Frank Bucholtz

AND FRANKLY: Highrises a growing fact of life in many Surrey neighbourhoods

Next 10 years will be characterized by increased density along new SkyTrain line

Highrises are rapidly becoming a fixture in many areas south of the Fraser, including some neighbourhoods where they haven’t been seen before.

One of these is along Scott Road near 96 Avenue in North Delta, in the Townline neighbourhood. While there are other highrises in North Delta, a planned 29-storey building at 120 Street and 93A Avenue is the first for that area. It was controversial – it only passed final reading by a 4-3 vote on March 28. The development is clearly a milestone for North Delta.

Notable as part of the approval process is the fact that 50 units in an adjacent six-storey building will be kept as rental units for at least 20 years, with 10 of them to be rented at below-market rates. Municipalities now have the power to dictate more rental use of new buildings. Child care for 30 children will also be provided in the development.

Meanwhile, at least four new highrises will soon take shape in Surrey City Centre. Three will be on a property at 102 Avenue and Whalley Boulevard, at 31, 33 and 38 storeys. Another 48-storey tower is planned on City Parkway near 108 Avenue, with four storeys of office space beneath 593 residential units.

Of course, there are many other towers in the City Centre area already. The addition of some commercial space in the City Parkway tower was welcomed by Coun. Linda Annis, who said there needs to be more work spaces in the City Centre area.

Surrey of course is looking at higher densities along Fraser Highway, as the new SkyTrain line to Fleetwood, Clayton and Langley City takes shape. Work on details of a Fleetwood plan calling for much higher densities along Fraser Highway between 148 and 168 Streets is underway. It is also quite likely that some higher densities will be considered in Clayton, on properties not yet developed.

TransLink and the federal and provincial governments all want to see much higher densities along rapid transit lines. Given the pressure on all governments for more action on housing, due to both supply and affordability issues, and the huge capital investment in rapid transit, this is not at all surprising.

It is quite likely that, within 10 years or so, there will be high-rises in many more parts of Surrey. Hopefully they, too, will include commercial and office space, because jobs close to (or at) home are in more demand than ever. The pandemic has seen many people work from home at least part of the time, and many are loath to start commuting long distances five days a week.

In South Surrey, highrises are being considered for the Semiahmoo Town Centre. In White Rock, the Foster and Martin highrise development was officially opened on March 29.

While council has put some significant limits on highrise construction, several are already built and this is the latest one to open.

The 25-storey towers contain 229 residential units and 30 commercial units, with the first residents moving in this week.

Highrises are a fact of life for many Lower Mainland residents, and many more of them will be living in various neighbourhoods in Surrey, Delta and White Rock in the future.

Frank Bucholtz write s twice a month for Peace Arch News and at frankbucholtz.blogspot.ca

City of SurreyColumndevelopment