I am very disappointed with the City of Surrey’s decision to charge low-income adults a fee of $106.38 for the previously no-cost annual recreation facilities pass.
As president of a non-profit society, I work with low-income men rebuilding their bodies, minds, and spirits. Their ability to use Surrey’s recreation facilities is an important part of the recovery process. They are not in a position to pay this fee.
When people come to recovery, nine times out of 10 they come with nothing. As with most non-profit societies – particularly in the recovery industry – we struggle to keep our society in shape. Losing access to recreation centres means our clients will lose the opportunity.
The four pillars of a strong and effective recovery program are abstinence and recovery first; health and fitness next; followed by employment and education; finally family and a future. Any one of these removed from the equation almost always leads to failure.
The cost of operating our Health Ministry-certified facilities does not provide us the ability to increase our fee for service, even if our residents could pay. We are not able to cover these costs; neither are they.
Are our public facilities in Surrey now limited to only those who can absorb such an exorbitant increase?
We have seen clear evidence that a strong recovery program combined with fitness leads to positive results.
The city prides itself on being progressive with respect to its policies for the homeless and its poverty-reduction plan. This policy will push more people further into poverty.
This policy is mean-spirited and hurtful to many low-income residents of Surrey. Perhaps those who make decisions are fortunate enough that cost doesn’t matter.
Susan Sanderson, The Realistic Success Recovery Society