A pair of proposals that will see 262 townhomes and 71 apartments built in Clayton have passed third reading.
The development applications were previously presented to council but were referred back to staff to ensure they were “completed concurrently to the completion of local schools.” The proposals have since been amended with a caveat that they be constructed in phases, to align with the opening of two nearby elementary schools.
Maddaugh Road Elementary and Regent Road Elementary, which will both be nearby the sites, will each have a capacity of 650 students.
Construction recently began for the Maddaugh Road school. While a contract has not been awarded to build Regent Road, the district anticipates that both will open to students in September 2021.
The majority of council voted in favour of the applications on Feb. 25, with councillors Brenda Locke and Steven Pettigrew opposed.
Ahead of the vote, Pettigrew voiced his “deep concern that we’re continuing to add high density” to an area already riddled with parking and school-overcrowding issues.
“We’re just exacerbating the situation in Clayton and we’re still trying to fix it right now, yet we’re making it worse,” Pettigrew said.
“Hopefully we can stop doing these sorts of things. I believe the solution is to stick with the NCPs (Neighbourhood Concept Plans),” he added, noting the applications require amendments to city plans that “staff has put so much time and effort into putting together.”
“When we don’t follow the NCP, it should be a rarity, not the normal,” Pettigrew stressed.
He said this type of development is “not what I had envisioned when I think of smart development or the type of development I want to see for Clayton. I feel bad and I feel for the people moving into this.… We’re just going to have another huge mess.”
As well as neighbouring the new Salish Secondary, these two developments would be near three other major townhouse developments (which have a combined 249 townhouses) approved by the former city council in 2018.
Councillor Jack Hundial said he would support these two applications because of how far along they were in process, noting they began under the former Surrey council.
“I think we’re too far along in the process and I think the financial hardship to those involved in it would certainly be pretty dramatic,” said Hundial.
Mayor Doug McCallum said he shared Hundial’s mindset given this application was advanced under the former civic government, noting he believes it is, in fact, “smart development.”
“We’re going to be having SkyTrain up in that area, probably certainly before this development’s completed in all its phases, we’ll be up and running there,” McCallum said. “That will help solve at least some of the parking that’s in that particular area. We are sort of trying to look forward.”
The mayor noted Clayton is one area that has “to a certain degree is still affordable for our people that want to live in Surrey, certainly in comparison to other parts of Metro Vancouver.”
However, McCallum said there “needs to be a message out there” that in future developments “we need to address these problems” to “come up with a little better solutions.”
Council’s vote came after a public hearing for both applications, during which locals voiced opposition due to the high level of density as well as parking and school space, or lack thereof.
The first project is for 166 townhouses across three lots at 18738, 18726 and 18702 74th Avenue that will result in an estimated 42 elementary students and 22 secondary students, according to city documents.
The phase-in process for this project will take place in three parts: 68 townhouses will be completed in Sept. 2021, with 26 projected students; 67 townhouses will be completed in Nov. 2021, with 26 projected students; and 31 townhouses will be completed in Jan. 2022, with 12 projected students.
The second project, at 18805 and 18855 72nd Avenue, will see 96 townhouses units built, as well as a five-storey mixed-use building with 71 apartments above eight ground-level commercial units.
The phase-in process for this project will take place in four parts: 56 townhouses will be completed in June 2021, with 21 projected students; 18 apartments will be completed in Sept. 2021, with 7 projected students; 71 townhouses will be completed in Nov. 2021, with eight projected students; and 22 townhouses will be completed in March, 2024 with nine projected students.
Final adoption of both projects is expected at a later date.