SURREY — Residents of City Centre may not have to drive across town to feel sand between their toes if a project the city is floating comes to fruition.
The City of Surrey is considering building an “urban beach” at Holland Park.
Imagine a big sand pit with volleyball courts, similar to False Creek’s urban beach.
“We see an opportunity to put in a big sand area on the south side of Holland Park,” explained Ted Uhrich, Surrey’s Parks Planning, Research and Design Manager. “The idea of being able to escape to a beach-like atmosphere, in the middle of the city.”
While Crescent Beach is a popular sandy beach in the city, it’s a fair ways away from the developing town core, he noted.
“It checks some boxes for us,” Uhrich said of the proposed project. “For one, it engages a demographic we know is more prevalent in City Centre: The teens and 20s demographic. With SFU and Kwantlen moving in as well, we’ve got a lot of people in their teens and 20s, and they love getting out for beach volleyball, or beach soccer or ultimate. So it kind of hits that demographic and what they want to do to stay active and fun.”
Uhrich said the city is looking at a minimum of 10 volleyball courts, and as many as 20.
(A City of Surrey rendering of where an urban beach could be built at Holland Park. Though, the city notes the design could change through consultation with the community.)
The idea has been on the city’s books for about two years, during the development of the City Centre Land Use Plan, said Uhrich.
“But it kind of became crystallized when Volleyball BC approached us last year about the idea of setting up a volleyball complex, or a space for beach volleyball, in City Centre.”
While the city likes the idea, Uhrich said “we do have some more hurdles.”
“We can’t proceed quite yet,” he explained. “We don’t have adequate funding to do something of this scale, and there are some properties we haven’t acquire on the south side of Holland Park.”
Given those factors, Uhrich said there’s not currently a timeline for the project.
“We will consult with the public when we proceed,” noted Uhrich. “We’ll have open houses, lots of opportunities for workshops, so we’ll look at the whole south end of the park.”
For now, Uhrich said “we’re just letting the community know we’re still interested.”
Surrey Councillor Bruce Hayne said he loves the idea.
“I think it’s just going to be an added dimension to that park…. It is in the capital plan, in improvements,” he said. “There will be funding available for it. As we collect more DCCs (Development Cost Charges) from City Centre, we’ll be making more improvements to Holland Park.
“I was secretly hoping for an outdoor pool to go along with it,” Hayne laughed, “but we have a policy now that we’re not building any more outdoor pools in the city.”
Although, Hayne said the city might look at adding a water feature, such as a water park.
“That’ll be part of the public consultation that will be happening in the coming months,” Hayne noted. “As City Centre builds out, it’s going to be even more important to the community in the years to come, that they have that open urban space.”