After spending roughly $2.9 million on a project to extend 177b Street onto the Cloverdale Fairgrounds — and then halting work midway through when a new city council took the helm — the City of Surrey has now re-paved 62nd Avenue.
Work on the 177b Street extension project began last year. It was meant to connect 62nd and 64th Avenues, and improve access to the future Cloverdale Sport + Ice Complex.
Mayor Doug McCallum officially halted the roadwork when he took office in November 2018, but by then the area for the new 177b Street had already been cleared and excavated, and subgrade gravel materials had been brought to the site. Storm, sanitary and watermain utility works were “significantly advanced” by then as well, and had required part of 62nd Avenue to be torn up for installation.
About a month after stopping the work, Surrey city council approved a controversial budget that postponed construction of several planned civic amenities, including the Cloverdale Sport + Ice Complex.
The section of 62nd Avenue that was torn up has been re-paved, and the section of 177b Street will remain gravel for now.
Oliver Lum, communications manager with the City of Surrey, said all work on the extension of 177b Street has been stopped and should there be any updates on its future, they will be included in the city’s annual five-year financial plan in June.
“In terms of this project, there is nothing new in a sense of information or status on what’s going to happen next,” Lum told the Reporter.
“The number that’s out there in terms of the work that was done, the site prep and the work, it’s at roughly $2.9 million.”
The Reporter reached out to the City of Surrey’s Facilities Department for more details on the design and engineering costs but has yet to hear back.
Cloverdale Rodeo & Exhibition Association General Manager Mike MacSorley welcomed the re-paving of 62nd Avenue and said he does not expect the gravel 177b Street portion to impact this year’s rodeo season.
“They took the road out and put some services in, so if they want to build an ice rink in the future there, the services are now there,” MacSorley said, referring to new utility works that were installed along 62nd Avenue. “Once they stopped the road, they’ve been working with us to make sure that the rodeo looks good and everything goes back in place.”
MacSorley said he’d love to see an ice rink in Cloverdale, but argued that the site agreed upon by the previous city council, just north of the Cloverdale Agriplex, is not stable because of a riverbed beneath the site.
“I would love to see an ice rink [in] Cloverdale at the right price and if it happened to be on the fairgrounds – if they found a place that wouldn’t be overly expensive to build it – that would be great,” MacSorley added.
“Both councils really knew that it was tough, but they thought they would be able to get around it and eventually it just came to a point where it was really hard to build in that specific area,” he said.
MacSorley agreed with McCallum’s call to stop the 177b Street extension in late October, saying it would have cut parking spaces for the rodeo by half and reduced space for food trucks by a third. He also expressed concerns about how the city would have regulated traffic in the area, especially as it related to horse trailers going over any speed bumps.
But for now, he said he’s happy everything is being put back the way it was.
— with files from Amy Reid