Surrey council has given its blessing for the Strawberry Hill area Cineplex to add more arcade games.
“The increased number of arcade machines will be limited to 20 and will be tied to the existing movie theatre use,” city staff note in a report to council.
Currently, the theatre has five.
Council voted unanimously to give the application third reading during its Feb. 11 council meeting, on the condition a Good Neighbourhood Agreement be signed prior to final adoption.
To allow for more games to be added, the applicant Riokim Holdings Inc. seeks to rezone the property from Town Centre Commercial to Comprehensive Development in order to allow for the increase in arcade games. The new zone will “facilitate an increase in the number of arcade machines,” according to city staff.
Under the property’s existing zoning (Town Centre Commercial), the movie theatre is permitted as it is classified as an “entertainment use.” This zone excludes arcades as a permitted use.
Surrey Zoning Bylaw No. 12000 defines an arcade as a “premises where six or move devices or machines are mechanically, electronically or otherwise operated.” This means the five arcade machines are permitted, but rezoning is required to allow for the increase.
“The proposal will not result in construction on the subject property, other than interior tenant improvements in the existing Cineplex Complex to accommodate up to 20 arcade machines,” city staff note in their report to council.
Before the vote, Councillor Laurie Guerra suggested the applicant complete a Good Neighbour Agreement and that it be secured prior to finalization of the application.
Councillor Jack Hundial said he had heard “comments” from the community about “traffic” and about “youth congregating, not so much in the arcade itself but generally the parking area.” Hundial asked staff how a Good Neighbour Agreement would help address those concerns.
“We would have discussion with the applicant as well as ownership of the facility,” replied Jean Lamontage, Surrey’s General Manager of Planning and Development. “It’s to their benefit to try to minimize impact on neighbours.”
Councillor Steven Pettigrew said he was “neutral” to the application but liked Guerra’s suggestion to require a Good Neighbour Agreement.
“I have also received many comments from the public,” Pettigrew added. “I think generally, the idea is a good thing but we have to make sure we take care of this, that this does not make the problem worse for neighbours.”
A city report notes that after sending pre-notification letters to more than 1,200 property owners nearby, and to the Newton Community Association, it received one phone call and two emails in opposition to the request.
Two locals expressed concern about shopping centre users using nearby residential parking. Another two residents expressed worry about noise and increased activity.
The movie theatre is located in the Strawberry Hill Shopping Centre, at the north-east corner of 120th Street and 72nd Avenue.