A SkyTrain car rolls through Surrey’s City Centre, subject of a planning update at city hall. (File photo)

A SkyTrain car rolls through Surrey’s City Centre, subject of a planning update at city hall. (File photo)

Development pressures prompt need for Surrey City Centre Plan update

Two surveys are part of public engagement campaign launched by city hall

Surrey’s City Centre Plan needs an update due to changes happening in the heart of the city.

So say planners of a public engagement campaign launched by city hall to gather input from residents and businesses.

Two surveys and more details about the planned update are posted to the website engage.surrey.ca/city-centre-plan.

In an email to members of Whalley Community Improvement Association, community planner Andrew Dong says the City Centre Plan update is in response to changes in the area since the 2017 plan was approved by city council.

Since then, Dong wrote, development activity has increased, the hospital has expanded, and SkyTrain was approved to extend down Fraser Highway. “Council has also given preliminary approval to some developments which propose to amend the plan,” Dong notes. “As a result, the plan needs an update, and we would like your input.”

The plan envisions “a walkable, transit-oriented downtown that serves as a major employment and cultural destination south of the Fraser River. It includes several distinct neighbourhoods, each with its own identity and function within City Centre. This remains the vision for City Centre as we begin the plan update.”

The public engagement campaign includes two surveys, one focused on two City Centre neighbourhoods where new growth is expected: Bolivar Heights and also Green Timbers, near the proposed 140 Street SkyTrain station. A second survey deals with office and employment growth in the Central Business District. The surveys will close on Wednesday, April 14.

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City Centre is projected to be home to 85,000 residents and 40,000 jobs by 2046.

The updated plan will address “key growth-related issues,” according to a document posted to the City Centre Plan website, including “Development Pressure in Peripheral Areas,” “Focusing Office Development” and “Surrey-Langley Skytrain Extension.”

“Some parts of City Centre where change was expected to be incremental and gradual are experiencing development pressure not anticipated by the current plan,” the report says. “In these areas, particularly in the Bolivar Heights district, a review of land uses is needed to ensure coherence between surrounding areas and approved and proposed plan developments.”

As for office development, while there are “promising signs” of such development, “to-date it has been scattered throughout City Centre in various locations. The establishment of a Central Business District is required to signal the City’s intent to create a critical mass of employment by protecting for office space in the core of City Centre.”

On the topic of SkyTrain extension to Langley, the report notes a new station will be located at Fraser Highway and 140 Street. “An update to the plan in the surrounding area is required to ensure safe and convenient access to SkyTrain and development that supports the planned infrastructure investment.”

In a news release, Mayor Doug McCallum said City Centre is undergoing “a significant and dynamic transformation,” with development accelerating “at a rapid pace, transit is expanding, and the region’s centre of gravity is continuing to shift east” to Surrey. “We want to hear from Surrey residents and the business community on where we should focus growth, what amenities are most needed and how the plan can shape the future of downtown Surrey.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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