City of Surrey to borrow $151 million to construct new recreational centres

Jan 27 2021, 6:32 pm

During a public meeting on Monday, Surrey City Council approved the measure of permitting city staff to proceed with the process of obtaining a loan of $150.6 million to fund three new major community and recreational facilities.

The long-term borrowing scheme will fully cover the construction costs of the new replacement $90-million Newton Community Centre, including the land acquisition, as well as the full costs of the $40-million City Centre Sports Complex.

Another $20.6 million will be borrowed to help cover the $50.1-million Cloverdale Sport and Ice Complex, with the remaining $29.5 million funded through pay-as-you-go city financing.

These capital projects were previously approved by city council in November 2020 as part of the 2021 five-year capital plan, which will help address growing pressures for new recreational facilities as a result of Surrey’s continued strong population growth.

In October 2020, city council approved the acquisition of 16 contiguous parcels at 6965-7005 King George Boulevard and 13511-13570 70A Avenue, forming a 7.2-acre parcel for Newton Community Centre, a new public park, and other civic uses. These parcels include the current Rona store and a number of vacant properties.

6965-7005 King George Boulevard Surrey Newton Community Centre

Site of the future Newton Community Centre at 6965-7005 King George Boulevard, Surrey. (Google Maps)

6965-7005 King George Boulevard Surrey Newton Community Centre

Site of the future Newton Community Centre at 6965-7005 King George Boulevard, Surrey. (Google Maps)

Design work on the new Newton facility, including a replacement rink for the nearby Newton Ice Arena, will begin in early 2021, and construction is targeted to begin in late 2021 for a completion in 2023.

Further north up the King George Boulevard Corridor, the City Centre Sports Complex is envisioned to be a major expansion of the Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre at 13458 107A Avenue. Much of the city-owned property is currently used as surface parking, which opens up the opportunity for an expansion without land acquisition.

When complete, it would add to the area’s recreational precinct already established by the adjacent Whalley Athletic Park and BC Lions training centre.

Another $500,000 has been set aside in 2014 for the design of a potential second expansion phase of the City Centre Sports Complex project.

chuck bailey recreation centre 13458 107A Avenue surrey

Site of the existing Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre at 13458 107A Avenue, Surrey. (Google Maps)

chuck bailey recreation centre 13458 107A Avenue surrey

Exterior of the existing Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre at 13458 107A Avenue, Surrey. (Google Maps)

The municipal government is proceeding with this direction of building the City Centre Sports Complex after a joint partnership between the city, YMCA of Greater Vancouver, and Simon Fraser University to build Surrey City Centre YMCA fell apart in May 2020.

The YMCA recreational facility was cancelled after its estimated cost soared to $75 million. When the project was first announced several years earlier, the city and YMCA were only willing to commit $20 million each.

ymca surrey city centre

Conceptual artistic rendering of the cancelled Surrey City Centre YMCA. (YMCA of Greater Vancouver)

There is also a specific need for expanded community and recreational facilities within the city centre, which is expected to see a significant population increase over the coming years from a wave of new high-density residential developments.

Moreover, the closure of North Surrey Recreation Centre next to SkyTrain’s Surrey Central Station in late 2019 has left a void in the immediate downtown area. This facility closed shortly after the opening of the new replacement facility at the North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex near SkyTrain’s Scott Road Station, and the site — along with the adjacent surface parking lot and TransLink bus loop — is now set to become part of a major office redevelopment.

The city expects to commence design work on City Centre Sports Complex in early 2021 for a construction start in late 2021. Completion is expected in the middle of 2022.

Cloverdale Sport & Ice Complex Surrey

Artistic rendering of Cloverdale Sport & Ice Complex. (City of Surrey)

cloverdale sport and ice complex 17770 64th Avenue surrey

Site of the future Cloverdale Sport and Ice Complex at 17770 64th Avenue, Surrey. (Google Maps)

cloverdale sport and ice complex 17770 64th Avenue surrey

Site of the future Cloverdale Sport and Ice Complex at 17770 64th Avenue, Surrey. (Google Maps)

As for Cloverdale Sport and Ice Complex, it will be built at 17770 64th Avenue on the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, just east of the Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre. Site preparation for construction began about four years ago, but the project was hampered by funding issues.

The new Cloverdale facility will feature two additional ice rinks. The municipal government is currently in the procurement process, with construction set to begin in 2022 for a completion in early 2024.

All three projects will be under a 25-year amortization period, with the BC Municipal Finance Authority (MFA) providing financing at under 1.5% annually.

“The interest rate term will be set at ten years, as per standard MFA practice. At the end of ten years, borrowers have the option to pay off the remaining loan principal in full, make a partial lump-sum principal payment and refinance the balance, or refinance the entire principal outstanding at that time. All interest rate terms, subsequent to the initial 10-year term, will be set at five years,” reads a city staff report.

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