An artist’s rendering of a 33-storey highrise near 104th Avenue and 137th Street. It’s the first in three proposed phases. (Image. City of Surrey)

City council

33-storey Whalley highrise, first of three phases, moves to public hearing

Councillors raise concerns about school overcrowding, green roofs

A proposal for a 33-storey highrise – the first of a proposed three-phase development – is moving to public hearing.

Surrey city council gave first and second reading, as well as scheduled a public hearing for April 20, for the proposed development located at 13748 and 13774 104th Ave. and 13777 Central Ave. It is currently the site of a strip mall.

Staff is recommending that the site be zoned to Comprehensive Development from Community Commercial Zone and Comprehensive Development Zone.

If approved, the first phase is expected to be built and ready for occupancy by summer 2023, the report states.

Phase one would include the 33-storey tower, while phases 2 and 3 would have 36- and 31-storey towers, respectively.

The 33-storey tower would include 424 units, with 61 studio units, 275 one-bedroom units, 81 two-bedroom units and seven three-bedroom units.

If all three phases are completed, it would include a total of 1,125 residential units.

The first tower would be built on the corner of 104th Avenue and the yet-to-be-built 137A Street.

READ ALSO: 33-storey highrise proposal coming to Surrey council, first of three phases, April 4, 2020

The Surrey school district is projecting 11 students at Lena Shaw Elementary and four secondary students at Guildford Park Secondary.

However, the report adds that the “timing and scale of future high-rise development in the area has the potential to impact the enrolment projections.”

Lena Shaw is currently at 98 per cent capacity, with no plans currently to expand. The elementary school is expected to grow to 114 per cent capacity by 2028.

Guildford Park is currently overcapacity by 23 per cent, but in the district’s 2020/2021 five-year capital plan, it has requested a 450-seat addition. Funding has not yet been approved.

Councillor Steven Pettigrew raised concerns about schools and how overcrowding continue “to be problematic for our residents.”

“I’m looking out the window here and there’s thousands upon thousands of people that are going into this area and in this one particular block, say a two- or three-block radius, there’s going to be, most likely, 2,000 to 3,000 people going in there,” Pettigrew said. “We need the schools. We need the provincial government to step up and we need them to be able to give us the addition that the school board is requiring and we need them to support our citizens.”

Pettigrew also asked “the mayor and his group” to set aside a portion of the money for the Surrey police department “and use it instead to improve our hard assets, such as swimming pools and arenas.”

“We are putting thousand upon thousands of people in this area, especially the downtown area, and they’re coming in here and we need to be able to provide homes for them, but we’re not keeping up with the infrastructure and the infrastructure development.”

Pettigrew did applaud the applicant’s plans for a green roof, adding that he ope this is “a bit of trend that will be developing as we go forward.

“As everybody well knows, we’re losing our tree canopy at a very solid rate and if can offset the loss of our tree canopy with this green roof structure, it’s going to really help.”

However, Councillor Mandeep Nagra was concerned whether there is a water treatment system for rainwater from the green roofs going into the storm systems.

“We can’t have all these chemicals running to our streams, just without any treatment.”

Nagra said the city should have a bylaw in place with all new green roofs where a water-treatment system “is a must.”

Mayor Doug McCallum said council and staff will take it “as a suggestion.”



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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An artist’s rendering of the green roof of a 33-storey highrise near 104th Avenue and 137th Street. It’s the first in three proposed phases. (Image. City of Surrey)

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