Surveyors Neil Chopp and Dave Marshall map out a grid at South Surrey Athletic Park

Surveyors Neil Chopp and Dave Marshall map out a grid at South Surrey Athletic Park

Plans progressing for South Surrey Athletic Park

The Bayside Sharks are moving ahead “aggressively” in pursuit of a new clubhouse at South Surrey Athletic Park.

While Bayside is currently working with other park user groups, local rotary clubs and Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg in an attempt to bring other amenities to the park – including bleachers and washroom facilities – the club is also raising its own money in an attempt to build a new clubhouse, which would sit on the south side of 20 Avenue, between the rugby pitch and the indoor baseball training centre.

So far, the club has raised $250,000 for the project, which is estimated to cost $3 million, and has another $750,000 “sitting on the sidelines.”

“The extra three-quarters of a million is basically there, but the (donors) we’re working with haven’t committed because nothing has been given the go-ahead yet, but essentially what we’re saying is, if it’s given the green light, we’ve got $1-million,” said Larry Kristof, sponsorship director of Bayside Rugby, and a member of the Semiahmoo Old Boys rugby team.

“We’ve been working on this a long time, and we’re trying to get on the same page as everyone else (the other user groups) and get some things done.”

Bayside has also met with City of Surrey staff, as well as the Minister of State for Sport Gary Lund, Kristof said.

Bayside also had plans for the proposed new facility drawn up by Chernoff Thompson Architects. In the proposed design, bleachers are built into the hillside between the rugby pitches and baseball diamonds, and the clubhouse connects with the baseball training centre.

The proposed location is not set in stone, Kristof noted.

“The city agrees that there is a need for more facilities at the park, on the south side of 20th Avenue, and we are working with Bayside to come up with something that will meet their needs as well as the general needs of the (community),” said Owen Croy, the City of Surrey’s manager of parks, recreation and culture.

“At the end of the day, we have to be realistic about what we can fit in that location. We’re still a ways away, but we’re making good progress.”

Kristof was quick to point out that Bayside was still very much committed to seeing other improvements at the park, as part of the Hogg-iniatiated consortium of user groups.

Hogg said the group South Surrey Athletic Park users – among them minor baseball, minor football, track and field – and six local rotary clubs are focusing on “common issues” such as bleachers, washrooms, storage and locker rooms.

He did, however, applaud Bayside’s clubhouse initiative.

“I think this park is one of the best athletic facilities in the country, and anything that can augment that is wonderful,” he said.

Kristof said the proposed clubhouse would be a zero-waste facility, with geo-thermal and solar power, and a grey-water recycling system.

The inner workings of the building’s “green” features would also be displayed prominently, Kristof added, making it an ideal place for schools to bring students on field trips, where they could see first-hand examples of such energy-saving methods.

The upcoming 2012 BC Summer Games – to be held in Surrey – has also spurred Bayside in its efforts for new facilities.

“We feel that we’d need to break ground of some of these things – washrooms and change rooms – in the next six months, in order to have them built in time,” Kristof said.

“We have the summer Games coming up and we still have people peeing in the bushes here. It’s time to get aggressive.”