The entrance at North Surrey Recreation Centre. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

The entrance at North Surrey Recreation Centre. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

North Surrey rec centre doors will close for good this weekend

The city plans to replace the building with a mixed-use ‘Centre Block’ development

This Sunday evening (Dec. 22) at 8 p.m., the doors of North Surrey Recreation Centre will close forever.

The 54-year-old facility has reached the end of its “functional life,” city officials say, and those who use the pool, gym and ice arenas will have to go elsewhere, within a four-kilometre radius.

The two sheets of ice have been out of service since September, when all ice sports moved to the new North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex, a three-rink facility built near Scott Road SkyTrain station.

North Surrey rec centre’s pool and gym are now set to close, too, and those programs will shift to Guildford and Chuck Bailey recreation centres.

Dave Bains, who has visited North Surrey rec centre since 1981, is sad to see it go.

Along with other patrons and staff, he attended a farewell potluck event last week.

“I swim there every day now, and see all of the same people,” Bains said.

“It’s very sad – we’re all sad about it, but I’ve done my mourning,” Bains added. “I’ll be going to Guildford (rec centre) along with some other people, and it’s actually closer to where I live. But I’ve complained for years that the water at Guildford is icy cold, too cold to swim there.… But they have told me they reviewed it and will raise the temperature, so I’ll go there to test it out for myself.”

• RELATED STORY, from June 25: The end is near for North Surrey rec centre.

In June, a report to Surrey city council detailed plans to decommission and eventually demolish the aging North Surrey Recreation Centre, built in 1965 and since renovated several times. The city plans to replace the building with a mixed-use “Centre Block” development that would radically change the look of the area, adjacent to Surrey Central SkyTrain station.

One day, the site could include a proposed City Centre YMCA, which would be built in partnership with Simon Fraser University.

• READ MORE, from Sept. 9: New YMCA facility eyed in Surrey City Centre, with site ‘a first key step’

Laurie Cavan, Surrey’s general manager of Parks, Recreation and Culture, said rec centre staff will be transferred to work at other city-operated facilities.

“It has been a fantastic facility for the North Surrey community,” Cavan said this week, “but certainly it has reached the end of its functional life and it’s better for us to move forward with the investments we’ve made in new facilities versus continuing to spend resources on trying to maintain an aging facility.”

At North Surrey rec, extended public swim times are planned on Saturday and Sunday (Dec. 21-22), daily from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with hot chocolate and candy canes for all. Regular admission rates apply.

Looking ahead, an event celebrating the grand opening of North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex will be held Jan. 18, with free public skating, entertainment and skating demos. The fitness facility there will open on Jan. 2, and classes start Jan. 6.

“It’s quite significant to be opening a facility of that size in the community, and it’s a very big investment,” Cavan said.

“Everybody loves their local rec centre, and we understand that, and it will mean change for users,” she added. “And even though (the rec centre) is aging, a lot of people have had an affinity for that facility. But over the last few months we’ve done a lot of communicating with our users to let them know about programs that will be available to them and the timing of the aquafit classes that are so popular – you know, when they’ll be held at Guildford, the schedules for those programs and classes.”

• RELATED STORY, from Oct. 4: ‘You’re breaking up a society,’ resident says as North Surrey pool closure looms.

homelessphoto

The mural that hangs near the hot tub at North Surrey Recreation Centre. (contributed photo: Dave Bains)

As a frequent pool user at North Surrey rec, Bains is particularly fond of a mural – of orcas in the waters off the B.C. coast, painted on sheets of plywood – that hangs on a wall near the hot tub. He said it was created by a lifeguard named Veronica Bordeira who, according to Bains, has since died in an ATV crash in a forest outside Cranbrook.

Three years ago, when the pool was closed for maintenance and the mural showed signs of wear, Bains insisted to facility management that the mural be protected.

“They had professional guys come in and this is now covered with acrylic,” Bains said. “It’s been here a long time – 15 years, maybe more.”

Fittingly, Bains said, the mural will be removed from the wall and given to the artist’s parents.

“Veronica showed me how to draw some things, she was so nice,” he added. “I’ve drawn this mural in a book I have, so I have the memories.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

Surrey Mayor delivering “virtual” State of the City Address on Tuesday. (Screen shot)
Surrey Mayor says city is ‘earning accolades from near and far’

Doug McCallum delivered his second State of the City Address on Tuesday since being elected in 2018

Fraser Valley Heritage Rail Society volunteers stand on the train platform in Cloverdale in 2020. A new exhibit about FVHRS and Surrey’s train history opens at the Museum of Surrey June 2. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
New exhibition on Surrey’s train history to open at Museum of Surrey

Separate two-day event welcomes kids June 25-26

Delta council began with an Indigenous land acknowledgement for the first time on Monday, May 10, 2021.
Delta council opens first meeting with Indigenous land acknowledgement

Acknowledgment will be read at the start of each council/committee meeting and City of Delta event

Shannon Claypool, president of the Cloverdale Rodeo & Exhibition Association, stands outside the Cloverdale Rec. Centre. The rec. centre has been set up as a mass vaccination site by Fraser Health and the Association has decided to cancel the rodeo in order to offer the fairgrounds for public parking. (Submitted)
Second year in a row it’ll be quiet on the Cloverdale Fairgrounds over May Long Weekend

Shannon Claypool says planning for next year is already underway

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Cat who chases away coyote asked to join Port Moody, Vancouver police 

Caught on camera Friday, the black cat jumps out from under a parked car and runs the wild animal out of a vacant lot

A forest of dance-protesters outside the BC Legislature on April 11. These participants were doing the Dance for the Ancient Forest in support of the Fairy Creek blockade and against old-growth logging. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
Arrests begin at Fairy Creek blockade on Vancouver Island

Five protesters arrested as RCMP begin to enforce injunction

A thunderstorm, with lightning, pictured in Fraser Valley in 2021. (Black Press Media/Jaimie Grafstrom)
Wildfire concerns sparked after 320+ lightning strikes blasted B.C. yesterday

Approximately one-quarter of the province is currently listed as being at moderate risk of fires

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit released a poster Tuesday, May 18 featuring the names and photos of more suspects involved in the Lower Mainland gang conflict.
Police issue warning for 8 more men involved in Lower Mainland gang conflict

B.C.’s gang task force says it’s expecting ‘violence to continue and escalate’

A restaurant server on White Rock’s Marine Drive serves customers on a roadside patio. Indoor dining and recreational travel bans have been in effect since late March in B.C. (Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate falls to 411 cases Tuesday

360 people in hospital, up slightly, two more deaths

The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Minister asks Canadians to camp carefully in national parks as season starts

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park closed, trails on Vancouver Island will only be one-way

Names of those aboard the ship are seen at Komagata Maru monument in downtown Vancouver, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The City of Vancouver has issued an apology for its racist role in denying entry to 376 passengers aboard a ship that was forced to return to India over a century ago. Mayor Kennedy Stewart says discrimination by the city had “cruel effects” on the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims aboard the Komagata Maru, which arrived in Burrard Inlet on May 23, 1914. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says sorry for city’s role in turning away South Asians in 1914

Kennedy Stewart has declared May 23 as the annual Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)
Litter woes consume popular ‘Locks of Love’ fence on B.C.’s Pacific Rim

Popular view spot near Tofino plagued by people hanging masks and other unwanted garbage

Most Read