Drawing of the proposed Surrey City Centre YMCA. (Image: twitter.com/GreaterVanYMCA)

‘Escalating construction costs’ kill plan to build Surrey City Centre YMCA

Surrey and the YMCA each committed $20 million to the project

Plans have been scrapped to build a recreation facility seen as a replacement for the shuttered North Surrey Recreation Centre.

The proposed Surrey City Centre YMCA will not proceed as planned, according to a joint statement released Wednesday (May 20) by YMCA of Greater Vancouver, the City of Surrey and SFU.

“Escalating construction costs” are to blame.

The project was to include a YMCA-SFU facility and high-density residential housing on the university’s Surrey property.

“Since the project was first conceived by the YMCA and City of Surrey six years ago, costs have climbed to $75 million,” according to the news release.

In 2017, Surrey and the YMCA each committed $20 million to the project.

The YMCA was in the preliminary phase of a capital fundraising campaign for the project.

“All three partners have been deeply committed to advancing this innovative project to benefit SFU students and the Surrey City Centre community,” said Stephen Butz, YMCA president and CEO.

“Unfortunately, over the past few years, construction costs have increased dramatically throughout the region to the point that this particular project is no longer feasible.”

The news release is posted to gv.ymca.ca.

Added Butz: “We very much appreciate the support of everyone in Surrey who volunteered to help or donate. Over the coming days we’ll be in touch with donors, stakeholders and supporters to thank them for their commitment to the idea of a YMCA in City Centre.”

• RELATED STORY: North Surrey rec centre doors closed for good.

In the release, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said the City of Surrey “remains committed to providing recreation opportunities to the residents in North Surrey through the provision of a diverse range of programs at our existing facilities. Surrey continues to partner with SFU and the YMCA on many positive partnerships that will benefit students and the community.”

Joanne Curry, SFU’s VP of External Relations, said the university remains committed to providing students with access to health and recreation services in collaboration with the municipality.

“We are disappointed we cannot proceed with a new facility,” Curry said in the release. “Our strong relationship and agreement with City of Surrey provides our students with opportunities for recreation across Surrey. We will continue our work with YMCA to explore collaborative initiatives to support communities.”

Last fall, with the complete closure of North Surrey Recreation Centre set for December 2019 and the building’s demolition to follow, a plan to build a new YMCA facility in Surrey’s city centre had gained steam.

The new Surrey City Centre YMCA was proposed to include amenities similar to those offered at Tong Louie Family YMCA, located in Surrey’s Panorama area.

A key element was securing a site for the City Centre facility.

“Right now it’s all coming down to where the site would be, specifically,” YMCA of Greater Vancouver media rep Kelly Walker Schobel said at the time. “It’s too early to say it would be located there (on the site of the old rec centre), and as we’re exploring a partnership with SFU that would also become a factor, of course.”

When North Surrey Recreation Centre closed in December, those who used the facility were directed to programs and services within a four-kilometre radius of the site. In September, the city’s North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex opened on property just south of Scott Road SkyTrain station, featuring three ice rinks, a fitness centre and more, but no pool.

Last August, as part of fundraising efforts to build Surrey City Centre YMCA, the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society announced a $60,000 contribution to the project. “These funds bring us another step closer to fulfilling our pledge of $350,000, for the new Y being built in North Surrey,” the organization tweeted at the time.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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