Hundreds of community members came to the Cloverdale Fairgrounds on Thursday (June 14), to learn about the new plan proposed for Cloverdale’s town centre.
A town centre plan reflects a community’s identity, and its vision for its future — it includes land use plans, which determine what will be built and how, upgrades to public amenities such as parks, and beautification projects.
Cloverdale’s “town centre” is around 297 hectares of land located near the crossroads of Highway 10 and Highway 15. It encompasses multiple residential and urban residential zones, and commercial and industrial zones.
Broadly, the new town centre plan proposes residential densification, a pedestrian-friendly commercial core, and an enhancement of 176A Street.
The draft land use plan proposes more residential density within walking distance of the town centre “to support walkable local businesses, including restaurants and small retail shops.”
Specifically, the plan mentions increasing densification with duplexes or rowhouses in the area northeast of downtown, near 60 Avenue and 179 Street. Rowhouses with rear lane access, townhomes and single-family homes are proposed for the area surrounding the Catholic Parish Centre, west of Highway 15. On the Bourassa Farm site, northeast of Highway 10 and 180 Street, mixed-use designations, apartments, townhomes and single-family homes are proposed.
| The new roads proposed in the plan will be placed near neighbourhoods marked for densification.
City of Surrey
A handful of new roads would be built to support densification near the new developments.
Meanwhile, a consolidation of public parking in the town centre has been proposed “to allow for revitalization of 176A Street.”
The city has committed to no net loss of parking with the new plan, and it does not plan for additional spaces. Members of the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce brought up concerns at the open house, as there are several projects in the works that are designed to attract more visitors to the downtown core — most notably the $15.7-million Museum of Surrey expansion, expected to be completed in fall 2018.
The plan notes that while 176 Street has seen improvements throughout the years, including beautification projects and public art installations, 176A Street has not. Community members are invited to weigh in on what enhancement projects they would like to see on the street, whether it be historical markers and interpretive signage, public art, or gardens.
Upgrades to stormwater, sanitary sewer and water service infrastructure are also detailed in the plan, and the cost of utility upgrades will be offset by development fees.
The main change to the plan since it was presented to Cloverdale’s business community in 2017, City of Surrey planner Steve MacIntyre said, was introducing a “residential transitional zone, to broaden the higher density townhome and semi-detached designations.”
“We’ve got a bit of a hard line on the east side with the four-storey apartments right across the street from single family homes, so [it] makes sense to step down to townhomes, and provide a little more additional opportunity for people to live in the downtown,” he said.
Although the plan pushes for more densification, it does not provide plans for affordable housing or improving access to transit.
MacIntyre acknowledged that Cloverdale is “not an easily served area, and transit has always been a problem here.”
The current plan proposal focuses on bringing in more foot traffic to the commercial core, not visitors arriving via public transit.
There is no strategy being put forward with the new plan for affordable housing, whether by incentivization for developers to build purpose-built rental properties, or a requirement that some of the new developments include affordable housing. The lack of rental units in Cloverdale was highlighted in September 2017, when The Bristol building opened in downtown Cloverdale. It was the first purpose-built rental building to be built in Cloverdale in 30 years, and there were more than 2,000 applicants for its 97 units.
If the plan is approved, the new land use designations will “basically open a floodgate to developers who are interested in pursuing any of [the plan’s] options,” said MacIntyre. “If they’re not interested at all, nothing will happen. If they are, then you’ll see many applications coming in all at once, you’ll see a lot of consolidation properties, a lot of that happening.”
The town centre plan does not include mention of what the increased density would mean for local school populations, and the city has “yet to hear from the school district” on the matter.
Community members can view and provide feedback on draft updates to the plan by filling out a survey at surrey.ca/surveys. The survey will be open from June 14 to July 6.
The town centre plan will be revised during the summer months, and city staff expect to present the final plan to council in fall 2018.