The planned site of the Grandview Heights Community Centre & Library. (Nick Greenizan photo)

Surrey First councillor says deferring new facilities sends ‘troubling’ message

Linda Annis speaks out about proposal to delay more than a dozen projects

Lone Surrey First Coun. Linda Annis is speaking out against a proposal to defer $136 million in debt-funded capital projects, saying the measure is “short-sighted.”

In a news release issued at 7:30 a.m. today (Thursday), Annis said Surrey families “and our future” are being short-changed if the city doesn’t invest in community facilities.

Surrey staff this week, in a draft budget made public Monday, proposed postponing more than a dozen capital projects – including a community centre in South Surrey’s Grandview Heights neighbourhood and an ice complex in Cloverdale – as a means of reducing the city’s planned debt over five years by $136 million.

But Annis – a Morgan Creek resident – says the city is “more than capable” of paying for the planned projects.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Surrey mayor defends move to delay Cloverdale rink, other projects

READ MORE: Think you’re busy? Meet Linda Annis

“Families take on mortgages to have a home and cities take on debt to build community facilities and infrastructure,” she said in the release, noting 300 families are moving to Surrey every month and one third of the city’s residents are younger than 19.

“We’re not talking about something frivolous, we’re talking about the future of our city and these types of important community investments are needed now, and in the years ahead. If we don’t make these investments regularly we risk getting behind and having to catch up down the road, and that sort of poor planning always costs more in the long run.”

Annis, who the release notes is also executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, said facilities like those being proposed for postponement also help keep children and young people from being recruited by gangs.

“Kids who are actively involved in sports or the arts are less likely to head down the wrong road,” she said. “One of the best solutions to gangs is our rinks, pools, community centres and libraries. The idea that we would put a hold on these much-needed facilities that are already planned and budgeted for makes no sense and sends a really negative and troubling message to our community and the families who call Surrey home.”

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