Newton BIA executive director Philip Aguirre speaking at the third annual State of Newton address Thursday (Sept. 26). (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Newton BIA executive director Philip Aguirre speaking at the third annual State of Newton address Thursday (Sept. 26). (Photo: Lauren Collins)

State of Newton highlights the ‘struggles’ of Surrey town centre

Executive director says one of the themes of the event was ‘Newton matters’

The third annual State of Newton address focused on how partnerships in the community can help work through “struggles,” according to the local business improvement association’s executive director.

The Newton Business Improvement Association hosted its third annual State of Newton address Thursday (Sept. 26) at the Offices at Newton.

The event included keynote speakers Surrey councillors Brenda Locke and Jack Hundial, who both spoke on behalf of Mayor Doug McCallum while he’s at UBCM; Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman; Surrey RCMP Staff Sergeant Winston Shorey; Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains; and Value Property Group president Arnold Silber.

According to the State of Newton document, which shows Newton as the most populous town centre, states the BIA was advocating for things such as an annual homeless count, an increase in place-making initiatives and an events centre for an arena, convention and hotel.

When talking about the “next vision” of Newton, BIA executive director Philip Aguirre said he sometimes struggles.

“I realized there’s lots of work to be done, always, every day there’s more work to be done. It reminds me of the negativity that we’ve had in Newton in the past several years. The ongoing violence in the low-level gang warfare we’ve had, the stories that have been prevalent in the media.”

Aguirre, who is also the owner of the Old Surrey Restaurant on 72nd Avenue, said it’s a struggle “daily” to keep a small business going.

“It’s hard work grinding it out every day, being the first one in and the last one out, being responsible,” said Aguirre, adding that he met with a lot of community advocates Thursday at the event who also echoed their struggles.

“That’s what today is. That’s what State of Newton is, is that we’re not alone. We’re not working alone, we’re facing that adversity, those troubles, that hard work every day, together. We do that in partnership,” said Aguirre.

He said the BIA help put on events “to show the community that there is a future that they want to be a part of, that there’s vibrancy.”

“I think coming together is really the point of State of Newton. I think there’s always more that we can do,” said Aguirre, adding that he’s “always optimistic” for the community of Newton.

Aguirre said the community needs to “hammer down” to the three levels of government, “especially” at the municipal level, that “Newton matters,” which was one of the themes of the event.

“Surrey has five major events, none of those are in Newton. So we struggle to keep relevant, we struggle to gain the point of Newton matters.”

With that, Aguirre highlighted a new event for 2020 – car-free day on 137th Street “to showcase that transportation needs to be the focus in a building-dense community, removing the car from the equation.”

The 2018 State of Newton address focused on light rail, which was supposed to have travel through Newton.

READ ALSO: Second annual ‘State of Newton’ focuses on safety and light rail, Sept. 27, 2018

Aguirre said he also struggles with what he calls a “failure” to not be able to bring rapid transit to the town centre.

“I try not to own that, but it was huge development, there was huge potential for the town centre, huge opportunity to revitalize the area.”

He said Newton can’t just have more buses.

“There is 149,000 people that live in Newton. A community that size demands services for them, for their small businesses, for their children, for their struggles to get to work everyday.”

READ ALSO: First annual ‘State of Newton’ planned, Sept. 22, 2017



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

Just Posted

1,001 Steps – along with Christopherson Steps – was closed by the City of Surrey last spring in an attempt to halt the spread of COVID-19. They are set to reopen this week, as a note on a city sign attests (inset). (File photo/Contributed photo)
South Surrey’s beach-access stairs set to reopen

Christopherson Steps, 1,001 Steps have been closed since April 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic

Surrey council chambers. (File photo)
Surrey council endorses ‘public engagement’ strategy

Council approves ‘Public Engagement Strategy and Toolkit,’ and a ‘Big Vision, Bold Moves’ transportation public engagement plan

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Surrey council approves $7.3 million contract for street paving projects

City council awarded Lafarge Canada Inc. $7,326,667.95 for 15 road projects in North Surrey and one in South Surrey

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke. (File photo)
Locke seeks breakdown on what Surreyites get for taxes paid to Metro Vancouver

Surrey councillor presented motion to council Monday asking city staff to do a cost/benefit analysis

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
SURREY NOW & THEN: Little Theatre’s 59-year history ends with big plans for move to Langley

A former church, the theatre building/property has sold for close to $900,000

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read