More transit service is needed in Campbell Heights, says Scott Wheatley.
Wheatley, the executive director for the Cloverdale District Chamber of Commerce (CDCC) added the need is urgent.
“As a Surrey resident, if I want to go to Campbell Heights on transit, I first have to go to Langley or White Rock.”
The only option for some workers, especially shift workers, is to travel there by car, he noted. And he said the shortage needs to be addressed immediately.
He recently applied to present to Surrey city council on the issue, in what he says is more for influence than action, as it’s ultimately Translink that will make the call on transit changes. But he’s also been reaching out Translink.
“Ideally, I’d like to see a bus from Cloverdale that goes right down Highway 15,” he explained. “The City of Surrey has identified the area as a prime-growth area for jobs, yet TransLink hasn’t made any plans to service the needs of the community there.”
Wheatley said Surrey will soon become B.C.’s most populous city, which will only increase the need.
He noted Campbell Heights is in a “prime geographic location”—close to rail, an ocean port, and border crossings. Because of its location, he said Campbell Heights has also been attracting international attention.
Surrey is on the verge of becoming the number one city in the GVRD for “commercial, industrial and warehouse business park opportunities,” he said.
Wheatley conducted a recent survey of the Campbell Heights area—Campbell Heights falls under the jurisdiction of the CDCC—and he found the number one issue for all business operators was the lack of public transit.
“The major weakness identified by the Cloverdale Chamber is the lack of transportation options moving workers to jobs in the area.”
“It can take 20 minutes to walk to a bus stop,” noted survey respondent Sarah Smith from Mercana Furniture & Decor. “The big problem is that we have shift workers who cannot get a bus when the 11 p.m. shift ends.”
Stacey Wilson from Culligan Water said transportation is one of their biggest challenges. “In the five years I’ve been employed at this location, there has been no improvement. We see lots of people at the bus stops waiting and we worry about our growing industry with little transport in the area.”
Graeme Dergousoff, with Bellpark Horticulture, also said Campbell Heights is not well-served by transit. “When hiring junior staff who need to take transit, they say it takes them 80 minutes to get from their home in Cloverdale or South Surrey to Campbell Heights, whereas it would only take them 90 minutes to get from Cloverdale or South Surrey all the way to Downtown Vancouver.”
“Our issues with public transport is that our first shift starts at 5:30 - 6 a.m. and nobody gets there on time,” said Trevor Loslo from Star Produce. “Those on afternoon shift have no transportation to get home. We have hiring issues because of this.”
“Transit is the most critical issue on their minds,” Wheatley added.