Opening day for the new Clayton Community Centre has been delayed again.
After an already lengthy postponement, the building was set to open Jan. 25, 2021, but now Clayton resident Debbie Johnstone said she’s been told that’s changed.
Johnstone sent the Cloverdale Reporter a back-and-forth email exchange she’s had with Arielle Patterson, the city’s facility operations manager for both the Cloverdale Recreation Centre and the Clayton Community Centre.
“I reside in Clayton Heights and like many others, have been looking forward to the opening of the Clayton Recreation/Community Center,” Johnstone told the Reporter, also via email. She said Claytonians were first promised a soft-opening in mid-2020, but with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city cancelled that plan.
“I had been told Jan. 25, 2021 was the opening of the weight room and limited programs,” she explained, “just like any other rec. centre is currently doing. Now it’s been delayed until Feb. 8, with, what I consider, a poor COVID excuse for not opening and everything to do with saving money for the mayor’s police force.”
The delay, Patterson told Johnstone, was because of the emergency Provincial Health Order (PHO) that was updated Jan. 8.
“The minor delay in opening is due to the more restrictive messaging and strict Public Health Order update that came from the Province on Jan. 8,” wrote Patterson. “The City of Surrey’s main priority is the safety of both patrons and staff within our facilities and the decision to delay was made in relation to concerns around higher numbers of COVID-19 cases in the Fraser Health region.”
Patterson said the other city facilities that are running were opened in September when there were fewer restrictions from public health officials and lower COVID-19 cases. Patterson added since the Jan. 8 update, the city has not expanded any services at any location. She hinted the city will review their position after the Feb. 5 update from Dr. Bonnie Henry.
“I understand it is difficult and we all want our facilities open, however, we continue to take a cautious approach to expanding services. Thank you for your interest in the Clayton Community Centre.”
But Johnstone disagrees with Patterson’s reasons for the delay.
“Facilities in Surrey are following what has been laid out with respect to weight rooms and low impact recreation, which are the two components of the phased in approach at the new Clayton Community Centre,” she wrote to Patterson. “I, like many residents, feel we are being stonewalled by the mayor with monies that are meant for us being siphoned into his police force which, for the record, I vehemently oppose … my job as a taxpayer is to ensure my hard earned money is being spent wisely.”
In June 2020, Mike Bola told the Cloverdale Reporter he thought the delay back then was also centred around a need to save funds down at City Hall. The city had planned to open the rec. centre by mid-June, early July 2020, but chose not to, citing a lack of funds arising out of problems brought about by the pandemic.
A city report at the time said delaying the opening of the more than $43 million facility by six to nine months–until the first quarter of 2021–would save the city $2.5 million.
Bola, president of the Cloverdale Community Association, said then that he felt like Cloverdale was being targeted. “Why is it that they’re always going after small things? The ice rink was approved. We lost that. The money for that was already approved and it would have generated revenue. Now Clayton’s being delayed. For what? To save $2.5 million on a $40 million facility?”
Bola said he was frustrated rec. facilities weren’t opening while the SPD was still going ahead. He said if Mayor McCallum thinks creating the SPD is important to tackle crime in the city, then he needs to understand that prevention and early intervention are just as important efforts towards marking the city safer.
“Keeping kids off the streets and giving them opportunities to stay active is important too.”
Despite opening day being pushed back to Feb. 8, Patterson told Johnstone the Clayton rec. centre will still offer patrons a chance to sign up for programs, including weight room sessions and low-impact fitness classes.
“The library has plans to open the same week as recreation and the addition of arts programming is intended to begin Spring 2021. We are also working on developing content for the Clayton Community Centre page on the City of Surrey website and this will be available soon.”
People can pre-register for programs at the Clayton Community Centre by visiting surrey.ca, or by calling the city at 604-501-5100.
The Clayton facility was built as a Passive House. Originating in Germany, Passive House is a unique way to construct a building that uses “super insulation” combined with a complex ventilation system to drastically reduce a building’s energy consumption.
Fresh air is continuously sucked into a building and stale air is continuously forced out. While the stale air is being forced out, it is used to heat the incoming air, which minimizes heat loss.
According to Passive House Canada, the low-energy buildings “consume up to 90 per cent less heating and cooling energy than conventional buildings.” This design includes being able to build houses without furnaces in cold climates.
The building was projected to cost $43.5 million — with Natural Resources Canada kicking in $1.3 million, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Green Municipal Fund gifting $175,000, and BC Hydro donating $30,000.
The first Passive House in Canada was constructed in Whistler for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Lost Lake PassivHaus was built to showcase the unique construction methods to the building community.
The Clayton Community Centre is located at 7155 187A Street.