New public survey launched on the future of downtown Surrey

Oct 2 2019, 3:58 pm

Public feedback is being sought for Surrey’s emerging city centre area in a new online survey that will help drive a possible vision and direction.

The Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association’s (DSBIA) 20/20 Vision Project is looking for ideas on all aspects that contribute to an active and thriving city centre.

The survey poses questions on why people go to Surrey city centre, and urban design and public space preferences that would make the public realm more appealing and community-friendly.

Other aspects tackle transportation, with a focus on walking, cycling, and public transit, as well as ideal businesses and services, types of events and festivals, and priorities for the arts, culture, and nightlife, such as a new performing arts centre, orchestra, museum, dining, sports bars, theatres, sports venues, nightclubs, and a satellite campus of Emily Carr University of Art & Design.

For years, the City of Surrey and business organizations such as the DSBIA have been seeking to grow the Whalley area from a suburban town centre to a downtown core for the south of Fraser.

“The City of Surrey is in a transitional period and we as a community get to determine what we want from our city,” said DSBIA Chair Bill Cunningham in a statement. “We are looking for people from all walks of life to complete this survey, to ensure that your voices are heard and contribute to shaping the future of our city.”

Surrey city centre

Future possible 2040 skyline of Surrey City Centre. (City of Surrey)

The DSBIA’s jurisdiction stretches 414 acres along the King George Boulevard corridor from 92 Avenue to 112 Avenue, with rough boundaries at University Drive in the west and Whalley Boulevard in the east. Three SkyTrain stations are located within the area.

The area is currently anchored by public institutions such as Surrey City Hall, City Centre Library, Surrey Memorial Hospital, and a 1.5-million-sq-ft health and technology district that could eventually employ 15,000 people.

The bulk of Surrey’s greatest residential and commercial densities are located in this area, including Central City shopping mall, where Simon Fraser University’s satellite campus sees about 8,000 full-time and part-time students.

Feedback received by the survey’s closure on October 31, 2019 will be compiled into a report in early 2020 as a guideline for future initiatives.

The DSBIA’s area is within the larger 1,300-acre Surrey city centre established by the City of Surrey.

A 2017-enacted city master plan for the area outlined the long-term vision for the city centre with land use, building form, population and employment growth, amenities, public spaces, street grids, and public transit infrastructure.

The population in the city centre is forecast to grow from 34,000 in 2015 to 65,000 in 2044, and the number of jobs will also increase from 23,600 to 38,000 over the same timeline. It is anticipated non-residential floor area will increase by 50% by 2044, reaching 13.4 million sq. ft.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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