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OUR VIEW: City’s two-pool plan in Newton leaves City Centre high and dry

New pool should be built at expanded Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre
(File photo: Black Press Media/Grace Kennedy)

Newton’s wave pool is set to reopen March 29 after a two-year closure, so that’s a positive for local swimmers. Meantime, a new 50-metre “lap” pool will be included in Newton Community Centre, which is planned for the 6900-block of King George Boulevard – about a half-kilometre from the wave pool.

Apparently, Surrey City Hall has plans to make a splash with a couple of indoor pools in Newton, but what about Whalley?

The City Centre neighbourhood lost its only city-operated indoor pool when the old North Surrey Recreation Centre closed forever, in December 2019, after North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex opened without a pool near Scott Road SkyTrain station.

Months later, in May 2020, plans to build Surrey City Centre YMCA were scrapped due to “escalating construction costs,” resulting in a lost opportunity for construction of a pool in the area.

It’s now clear that expansion plans for Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre will not include a swimming pool, and city hall urges City Centre-area swimmers to use Guildford Aquatic Centre, located more than four kilometres away.

So now we have two indoor pools planned in Newton, and none in the fast-growing City Centre area of Surrey.

Seems to us that the lap pool planned at the new Newton Community Centre should be constructed as part of the Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre expansion, or done in addition to it. Otherwise, it simply feels like bad planning by the recreation department at city hall.