Semiahmoo Fish & Game Club members are to vote this weekend on a proposed agreement to donate its property – home to a hatchery, gun and archery range and more – to the City of Surrey.
The move, board officials said this week, is prompted by financial difficulties.
“It’s a business situation,” vice-president Ron Meadley told Peace Arch News Tuesday (March 16), of consideration being given to transferring the 1284 184 St. site that the group has been stewards of since the late ’70s.
“We’re having financial projections of a severe shortage of funds. We’re having to look at alternatives.”
Noting he couldn’t get into specifics ahead of the vote – set to be held March 21 during a virtual special general membership meeting – Meadley said the move is not one that’s being made lightly.
Club president Bob Donnelly agreed, citing challenges including increased operating costs, reduced revenue and a backlog of repairs that are beyond the ability of the club to finance.
“We would all like things to continue as they have over the past 65 years but the reality is the cost of maintaining our extensive facilities and the 29 acre property is beyond our capacity,” Donnelly said by email. “Our heart says one thing but our head says another.”
Not everyone agrees with the proposal, however.
PAN was first contacted last fall, and again this week, by members concerned, among other things, about the impact to longtime user groups, and that the step is being pushed through. They also claim that not enough consultation was done, and that other alternatives presented by members were dismissed. None, however, wished to speak publicly, citing fear of retribution.
City of Surrey officials on Monday said only that “there are no details for us to release at this point.”
A notice sent to club members regarding Sunday’s meeting said the proposed transfer “represents by far, the best option for the Club regarding its future.”
“It would preserve the real assets for community use, while ensuring that all the activities which currently take place at the Club can continue….”
Donnelly said the membership was updated on the state of the financial situation in September 2019. At that time, he said, a motion was made to approach the city about receiving the property as a biodiversity park, with conditions including that existing club programs be allowed to continue and the city take financial responsibility for the ongoing operations, Donnelly said.
Sunday’s vote requires a two-thirds majority to pass.
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