A Surrey councillor who voted against the city’s budget last year says she’ll be pushing to have a Cloverdale rink added back to the city’s plans this time around.
In last year’s controversial budget, a planned Cloverdale Sport & Ice Complex was delayed.
Councillor Brenda Locke said the rink needs to be built and that she intends to make her opinion known “loud and clear” to her colleagues.
“We’re closing down the arena here in North Surrey and yes, there’s another arena opening with three sheets, but we’re really only plus one on ice,” she said. “We’re so far behind on ice, it’s incredible.”
Two sheets of ice are set to be decommissioned when the North Surrey Arena closes later this year, when the new North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex opens with three sheets of ice near Scott Road SkyTrain station.
Work at the property of the proposed Cloverdale arena along 64th Avenue had begun when the project was “postponed’ in the budget, which also meant the delay of several other capital projects including a community centre and library in Grandview Heights and acquisition of land for a performing arts centre in City Centre.
According to Mayor Doug McCallum, the delays were all in an effort to reduce the city’s accrual of debt. The “postponement” of several projects meant a $136-million reduction of required debt, according to a city report.
But the heads of some community groups, and the local hockey community, voiced adamant opposition.
Councillor Jack Hundial, a former RCMP officer, also slammed the budget as it did not include the hiring of any new RCMP officers, which he called a “public safety is at risk.”
Meantime, Locke introduced a motion during the July 8 council meeting calling for townhall meetings throughout the city before the city finalizes this year’s draft budget.
It’s expected council will vote on her motion in about two weeks.
“We are preparing the budget now, so I expect this will begin in late July,” she said of her proposed consultation. “Then come September, we’re rolling up our sleeves to do our budget work and we’ll have the public’s input.”
Locke said she envisions council sitting as a panel and listening to residents at these townhall meetings, and she also wants to see the public have the opportunity to submit their opinions in writing.
“Basically, have the public can come in and tell us what they want to see in the budget, what their concerns are,” she said.
Locke said “the public didn’t feel heard” in last year’s budget.
“One of the reasons I ran was because I wanted to let people have more input into what’s going on at city. I think the public wants that.”