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With freezing weather on the way, extreme-weather shelter opens at Surrey rec centre

‘It’s going to be a tough-slugging couple of weeks for the people on the streets’
Entrance of the former North Surrey Recreation Centre. (File photo: Tom Zillich)

With freezing temperatures coming, people living on Surrey’s streets will have more places to stay warm.

“We’re going to use some space in the North Surrey Recreation Centre for extreme weather response shelter from Dec. 24 to March 31 (and) extended daytime hours at Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre over the holiday season, as a place for people to warm up and be out of the cold weather,” Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum told a meeting of city council on Friday morning (Dec. 24).

The 20-minute meeting, streamed online, saw final votes on the city’s Five-Year (2022-2026) Financial Plan and also dealt with the coming extreme weather.

“Our current cold-weather shelters in Surrey that we have open accommodate up to 96 people, and this will add to that,” McCallum noted.

In Metro Vancouver, temperatures are expected to dip to -14 overnight Monday (Dec. 27).

British Columbia is in for a cold Christmas, and Environment Canada has issued extreme cold and snowfall warnings for several sections of the province.

Surrey council was unanimous in support of the city’s extreme-weather response.

“This looks like it’s been in the works for quite awhile,” said Coun. Laurie Guerra. “You don’t get corporate reports turned around in an hour, so I’m really happy and thrilled with what the city is doing to take care of our most vulnerable, our priority populations here in the City Centre.”

Coun. Brenda Locke thanked city staff for their work.

“Every day I drive in and this morning included, there were a number of people on the street close to city hall, so I want to thank all the staff,” Locke said. “It’s important especially right now. It’s going to be a tough-slugging couple of weeks for the people on the streets.”

Meantime, operators of Surrey’s Guru Nanak Food Bank (#101-15199 68 Ave., online at said they’re set to serve to those in need during the coming cold snap, providing “free hot meals to the homeless shelters and feeding the hungry,” director Narinder Singh Walia said.

“Guru Nanak Food Bank is requesting all the shelters in lower mainland to contact us if they are in need. Our team of volunteers are available 24X7 during this extreme weather condition.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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