Letters to the Editor

LETTERS: Accepting more than mediocrity

 Architect Patrick Cotter presents his earlier vision for South Surrey at an open house held Dec. 4. - File photo
Architect Patrick Cotter presents his earlier vision for South Surrey at an open house held Dec. 4.
— image credit: File photo


I wish to voice my strong support for this progressive project now in the planning stages at 19 Avenue and 152 Street in South Surrey (Arts towers opponents out in force, Jan. 23; Arts-towers proposal to be revamped, Feb. 13).

Having said that, I emphasize with the many opposing concerns expressed by opposing forces. These are all valid concerns, however almost all are considered in the planning work already done by the City of Surrey and outlined in the Official Community Plan in draft 2013, and in the ‘Semiahmoo Town Centre Plan’ of 2012, which will soon be updated to include areas up to 24 Avenue.

We need a lot of housing units on the Peninsula in the next 25 years, and this project provides needed housing.

There appears unanimity across most forecasting agencies that there will be another million people living in the Lower Mainland in 25 years, and we have a moral obligation to do our part here on the Peninsula. If we were to spread these people out on an equal geographic pro-rata basis across urban areas, we would soon calculate that the Semiahmoo Peninsula will clearly need 30,000 new household units by the year 2040.

This project has a strong community component. ‘Community’ to me means residential projects that provide, or encourage residents to provide, amenities that make it easier for residents to interact, support each other and, in extreme cases, protect each other. I believe the extent of community components for this particular project – being arts oriented – are far in excess of anything seen in most single projects.

As well, this project presents some long-awaited – but conservative – iconic architecture. Without being demeaning, please allow me to suggest we are somewhat lacking in outstanding architecture on the Semiahmoo Peninsula. What we have seems mediocre at best.

Let us each decide ourselves, but please consider the following definition of iconic architecture: “Iconic architecture is usually a design that is ‘groundbreaking,’ one that sets new standards in its field, is often a benchmark for other similar projects and other designers; it stands up to the test of time, remaining a good design, despite the passing of years, decades and even centuries.”

In closing, may I congratulate the City of Surrey for progressive planning work on our community plans, the co-developers for their vision and ongoing patience, and the architects for their vision and for detail considerations required to satisfy official community plans.

Craig E. Harrold, Surrey



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