Plans for a Surrey City Centre YMCA will not proceed, the result of escalating construction costs. The project, a development partnership between the YMCA of Greater Vancouver and Simon Fraser University, with support from the City of Surrey, was to include a YMCA-SFU facility and high-density residential housing on the university’s Surrey property. Since the project was first conceived by the YMCA and City of Surrey six years ago, costs have climbed to $75 million.
Recognizing the important role a YMCA could play in the growing Surrey City Centre neighbourhood, Surrey and the YMCA each committed $20 million to the project in 2017.
“All three partners have been deeply committed to advancing this innovative project to benefit SFU students and the Surrey City Centre community,” said YMCA President and CEO, Stephen Butz. “Unfortunately, over the past few years, construction costs have increased dramatically throughout the region to the point that this particular project is no longer feasible.”
Butz added that the YMCA was in the preliminary phase of a capital fundraising campaign for the project. “We very much appreciate the support of everyone in Surrey who volunteered to help or donate. Over the coming days we’ll be in touch with donors, stakeholders and supporters to thank them for their commitment to the idea of a YMCA in City Centre,” said Butz.
“The City of Surrey remains committed to providing recreation opportunities to the residents in North Surrey through the provision of a diverse range of programs at our existing facilities. Surrey continues to partner with SFU and the YMCA on many positive partnerships that will benefit students and the community.”
Simon Fraser University remains committed to providing students with access to health and recreation services in collaboration with the municipality.
“We are disappointed we cannot proceed with a new facility,” says Joanne Curry, VP External Relations, SFU. “Our strong relationship and agreement with City of Surrey provides our students with opportunities for recreation across Surrey. We will continue our work with YMCA to explore collaborative initiatives to support communities.”
“The YMCA has been serving children and families in the Lower Mainland for 133 years and we’ve been a proud part of the Surrey community since 1980,” says Butz. “The incredible success of the Tong Louie YMCA, which opened in 2002, encouraged us to look at a second YMCA for this fast-growing community and its families. This decision does not lessen our commitment to work with our partners throughout Surrey to expand our urgently-needed programs and services for local children, families, youth and seniors.”
Typically, the YMCA offers health, fitness, aquatics, day camps, youth leadership development, immigrant services, mental wellness, employment and child care programs at 70+ locations in Surrey. “During the pandemic, we are offering 30+ programs online to the public for free, including fitness videos, activities for children and mental wellness resources,” says Butz. “I invite all people to visit gv.ymca.ca and our Instagram account to find out how they can continue to stay active, connected and mentally strong as we all work together to follow public health recommendations.”