SURREY First Councillor Linda Annis says a proposal to shelve plans for new community facilities such as the Grandview Heights Community Centre and Library, Cloverdale Sport and Ice Complex, and the Fleetwood Community Centre and Library expansion is “short-sighted and shortchanges” Surrey families.
“Investing in pools, rinks, community centres and libraries makes our city better,” said Annis on Thursday. “We’re a growing city and we’re continuing to attract 300 new families every single month. On top of that we have the youngest population in the lower mainland with a third of our citizens under 19 years of age. If we don’t invest in community facilities we’re shortchanging our families and our future.”
Annis added that Surrey also has one of the lowest tax and debt ratios in the Lower Mainland and “is more than capable” of paying for the planned projects.
“Families take on mortgages to have a home and cities take on debt to build community facilities and infrastructure,” added Annis. “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 is also Executive Director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, said community facilities also go a long way to helping 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,” said Annis. “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.”