Surrey’s historic Strawerry Hill hall was been damaged in a fire on Thursday, April 29. The site was currently under construction, preparing for a new preschool to open in the fall. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Surrey’s historic Strawerry Hill hall was been damaged in a fire on Thursday, April 29. The site was currently under construction, preparing for a new preschool to open in the fall. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Plans ‘on pause’ after ‘devastating’ fire at Surrey’s historic Strawberry Hill Hall

Summer camp was scheduled for July/August, preschool to open in September

Ryan Gallagher says it’s “going to take some time to figure out next steps” for Surrey’s historic Strawberry Hill Hall, following a “devastating” fire last week.

READ ALSO: Historic Strawberry Hill Hall has ‘extensive damage’ after early morning fire in Surrey, April 29, 2021

The site was currently under construction as part of a $1.2-million rehabilitation project that was expected to be completed sometime in June, as a place for new preschool and childcare spaces, and community rentals.

Located at 75th Avenue and 121st Street, the Strawberry Hill structure is among the oldest community halls in the city, and is listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places (historicplaces.ca).

The hall, built in 1909, was in the process of being renovated, which involved moving the hall a few metres away from the street corner, to make the intersection safer for motorists and pedestrians, according to city hall.

READ ALSO: Surrey’s historic Strawberry Hill Hall being moved a few metres in $1.2M reno project, Oct. 29, 2020

Gallagher, the city’s manager of heritage administration, said “things are on pause there related to that project, unfortunately, with the very devastating fire.”

He noted it’s “still so early in the process.”

“The fire was Thursday morning, it’s Tuesday now. We’re still trying to figure out next steps. It’s a complicated process as you can imagine,” Gallagher told the Now-Leader. “I wish I could tell you more.”

He said the city has received “many comments” from the community about how sad they are to see this happen.

“The hall was a heritage building used by the community since 1909. The city was committed to rehabilitating the special heritage venue … and the range of programs we were going to offer there. It was going to be an exciting project at the neighbourhood level.

“It’s definitely disappointing to lose a building like this because you don’t get the original back, of course.”

Surrey Fire Service received multiple calls around 5 a.m. on Thursday (April 29) that the 112-year-old hall was on fire.

Steve Serbic, Surrey Fire Service assistant chief of operations, said when crews arrived on scene, the fire was already through the roof.

He said there was “extensive damage” to the community hall.

Jason Cairney, Surrey Fire Service deputy chief, said Tuesday (May 4) that the department worked with Surrey RCMP to determine if the fire was suspicious, and following a preliminary investigation, they’re treating it as “accidental.”

“However, we did need to demolish the building partially, take the roof off to make it safe for investigators to go inside and have a closer look.”

That work is ongoing, Cairney said.

– With files from Tom Zillich



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

fire

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP is investigating after a serious three-vehicle crash at the intersection of King George Boulevard and 128th Street Thursday afternoon (May 6, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Police watchdog investigating serious collision in Surrey

Incident happend May 6 at King George Boulevard and 128th Street

Surrey Fire Service firefighters quickly contained a fire on 75A Avenue. (Shane MacKichan photos)
PHOTOS: Surrey firefighters extinguish second house fire in Newton

Second fire incident reported in Newton Sunday morning

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of May 9

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vancouver Giants celebrated a Justin Sourdif goal Saturday night in Kamloops. Giants dropped a 3-1 decision to Kamloops, a game that clinched the 2020-21 B.C. Division banner for the Blazers. (Allen Douglas/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants drop 3-1 decision to Kamloops

Third-period rally should have come sooner, said coach of Langley-based team

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country’s crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
IHIT investigating after man killed in Burnaby shooting

Police looking for more information on fatal shooting

After Bobby Henderson apologized online for his comments to a Toronto reporter, the Langley Rivermen announced that he was no longer team coach and general manager and in fact, had ‘parted ways’ with the franchise in March. (file/Twitter)
Former Langley Rivermen coach and GM apologizes for comments to Toronto reporter

Bobby Henderson blames stress due to the pandemic for his ‘disparaging’ remarks

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Most Read