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No pool for expanded Surrey rec centre as planners of $40M project seek design input

At Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre, the goal is to start construction in fall/winter of 2022
North Surrey’s Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre will be expanded over the next couple of years. (Photo:

Expansion plans for Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre are not yet drawn, but at least one aspect of the new-look facility is clear: No swimming pool will be included.

The $40-million expansion project is currently in an “open house” phase to gather public feedback about “proposed building programming and initial concepts,” with a building design due in spring 2022.

Planners of the Whalley-area project seek input to “design a welcoming recreation, culture and sports hub that responds to the needs of all ages, abilities and backgrounds,” according to a post on the City of Surrey’s website (

The so-called “City Centre Sports Complex” is the second most expensive capital project approved by Surrey city council in November 2020, behind the $90-million Newton Community Centre planned on King George Boulevard.

• RELATED STORY, from January 2021: New ‘Sports Complex’ in North Surrey pitched as $40M expansion of existing rec centre; former councillor says that money ‘won’t build what most people would consider a sports complex’

The revamped Chuck Bailey centre will be designed to include “an expanded range of recreation, arts and culture programming, new indoor and outdoor amenities and enhanced learning and social opportunities.”

“A pool is not included in the scope of this expansion,” notes a FAQs section of the project website. “Guildford Aquatic Centre is the pool serving the area of North Surrey and is located 4.2 km away.”

The goal is to start construction in fall/winter of 2022, and open the new-look facility in 2024, at 13458 107A Ave.

(Story continues below video)

In video posted Nov. 23, a project update is given by Alec Smith of SHAPE Architecture, commissioned by the City of Surrey to design the Chuck Bailey rec centre expansion.

“Broadly speaking, we got kind of four primary themes come out of this engagement process,” Smith says. “The first one is fitness and sport, the second is social gathering, the third is arts culture and making, and the fourth is support and outreach for marginalized groups that live in the Whalley neighborhood.

“So as a result of all the input that we’ve gotten from the online survey and from the workshops and focus groups, we’ve begun to narrow down what kind of activities could take place within the expanded facility. And so we’ve got a preliminary program that we’re putting together that would include a new gymnasium, a new fitness centre, multi-use fitness activity spaces, larger multi-purpose spaces, community kitchen and maker spaces as well as childcare spaces and social spaces.

“Where we are in the process, we haven’t started designing yet but we are now kind of narrowing down the kind of activities that are going to take place there. And what that input will give us is allow us to continue to refine and focus the planning of the project as we head into the design phases.”

Chuck Bailey rec centre currently includes a basketball gym, fitness studio, meeting rooms and other recreation/community spaces.

Nearby, the 54-year-old North Surrey Recreation Centre closed forever in December 2019, three months after the three-rink North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex opened near Scott Road SkyTrain station.

Meantime, the city was involved in plans to build a Surrey City Centre YMCA in the area, but that project was declared dead in May 2020 in a joint statement by YMCA of Greater Vancouver, the City of Surrey and SFU. “Escalating construction costs” were to blame.

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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