EDITOR’S NOTE: From Panorama Ridge to Tynehead to East Clayton, Surrey has become home to practically dozens of cities within cities.
With more than half a million people living in Surrey, each of these communities has created its own identity.
With our new series we call "Neighbourhoods," we are coming to your area simply because we want to tell its story.
Recognizing that every one is unique, both in their character and in the challenges they face, our series will look at each area’s struggles and triumphs.
This ongoing feature will showcase Surrey’s dozens of neighbourhoods through stories, photos and video.
To share your neighbourhood’s story, email us at email@example.com with the subject line "Neighbourhoods."
PANORAMA NORTHWOODS â€” Tucked between Sullivan Heights Secondary and Panorama Ridge Secondary on the north side of 64th Avenue is a small community locals refer to as Panorama Northwoods.
Though the City of Surrey’s unofficial map of neighbourhoods calls the area "Reedville," residents there don’t associate that name with their "little oasis in the heart of the city," said Jude Hannah.
The neighbourhood doesn’t quite fit into the adjacent neighbourhoods: Newton Town Centre to the north, Panorama Ridge to the west and Sullivan to the east.
Hannah loves the area, which she’s called home for 28 years.
She boasted about the diversity of the area. "It’s like a little United Nations here: Filipino, South Asian, Middle Eastern, European," she said of her neighbours, adding that many of the family’s children play together.
"True diversity and it works," Hannah said. "That is the best of Surrey."
She is also grateful for the natural amenities the area is home to, such as Hyland Creek Park, just steps from her home.
The large natural area stretches throughout Newton from King George Boulevard to 144th Street. Several fish-bearing streams, including Hyland Creek, run through the park and drain east into the Serpentine River.
"It’s idyllic," Hannah said as she strolled through the park, recalling walking her son through the park every day to get to school years ago. "I cherished that."
When Hannah thinks back to what the area was like when she arrived nearly three decades ago, she said much has changed.
"There was a ranch across the street and it was like moving to the country. It was incredibly peaceful, there were even wild pheasants," she said, noting wildlife is seen less and less in the area as more development occurs.
Hannah said the change was gradual, but in the past three to five years, development "exploded" in the area.
"All the sudden there would be townhouse development proposal signs. Those green signs were everywhere…. It just seems to be so much development without a lot of forethought and thinking about the longterm sustainability – cramming a lot of really big houses onto small lots, all this infilling."
As she walked through Hyland Park, behind her home, she pointed to a development underway that could be seen from within the park.
"It was a beautiful old, old house," she said of the residence that was on the property. "It was sort of a ’50s, Frank Lloyd Wright house."
The development, at about 140th Street and 65th Avenue, is for 16 homes. The neighbourhood spoke out against it roughly two years ago, she noted.
And to the other side of her home, at roughly 138th Street and 64A Avenue, is an area that used to be completely forested.
Now, the forested area is largely gone, replaced by single-family homes on small lots. Hannah guessed most of them have suites.
There’s often garbage dumped along the side of the road there, cars often hang out on the dark corner and some properties, though quite new, are already run down, she said.
And across 64th, toward the old Surrey city hall, much of the landscape is a sea of construction.
It saddens her to see trees falling all over the area.
"I think what people are objecting to is that it’s happening so fast and there’s just so much of it. The houses are so big, they’re so expensive, so it really excludes a lot of people that have lived here for a long time."
Hannah said the street she lives on has no suites. "It makes our area quite special and unique," she added.
But suites from those nearby developments have started to impact her area.
She’s noticed an increase of drug activity and other mischief. And she said recovery homes have brought problems as well.
And while Hannah has concerns about how she sees her neighbourhood changing, she certainly focuses on the positive.
Hannah began the ReNewton Nation group, focused on revitalizing all of South Newton, the King George Boulevard corridor and Downtown Newton.
One of her large focuses has been on the revitalization of the corner at 64th Avenue and King George Boulevard – where the old Surrey Public Market was.
It’s been vacant since the late ’90s, and while the property has changed hands over the years, and there’s been talk of redeveloping the property, nothing has materialized.
"It was a really bustling, funky market," Hannah reminisced, adding that the venue was actually a draw for her to move to the area all those years ago.
She sees the revitalization of the corner at 64th Avenue and King George Boulevard as the first step to revitalizing the broader area, adding that the corner, as it is, is an eyesore.
Another area resident, April Linke said she’s also seen the area change a lot in the 20 years she’s lived there.
Like her neighbour, she’s seen "undesirable activities" increase.
And while they share concerns about changes in the area, they also share the belief that the area is special.
"We have a wonderful neighbourhood when it comes to the people who live here. We’re all friendly and connected and long-term," Linke said. "It’s the kind of neighbourhood where you can go for a walk and wave at your neighbour. We need to do as much as we can to promote the positive attitude that Surrey deserves."
Find Hannah on Twitter at @ReNewtonNation.