Richmond Oval’s 10-year celebration is not celebratory for some

Adult monthly fitness fees are $14-$38 higher at the Oval than at other Richmond community centres

A family walking over the pond outside the Richmond Oval.
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By Ryan Ng

Longtime Richmond resident Brian McHugh walks around the Richmond Oval with his grandchildren, but rarely uses the facility because of the costs.

A monthly adult membership at the Richmond Oval is $65 and provides access to a wide variety of fitness programs.

In comparison, the regular community centres in Richmond  charge $27 to $51 a month for the use of their fitness centre and drop-in classes.

“It seems to be rather exclusive and expensive,” said McHugh. He said that the monthly adult membership was too high.

The Richmond Oval, built for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games last Friday to Sunday with free public sporting events, speakers and festivities.

Alexa Loo, a Richmond city councillor who competed in the  2010 Winter Olympics as a snowboarder, and is the city’s liaison to the Richmond Oval, said it’s a bigger facility than other community centres.

“There are more classes that you get with that $65. Your value for money is different because you get more things,” Loo said.

The monthly cost includes access to a large fitness centre, yoga, Pilates, Zumba, indoor cycling, ice skating, table tennis, batting cages, and a climbing wall.

Terry Crowe, recently retired manager of policy planning for the City of Richmond, was  involved in the planning of the Oval.  He said his team had a vision for what the Oval and surrounding lands would become after the Games were over.

“This is what you see, a program for a lot of high-end sports, but it can also be your community centre,” Crowe said.

The highrise condos built in the vicinity of the Oval have also risen in value over the years. According to a 2017 assessment by KPMG, the area around the Oval had increased in property value of 488 per cent from 2006 to 2016.  The rest of Richmond increased 134 per cent.

“The immediate area was all industrial space,” Loo said. “As you switch it from industrial to residential, it increases the value. As more people want to live in a place, it increases the value.”

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