LETTER: Residents of North Surrey deserve a recreation centre where we live

‘Does anyone out there share my concerns?’

The Editor,

I’d like to express my opinion on the announcement of the permanent closure of North Surrey Recreation Centre.

I heard rumours of this proposal some time ago and wrote to Mayor and Council to express concerns that this was going to happen and that we residents of North Surrey were to get a YMCA facility in its place, or else have to travel to other communities – Guildford, Newton, Fleetwood.

I personally have lived in this, old established neighbourhood for 44 years and, along with family members, have used our recreation facility during this time. We are led to believe that this part of Surrey is the heart of our city, with City Hall moving here, direct SkyTrain transit to other suburbs, new development everywhere you look. Surely the heart of the city deserves its own recreation/community centre.

I understand placing a Y facility where no other facility is available, as they did at Panorama area. But to replace our rec centre with a Y just doesn’t seem fair to me, for the residents of Whalley, Cedar Hills, St. Helen’s Park and North Surrey in general.

• RELATED NEWS STORY: The end is near for North Surrey rec centre, meaning programs will move to other facilities within 4km, from June 25.

Our property taxes go to support parks facilities the same as everyone else’s but now if we want recreation in our own neighbourhood where it’s always been, we will need to purchase a membership at the Y or travel out of our neighbourhood. Is this what neighbourhood community planning is all about now?

The only facility that we will have is Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre and for anyone who uses this, you know how small it is for such a densely populated area. I’ve attended the aqua-fit sessions at both North Surrey and Guildford. Both are pretty well full. People are going to lose out somewhere here, or pay a private operator.

I’ve taken a look at the cost of a seniors membership at the Y. It’s at least $50 a month, and that would be on top of our parks and rec membership if we use a facility such as Chuck Bailey. I don’t consider the residents of North Surrey to be the ones with higher incomes in this city; in fact, I would suggest we are closer to some of the lower incomes.

Why do the powers that be at city hall think this is okay? Does anyone out there share my concerns?

Marion O’Byrne

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