British Columbia

Cloverdale kids rally against Surrey's plan to postpone new arena

Last week, the city posted a proposed five-year spending plan meant to stave off $136 million in future debt through "postponement" of projects that have already been approved. That would include the $44-million Cloverdale Sport and Ice Complex.

City's proposed spending plan would halt construction of $44M winter sports complex

Young hockey players and their parents rallied outside the Cloverdale Arena on Monday night. (Meera Bains/CBC)

Cloverdale hockey parents and their kids rallied Monday night against the City of Surrey's plan to postpone construction of a new arena.

Last week, the city posted a proposed five-year spending plan meant to stave off $136 million in future debt through "postponement" of projects that have already been approved. That would include the $44 million Cloverdale Sport and Ice Complex.

In a rally outside the community's existing arena Monday, young players held up homemade signs and chanted, "save our rinks."

Cloverdale Minor Hockey Association vice-president Deanna Cox said young hockey players aren't the only ones who will be affected if the plan moves forward, and she wanted to send a message to council.

"We wanted them to really hear the city's voice that it wasn't just Cloverdale minor hockey, it was all these user groups and all the kids in our area that need these kinds of places," Cox told CBC.

"If they had more to be at, they'd be busy doing sports and not getting into trouble, and making good friendships."

The protesters held homemade signs and chanted "save our rinks." Cloverdale's existing arena has only one sheet of ice in an aging building. (Meera Bains/CBC)

The proposed spending plan will go to the city's finance committee on Tuesday. It also outlines proposals to postpone the Grandview Heights Community Centre and Library, an Indigenous gathering place, a modular child care project, and work on RCMP facilities.

The land earmarked for the arena has already been cleared. The existing arena has only one sheet of ice in an aging building. Surrey hockey parents say the lack of rinks in the city mean they often have to drive their young players to Delta or Langley for practices or even home games.

'This has been committed to the community'

Former city councillor Marvin Hunt, now the B.C. Liberal MLA for Surrey-Panorama, is urging Mayor Doug McCallum to change his mind about postponing the arena.

"I think council needs to consider this and recognize, yes, it's good for us to be fiscally responsible, but this has been committed to the community," Hunt said at Monday's rally.

Linda Annis, the lone Surrey councillor who wasn't elected as part of the mayor's Safe Surrey Coalition, attended the rally, too, and said she will push for council to reconsider the proposed plan.

"I think it's vitally important that we invest in our youth. This is one very, very good example where the kids want to get engaged in good recreational facilities and we need to have them here for them," Annis said.

Members of the minor hockey community will be speaking to the city's finance committee at Tuesday's meeting.

With files from Meera Bains

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