City of Surrey working on new plan for Cloverdale Fairgrounds

CLOVERDALE — It’s a question that comes up time and time again, but never seems to get answered: What to do with the Cloverdale Fairgrounds?

A multi-rink arena. A trade centre. An amusement park.

All have been suggested, but none have come to fruition.

Surrey council is now embarking upon a "visioning" exercise to firm up new plans for the fairgrounds, in the hopes of attracting investment from the private sector and senior levels of government and, ultimately, action on the site.

The property has been home to the Cloverdale Rodeo since 1938.

Once the site for blue-ribbon cattle, it’s now popular for flea market Sundays and professional wrestling shows. Last summer, the Surrey Night Market debuted there, and its second season kicks off May 29.

Coun. Tom Gill described the 137-acre site as the "crown jewel" of Surrey.

He wants to see something "exceptionally creative" done with the site.

Gill could see an entertainment district at the site, similar to that on Richmond’s Triangle Road.

"My son plays hockey there," at Richmond Ice Centre, which has six rinks. "Across the street they have a nice, big, grand movie theatre, behind that is a bowling alley, then they’ve got an aquatic centre, laser tag, a play centre for the kids," he continued. "I always scratch my head and say, ‘Well this is kind of insane where it’s located."

Cloverdale’s fairgrounds would be a perfect spot for such attractions, according to Gill.

"With a third of our population being under the age of 19, giving youth some creative opportunities to do some good things and keeping them busy, is important.

"These are just thoughts in the back of my mind," he continued, adding the city will now get public input to see what residents and businesses want done there.

Coun. Bruce Hayne noted there’s been all sorts of ideas for the property over the years – everything from a convention centre to a soccer facility to condo developments.

"We’ve looked at the redevelopment of the fairgrounds, it sort of starts and stops, starts and stops…. That’s because up until now the private sector hasn’t been on board."

Determining the city’s vision is crucial to getting partners to the table, he said.

Hayne said during the election campaign he heard the community saying, "Get on with it and build it."

"But get on and build what? If we’re to build it, are we to take on 100 per cent of the costs and the risk? I don’t think the taxpayers of Surrey would want us to operate like that. Whatever it is we do move forward with, it will likely be a P3 arrangement, with the city coming forward with very valuable land."

Paul Orazietti, executive director of the Cloverdale BIA, said designing a good plan for the property will be a "balancing act."

He would like to see an ice rink, noting lots of locals travel to Langley to access proper facilities.

He said he’d also like to see a trade or convention centre, which has been talked about for years.

A problem at the site now, according to Orazietti, is adequate parking for events.

The recent BC Rod and Gun Show drew roughly 8,500 people, he said, and parking was a bit problematic, and he thinks that should be considered in the planning process.

Whatever the decision, he said the property’s central location will lead to success.

"You’ve got easy access for Americans coming up from the border, Highway 10 is such a busy corridor, and we’re just down from Highway 1 and Fraser Highway.

"We’re centrally located, that’s why it’s kind of a shame we have people going into the City of Langley and Abbotsford to access facilities."

areid@thenownewspaper.com

Just Posted

Surrey district cop station closed by sewer backup

People seeking criminal records checks and other services can get help at any of the other stations

SURREY EVENTS GUIDE for Sept. 19 and beyond

Concerts, festivals, plays and more in our weekly calendar

Giant-Hawk name swap for Major Midget League hockey teams

League leaders last year, Valley West squad starts season on the road this weekend

ELECTION QUESTIONS: How do candidates form their opinions on transit in Surrey?

Who is on the right side of Surrey’s transit debate? That’s for voters to decide come Oct. 20.

Surrey wants BNSF to slow Crescent trains

Mayor Linda Hepner said ‘it’s the least we can do’

64 cats seized from ‘bad situation’ now in BC SPCA care

The surrender is part of an ongoing animal cruelty investigation with BC SPCA Special Constable

B.C. hockey product eyes shot at Olympic spot with China

Fletcher is one of 24 who travelled to Shenzhen, China for the first official Olympic dev camp.

Are you feeling lazy? That’s OK – it’s just science

UBC study shows that humans are hardwired to prefer being sloth-like

LETTER: Who do we blame for the tragedy of Marrisa Shen’s death?

The B.C. girl was killed in a Burnaby park last July

Competition tribunal to hear B.C.-based case on airline food starting in October

The competition commissioner argued Vancouver airport authority had exploited its market position

Trudeau says Canada wants to see ‘movement’ before signing revised NAFTA deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is back in Washington in search of a way to bridge divide

Seek compromise with U.S. on cannabis at border, lawyers urge Ottawa

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency sent tremors through Canada’s burgeoning cannabis sector

Young people need us to act on climate change, McKenna tells G7 ministers

Catherine McKenna led off the three-day Halifax gathering Wednesday

UPDATE: Man arrested in shooting on Abbotsford street near Aldergrove

Nobody injured in shooting, which is not believed to be related to gang conflicts

Most Read