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."

Just Posted

Surrey’s new Age-Well hub receives $3.5M in government funding

Hub is meant to drive development of healthy tech solutions to support healthy aging: SFU

Surrey public event to explore transition from RCMP to city police force

Surrey Board of Trade continuing its ‘Hot Topic Dialogue Series’ with this issue, on Tuesday Jan. 29

Dancer gives props to Surrey school program for allowing him to leap to world stage

North Surrey grad Bynh Ho in ‘Loop, Lull’ show at Vancouver’s PuSh festival

KidSport’s Nite of Champions to honour championship Coastal FC squad

Annual South Surrey event will feature Vancouver Canucks coach Travis Green as keynote speaker

Surrey RCMP investigating alleged ‘stranger assault’ in Tynehead area

Police say a 14-year-old girl was walking home from school at the time of the incident

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Manure company causing ‘toxic’ stink at Abbotsford school seeks permit

Property across from King Traditional Elementary cannot operate manure facility without permit

North Delta happening: week of Jan. 17

Events, courses and clubs listings for North Delta

Most Read