By Walter van Halst
Now that students across Surrey have returned to their classrooms, Cloverdale kids have the unique distinction of not only losing their “freedom” after Labour Day, but also their only place to swim. Unlike kids in South Surrey where there are not one but two indoor swimming pools, Cloverdale students must wait until May of 2019 before their small and aging Greenaway outdoor pool re-opens.
To make it worse, Cloverdale residents of all ages, not just kids, have been badly served by city hall’s neglect to provide the same quality of swimming facilities to our community which residents of Newton, North Surrey, Guildford, Fleetwood, South Surrey and Grandview Heights enjoy. These residents can swim indoors all year while Cloverdale residents can’t — and not everyone has a car or is able to drive to a different part of our city.
For women and children (if not everyone), the idea of using an uncovered changing room from May to August in an age of drone cameras is not much more attractive than the empty hole full of leaves and rainwater which Greenaway Pool is for nine months of the year.
As a longtime Cloverdale resident, I am sick of paying taxes to a “Surrey First” government which has clearly put Cloverdale last. When one mayor after another comes from South Surrey, it’s amazing how that community has two indoor pools while Cloverdale has none, isn’t it ?
Fortunately, this is an election year in Surrey and it’s time for every candidate for mayor and council to tell us where they stand. To all of you who want our votes, either you finally deliver real equality of services or you can give every property owner in Cloverdale a refund for services not rendered.
To all you hand-shaking, baby-kissing, promise-making candidates, the people of Cloverdale are watching. We demand the same type of indoor facility you just built in Grandview Heights, which actually has three pools in it in addition to the original South Surrey Indoor Pool not far away.
When I recently spoke to our MLA for Cloverdale, Marvin Hunt, formerly a long-serving member of Surrey city council, he explained that South Surrey residents are often “highly engaged.” He’s right about that, and so in this year’s election, either Cloverdale residents will demand action or we will get more inaction.
It’s time the occupants of our new civic Taj Mahal in Surrey City Centre spent some money on the people who paid for it. That starts with a Grandview Heights style swimming pool, not the dilapidated Greenaway “swimming hole” we have had for more than 40 years.
Walter van Halst is a longtime Cloverdale resident. He works as a history teacher and rugby coach at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary.
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