Surrey city council added five future towers to the city’s downtown skyline on July 25 during its last meeting before council’s summer break.
Following a public hearing, among projects council granted third-reading approval to were a 43-storey mixed-use tower with an eight-storey podium for apartments – featuring 516 residential dwelling units, including 94 for rent – a 36-storey residential tower with a child care centre, and two residential high-rises with ground floor retail and another child care centre for the city centre.
Council also gave the nod to a 34-storey residential highrise with 377 dwelling units at 9611-140 Street.
“They’re beautiful buildings, they’re architecturally gorgeous in my opinion,” Coun. Laurie Guerra said. “I think that smart development was densifying around these transit corridors.”
Coun. Pettigrew agreed that the buildings as presented are “architecturally pleasant,” but opposed the applications.
“My concern is not with the building, it’s with the area and the long term effects,” he said.
Schools are “maxed out” and the parks ratio “has not been kept up,” he added. “So my question I ask myself is what are the long-term effects, not the next year or two but five, 10, 15 years. What are the effects on an area when we increase the density 50, 100, 200 per cent and we’re not increasing the infrastructure?”
Pettigrew noted the city is “cutting down tens of thousands of trees all the time. At what point is there a tipping point? At what point do we reach that part where the trees and the people breathing equilibrium kind-of fizzles out?”