COLUMN: Pressures of change on longtime Surrey residents

Ever-changing Fraser Highway a microcosm of city, writes columnist Frank Bucholtz

The ever-changing landscape along Fraser Highway is a microcosm of the change underway in almost all parts of Surrey.

The significance of changes along that busy street (one of Surrey’s oldest roads) has been highlighted by word that the Two Ees Farm produce stand, an icon at 164 Street for more than 60 years, will soon close down. The city will develop the remaining 2.11 acres of the property into an athletic park.

After hearing about the pending closure, a drive along Fraser Highway from Clayton to the King George Boulevard brought back memories, and involved a search for the decreasing number of buildings that have stood there longer than 30 years.

There was no shortage of reminders of how Surrey development and street improvements often neglect the very people who should benefit most – existing residents and road users.

Growing up in Surrey close to 60 years ago, Fraser Highway was known as the Trans-Canada Highway. There was no freeway and no Port Mann Bridge. All traffic to New Westminster and Vancouver from Surrey used the Pattullo Bridge.

As a result, there were many roadside restaurants, small stores, fruit and vegetable stands, gas stations and a scattering of other businesses. Almost all are gone.

As Surrey was a rural area, there were a number of turkey farms in Fleetwood, and a feed mill to serve them. As Christmas approached, the number of turkeys outside in the fields was significant.

The road became Fraser Highway when the first Port Mann Bridge opened in 1964. Traffic levels stabilized, but didn’t really fall because Surrey kept growing.

By the 1970s, there were few signs of agriculture on the street, except in the lowlands near Fry’s Corner. Some of the most significant growing still taking place was at the Green Timbers forest nursery near 140 Street.

The nursery and plantation on both sides of the street was part of a commitment made by the province in the late 1920s, after the original Green Timbers first-growth forest was cut down.

The city began a program to four-lane the road across Surrey in the 1990s, with the notable exception of the portion within the Green Timbers forest.

Redevelopment of properties along the road began on a larger scale in the late-1990s, and continues at the same pace. Many detached-home and larger commercial properties also became townhouses.

When the road was widened, the city failed to build bus pullout bays in many locations. This causes significant traffic tie-ups when a bus stops. The city’s push to build LRT along the road will boost ridership dramatically.

Much redevelopment, including a proposal for the land occupied by Green Tree Estates manufactured home park in Fleetwood, seems to give short shrift to existing residents. Townhouses and apartments add density, but for those who own manufactured homes – but not the land beneath them – the future is uncertain.

The city seems oblivious to the pressures placed on its longtime residents.

Frank Bucholtz writes Wednesdays for Peace Arch News.

frank.bucholtz@gmail.com

• • •

For the record

A previous version of this column has been corrected to indicate in the second-to-last paragraph that the proposal in Fleetwood is on land occupied by Green Tree Estates. The wrong park was initially identified.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: White Rock Farmers’ Market ‘welcomes all vendors’

Relaxing pandemic restrictions mean full spectrum of vendors can return to uptown market: manager

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

JUNE 6: ‘Pods’ set up at Surrey homeless centre; B.C. starts to see employment return

Surrey student earns TD Community Leadership scholarship

Harjot Bal recognized for his One Blood For Life Foundation

UPDATE: Missing 37-year-old woman has been found

Cheryl Brovold was last seen June 2 in the 15800-block of 96th Avenue

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

Run for Water: Abbotsford man raises $100,000 running 100-mile marathon

Kevin Barata ran up and down Ledgeview Trails 32 times, exceeding elevation of Mt. Everest

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read

l -->