WTS – What the Surrey #34: Downtown Surrey

Comments 6 by Rebecca Bollwitt

This afternoon while popping by Tanya’s house in Surrey I noticed a flyer (“The New View“) from the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association on her kitchen table which contained the following:

It’s Your Downtown – Tell them what you think
One last time, the City of Surrey is reaching out to you, the community, for feedback on the new City Centre Plan proposal.

Similar to the City’s Ideas Fair of two years ago, SFU will be the site for two Public Open Houses in its Mezzanine to inform, inspire and invite input for the final proposal to City Council. Committed to visuals, interactivity and clean communication, Open Houses will feature displays and feedback stations on a comprehensive field of community issues such as land use, sustainability, greenspace, density, amenities, accessibility, transit, and neighbourhood enhancement. [Source: The New View by the Downtown Surrey BIA]

A few years ago when fancy pants new condo developments started to spring up once again (after the Gateway & teal boom of the ’90s) they were being marketed with slogans like bringing “Yaletown to Surrey.” One part of the plan in The New View that threw me for a loop was the new naming structure for neighbourhoods in the designated “downtown” area of Surrey.

Proposed Surrey City Centre Neighbourhoods
Online copy of the image from The New View was found via VancityBuzz

From North to South / West to East: Gateway, Grosvenor, 5 Corners (what I’ve always known at Whalley’s corner), Binnie, Forsyth, West Village, SCTV The Village, East Village, Old Yale, Matthew, King George, Hospital, Fraser.

My first thought was, “Everyday I try to give Surrey a better name but I guess I never thought of simply changing it,” but I suppose that’s part of the reasoning behind it all really. I think all of the proposed names are perfectly fine although being a little old school, I may have trouble with “West Village”, “East Village” and “SCTV The Village”.

West Village – Surrey’s “West End,” this will be a collection of high-density low- and high-rise residential buildings connected by a network of pedestrian routes, mini-parks, plazas and local services, shops and cafes [Surrey City Centre Plan Update]

With a chuckle, “SCTV” makes me picture Eugene Levy, Rick Moranis or John Candy hanging out near the Stardust.

This concept isn’t new, I mean people have been using neighbourhood names (ie. Fleetwood, Panorama Ridge, Fraser Heights, Crescent Beach, Hazelmere, or Strawberry Hill) instead of simply saying “Surrey” for years (and some names even pre-date the City itself).

I’m all for growth in Surrey although as I was discussing with Tanya, some things will never change. Central City will always be Surrey Place Mall, I know Dave will forever call Surrey Central Whalley Exchange and Clayton Heights will always be the area formerly known as the Hillcrest Drive-In (even though Hillcrest has relocated further along Fraser Highway and is now the Twilight Drive-In, but I digress).

Photo credit: Paul Hillsdon on Flickr

The evolution of the plan (initiated in 1991) can be found on CityCentre.Surrey.ca and more info about development in Surrey can be found on Paul’s CivicSurrey website. Actually, some of the proposed transportation and cycling plans remind of Paul’s work.

The naming of neighbourhoods is, in all reality, very low on my list of concerns for this City which I hold so dear. I’d like to see more about the plans for amenities, health care facilities, helping the homeless population and transit/alternate transportation methods.

The first Open House took place September 11th from 4:00pm – 8:00pm and the next is Monday the 15th at the same time. According to the Downtown Surrey BIA, the hope is that the new “City Centre will be: The heart of Surrey, a centre for transit, a regional centre for the Fraser Valley, the highest density of residential, offices and institutions.”

I’m very curious to learn more about the proposal however, I’ll be liveblogging Third Tuesday tomorrow night (yes, on a Monday). If you’re able to attend the Open House drop me a note in the comments if you’d like to share your thoughts.

View my other Surrey or What The Surrey posts.

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6 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. gordSunday, September 14th, 2008 — 6:38pm PDT

    As a former Surrey resident (who escaped to Vancouver island), I had to laugh when I read the words “the plan”. Surrey is a mess of unplanned stuff all crammed together. Where else do you have alternating blocks of residential, industrial and agricultural, all touching each other? It’s a mess that in all likelyhood can’t be corrected without some kind of massive “act of god” causing complete destruction requiring rebuild.

    Renaming part of it really won’t make Whalley anything more that Whalley…

  2. Kulpreet SinghMonday, September 15th, 2008 — 12:39am PDT

    Shocked at gord’s rather harsh comments!

    But anyway… Surrey being the center of the Sikh community in BC, if not Canada, is often where I spend my evenings and weekends. I can’t say I “grew up” there, but I’ve sure spent a lot of time in Surrey and the one thing that scares me most right now is the Strawberry Hill area. Basically the area around there for a few blocks in each direction has such a unique blend, especially on 124th Street, of churches, mosques, gurdwaras, etc. with people of all ages and all faiths walking, riding bikes, etc. Then just down the road you have students from elementary and high schools, and Kwantlen. All the while – this is the area where many of the shootings and domestic violence cases have been reported. It’s mostly in the South Asian community but also other communities. I’m not sure if “Central City” requires as much community development as Strawberry Hill does.

  3. RaulMonday, September 15th, 2008 — 10:10am PDT

    I will be very honest and say that I would love you to show me Surrey (you, and maybe Kulpreet and Paul Hillsdon and Mom/Sis604) as I think that there is a lot to be learned. I do read your Surrey posts but it’s nice to “live it” from the region itself and with someone who is FROM there 🙂

  4. gordMonday, September 15th, 2008 — 12:14pm PDT

    Perhaps my comment came out sounding harsher than I meant.

    My point was that the lack of a planning left Surrey so muddled up that there’s no way to fix it. No suggesting that it should be destroyed…

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    […] condo development Quattro, that claimed it was going to “bring Yaletown to Surrey”, is up in flames this […]

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