Its boarded-up windows kicked out and waterproof windscreens blown away, the former Surrey Public Market has become an eyesore for Newton – and all of Surrey, critics say.
The Twitterverse lit up on Friday in reaction to the state of the defunct market, which has been abandoned for 15 years and is showing an increasing level of decay.
Jude Hannah of ReNewton, a group trying to revitalize Newton, posted a blog and a picture of the 64 Avenue and King George Boulevard market on Twitter Friday morning, prompting some intense reactions.
On a post called “Mayor Watts, Tear Down These Walls,” Hannah wrote that “it’s time for the bulldozers to arrive and remove this deplorable structure.”
South Newton resident and blogger Laila Yuile tweeted the building is “now a fire hazard” will be a home to vagrants and is an embarrassing sight situated at a major intersection.
“Agreed,” Hannah shot back. “Nobody’s idea of a city’s whose slogan is ‘The Future Lives Here’.”
Manual DaSilva, who represents the company that’s owned the property for the last two years, said the developer is “mulling over” plans for the property.
“But no definitive plans at the moment,” DaSilva said, noting he feels a plan may be developed within about two months.
“Perhaps… maybe earlier, maybe later,” DaSilva said.
He recognizes that the site has fallen into a state of disrepair, and said he’s doing what he can to resolve the problem.
“We’re working with the Surrey Fire Department to secure the building,” DaSilva said, adding that means boarding it up.
Coun. Barinder Rasode has been working with Hannah and ReNewton, and says the group has good reason to be upset.
“I think we do have to do a better job in Newton, absolutely,” Rasode said Friday. She notes the property has been through several owners, none of whom have been able to develop the property.
“There’s clearly some restrictions and some challenges,” Rasode said, referring to zoning and environmental issues. “And we are going to have to do some out-of-the-box thinking to make sure that becomes a viable corner that the community and the city can be proud of.”