the parkade.

Really? There was no internal access? That seemed weird. I had to ask the security guard more than once to clarify as his directions seemed vague, convoluted and unclear.

He was obviously not going to leave his comfy chair to show some confused “almost seniors” the way, preferring to merely point in the general direction instead.

We were soon to understand why. Even the security guard didn’t want to go there…

We did find the said stairwell eventually. Feeling a little uneasy, even with my big burly brave husband leading the way, it was unsettling, to say the least, having to go through an unsecured and not very well lit area into a little steel doorway with small letters marked “Parkade” under a set of stairs.

Our “spidey senses” were tingling. The whole thing felt eerie and wrong and fraught with potential peril. This was, after all, Surrey and we were out after dark. This doorway was open to the general public and anyone could come and go unseen. This was not our comfort zone.

Our uneasiness was confirmed once we stepped inside and rounded the first level of stairs when we came upon the drug paraphernalia of an obvious user. Syringes, blood-tinged gauze pads and other unfamiliar items lay strewn about.

The stench of urine was overwhelming and although my own heart was beating through my chest and I just wanted out of there, we continued our downward spiral stepping over and around careful to avoid contact with all items especially making sure not to step in the obvious puddle.

Are there CCTV cameras in there? If so, who was monitoring them?  I want to know.

This is City Hall for Pete’s sake! We just came from a professional public performance!

My head reeled.

Disgusted, we rounded the corner to be greeted with more of the same. There had been at least two druggies using the cover of that stairwell as an injection site.

How does this happen?

How does an event not protect their patrons?

How does someone not patrol that space when 100 or more people pay $30 a pop for 90 minutes of entertainment and can’t be guaranteed to safely access their vehicles?

How do you not pay someone $15 an hour to monitor that space for two hours?

There is disaster looming in that stairwell and someone is going to either die or be seriously injured in a robbery or God knows what if you happen to interrupt someone in the middle of shooting up – which, by the way, the design of this building (for whatever reason) seems particularly well suited.

Whatever you want to call it, it’s sad, sickening and unacceptable.

Heather Pendragon, Surrey

Just Posted

Team BC defeats its hosts at junior curling nationals Sunday

Tyler Tardi and his team have played and won three games in the Canadian championships, so far.

UPDATE: Olympic softball qualifier to be held in Surrey

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

Surrey resident to speak about erasing Alzheimer’s disease stigma

A goal of Dona McMorland is to erase stigma attached to the disease

Vehicle rollover in Surrey

Surrey Fire Service responded to the collision on the 19500-block of 60 Avenue

VIDEO: Three-peat for Semiahmoo at basketball’s Surrey RCMP Classic

South Surrey-based squad tops Lord Tweedsmuir in final at Enver Creek gym

REPLAY: B.C’s best videos this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

World economy forecast to slow in 2019 amid trade tensions

For Canada, the IMF’s estimate for growth in 2019 was 1.9 per cent, down from expected global growth of 3.5 per cent

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Crash closes Coquihalla southbound lane south of Merritt

Accident occurred approximately 26 kilometres south of Merritt

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

Most Read