Cloverdale residents attended an open house last Thursday (April 11) to review the final draft of the new Cloverdale Town Centre Plan.
A town centre plan shapes a community, and acts as a blueprint for future private and public developments. The land use plans determine what will be built for decades to come.
The Cloverdale Town Centre Plan is centred on about 730 acres of residential and industrial land near the intersection of Highway 10 and Highway 15.
Broadly, the plan proposes residential densification, a pedestrian-friendly commercial core, and an enhancement of 176A Street. The plan’s main priorities are to attract more residents to the town centre, enrich the character of the area and to support business.
According to the city plan, population growth “will support new business and amenities that enhance the Town Centre,” placemaking elements such as new parks and improved streetscapes will “reflect Cloverdale’s unique historical identity,” and mixed-use buildings and businesses will “revitalize the downtown” by attracting locals to the small retail shops and restaurants that make up the heart of the commercial core.
Concerns addressed, concerns remain
After the plan was presented last year, Cloverdale residents and business owners raised concerns about a lack of transit, parking, and affordable housing; an unsustainable increase in traffic; and increased pressure on local schools.
Some of those concerns were reflected in changes to the plan draft that was presented last Thursday, and some of them continued to be issues for open house participants.
In the neighbourhood just west of the Cloverdale Bypass, a few changes were made based on feedback from the 2018 open house. Where townhouses had been slated along 58A Avenue between 175 Street and 173B Street, and along 173 Street between 57 and 58 Avenues, there will now be semi-detached residential homes.
(3) remember those homeowners who were concerned after they found out that the city was planning on zoning their properties for a future park? that future park has been moved . . . slightly down, just across the street pic.twitter.com/Q6JkwEHyvC
— Sam Anderson (@sam_andrsn) April 11, 2019
A future park that had raised concern amongst residents in that neighbourhood was moved to the corner of 58 Avenue and 173 Street.
The land immediately east of Cloverdale Catholic School, near 59 Avenue and Highway 15, has been changed from institutional to four-storey apartment buildings at the request of feedback from the 2018 open house.
City planner Steve MacIntyre explained that one of the priorities of the update is to provide the “missing middle option” for affordable housing.
“There are smaller lots with single family housing around the edge [of the plan], but all within a walkable distance to the commercial core,” he said.
“We’re trying to put in some more mixed-use [buildings] and increase housing density,” he said. The missing middle option provides homes that may be better suited to young families and seniors, including townhouses, rowhouses and duplexes.
Several residents told the Reporter that they continued to be concerned about a lack of schools, the lack of transit, and no mention of a future hospital, especially in light of the increased density.
When former Surrey mayor Linda Hepner presented the plan to the Cloverdale BIA in 2018, she said that the town centrewas the ideal location for a new Surrey hospital.
Schools and a potential hospital are provincially-provided services.
“In acknowledgement of Mayor Hepner’s suggestion of a potential hospital on the Kwantlen site, we added an option for institutional uses in that location last year, just in case. We have no confirmation of a hospital locating here, but the plan supports this possible land use,” said MacIntyre.
The city has consulted with the Surrey School District and received “assurances that they will be able to accommodate future students resulting from new housing in the town centre. They may use a variety of methods, including additions to existing schools, moving programs, and changing catchment boundaries,” he said.
Cloverdale resident Michelle Katsumata said, “We’ve got all those townhouses coming in. That’s going to be a lot of young families. Where are all those kids going to go to school?”
“We don’t have enough schools for the kids right now, so I don’t know what they’re going to do with all the [new families],she said.
“We’re getting crowded,” she said, “but since [building schools] doesn’t make any money, it’s not important.”
“Schools, transportation, everything. You keep bringing people in you have to build these things. They’re not forecasting to build [for the future],” she said.
‘A step in the right direction’ for business
Cloverdale Business Improvement Association Executive Director Paul Orazietti said that the plan was a “step in the right direction.”
The City of Surrey agreeing to leave existing parking in the commercial core untouched, and, in fact, go further to partner with the BIA to revitalize some of that parking through the King Street Alleyway Project, was an improvement over last year. And so, too, was the extension of the heritage district along 176 Street. The character area has been extended north from 58 Avenue to 58A Avenue.
Orazietti did express concern over future four-storey buildings along 176A Street. Although “there is room and need for more apartments,” the soft clay in the area’s soil makes larger developments difficult and expensive to build, he said.
Public needs to give feedback: Pettigrew
City councillor Steven Pettigrew said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the plan and the changes made over the past year.
“I see the changes that have been made. Assuming those changes were ones that were requested from the public, and they remain, we should be good,” he said. “It’s really up to the people who live here. If they like it, they need to let the city know. And if they don’t, they need to let us know as well.”
“It’s the public’s job to show up and make their comments and then it’s council’s job to listen to the public.”
After a plan is agreed upon by the community, he is extremely hesitant to makes changes for developers who propose something outside of that plan.
“I support NCPs [Neighbourhood Concept Plans] in their current form, and I’m very, very reluctant to make any changes at the council level,” he said. “I’m hoping that as time goes by, we’ll see less and less amendments.”
“Because this is important,” he said, gesturing at the crowd of people assembled in Shannon Hall making comments on the plan.
After feedback is collected from the final open house and an online survey which is open until April 18, any needed last changes will be made and a final plan presented to city council in fall of this year. To view details on the Cloverdale TownCentre Plan update, and to participate in the survey, visit surrey.ca/city-services/15220.aspx.