Another plan for old Surrey Public Market site in the works

NEWTON — The city has received a development application for a portion of the old Surrey Public Market site, which has been vacant for more than a decade.

The rundown property at the corner of 64th Avenue and King George Boulevard has garnered much attention, with the community repeatedly calling for redevelopment.

The property has changed hands over the years, and though development applications have been submitted to the city, things have stood still.

The latest application, submitted by Wilson Chang Architect Inc., is to develop a portion of the site south of a creek on the property. A four-storey apartment building and six townhouse units are proposed that would be built on top of the existing parkade.

Jude Hannah, a community advocate behind the group ReNewton Nation, has been calling for redevelopment of the “eyesore” for years.

She said she’s “cautiously optimistic” that the site may finally be redeveloped.

“We’ve been down this road before and hopefully this time it’ll work out.”

She has called on the city to purchase the property, but said she’ll take any redevelopment as positive.

“I personally would like to see mixed-use, some retail at the bottom,” she said, but added, “We just need that place gone, one way or another.”

Jean Lamontagne, Surrey’s general manager of planning and development, couldn’t say when the application would go before Surrey council for consideration, as it is currently going through the referral process and design review.

“At our end, we want to expedite the review and referral process as we support re-development of the site. We want to have this before council ahead of the summer break,” said Lamontagne.

The original Surrey Public Market was opened in the mid-’80s and a new public market building – the one that sits vacant on the site today – was opened in the mid-’90s.

After the market died a slow death as tenants left one by one, the property became overgrown with vegetation and the building has served as a sort of hobo jungle as homeless people seek shelter there. The place has also attracted plenty of attention from the city’s graffiti artists.

—With files from Tom Zytaruk