LETTERS: Price to pay for reducing costs

Editor:

Few people seem aware Surrey has embarked on a dangerous new policy restricting access to Surrey’s recreational facilities.

 

Editor:

Few people seem aware that the City of Surrey has embarked on a dangerous new policy restricting access to Surrey’s recreational facilities. I am writing about their new Pass Card required program.

Under this plan, no member of the public will be allowed admittance without a new pass card for their automated-gating system. The traditional method of paying anonymously each time you wish to enter will be abolished.

However, before getting a pass card, everyone will have to provide: name, date of birth, gender, address, multiple phone numbers.

This intrusive new policy has been sneaked on the public without going through a public-review process, council motion on costs/impacts or new bylaw. Repeated requests to the mayor for answers have been ignored.

Only ‘spin’ and PR ‘pap’ have been the response from the general manager of parks and recreation, including: better planning information, banning so-called ‘undesirables’ and ensuring that all people have paid. This latter sounds ominously like BC Transit’s infamous Fare-Gate fiasco.

The real reason here seems to be reducing costs of front-counter operations. As The Economist magazine described recently, ongoing automation will eliminate the majority of employment opportunities, except for the privileged.

Citizens of Surrey may not realize that this is already in place at the Surrey Sports and Leisure Centre and at Guildford Aquatics Centre, and will soon be in place at the Grandview Heights centre and all indoor pools.

How long before this becomes the norm across all our publicly financed facilities?

The provision of private information should be a personal decision and not one forced on all by our public ‘servants’.

If others share my concern, phone the mayor or send an email to mayor@surrey.ca.

If unsatisfied with the response (as I am), remember all this at the next civic election, because, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

Herb Spencer, Surrey