Concerned North Shore residents have started a petition to ‘Hold the City of North Vancouver Accountable’ for plans to close the Harry Jerome Recreation Centre in 2021.
“The City of North Vancouver reneged on their promise to keep Harry Jerome open while the new location is being built, prioritizing money over residents,” the petition notes.
The petition, started by Vivian Cheng, has more than 1,500 signatures so far.
CNV is building a new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre in central Lonsdale, but closing the existing recreation centre.
The petition is also being championed by Betty Holmes, who has used the Harry Jerome Recreation Centre along with her family for 30 years.
Holmes said the decision to keep the centre closed for three years will overwhelm other recreation centres, and will disproportionally impact seniors and those with disabilities.
“We will see the impact to the entire community, and it is going to hurt our seniors and those who are disadvantaged. My 97-year-old friend walks to the Harry Jerome pool now,” she says.
She said the previous council had promised it will be kept open.
Holmes said she also found it concerning that the decision was made without adequate community engagement.
“We are very interested in protecting the mental, physical and social health of the community, and I hope CNV will change this decision,” she said.
Mike Dowling, a member of the North Shore Aquatics Society, said he was deeply disappointed with CNV’s decision to close the Harry Jerome Recreation Centre while the new centre was being built.
It was done quietly without any public discussion and blind-sided all Harry Jerome user groups and users, he said.
“The full closure of Harry Jerome will have broader impacts on fitness, mental health, employment, and traffic across the entire North Shore, Burnaby and Vancouver. Not to mention, the impact on the ‘Healthiest City in the World’ vision,” he said.