Editor’s note: A previous version of this story stated that the Cloverdale Mini Rec Centre was built in the 1940s. In fact, it was built in 1956.
Cloverdale residents now have access to more information on the supportive housing project proposed for downtown Cloverdale.
Three limited-access “community dialogues” were held in mid-September at Pacific Community Church to inform residents about the supportive housing project proposed for Cloverdale. BC Housing has now made the presentation documents public on its website.
According to the presentation, the Cloverdale site is the first of five supportive housing projects proposed for Surrey. Several sites are being evaluated “across the city,” and each site will have between 40 and 60 units available.
To be considered, sites need to be on city-owned land, near community services and transit, and need to have compatible land use policies.
The project proposed for the corner of 58 Avenue and 176A Street would have 60 studio homes for people who are currently homeless or are at risk of homelessness. Each 310-square foot studio home would contain a private bathroom and kitchenette.
Cloverdale residents would have priority placement at the facility. All tenants would pay rent, and sign a program agreement.
| The services that supportive housing provides tenants.
BC Housing defines supportive housing as housing that “provides vulnerable people access to safe, secure housing with supports,” including around the clock, on-site services and access to meals, treatment, life skills programming and employment resources. Supportive housing is intended to help people transition towards independent housing.
“It is NOT a shelter OR a safe injection site OR a halfway house,” reads one slide of the presentation.
The facility would provide a “safe consumption space for residents only to ensure safety.” BC Housing noted that building staff would take a health-services approach to support residents struggling with substance use.
Fraser Health, BC Housing and the City of Surrey are collaborating on the project. The city will secure land, BC Housing will own the building and lead tenanting, Fraser Health will provide health and social services, and a non-profit operator would provide support to tenants and manage the building.
The project has been opposed by many vocal community members and business owners.
The proposed site is within Cloverdale’s downtown business core, and has two familiar landmarks on it. Built in 1956, the Cloverdale Mini Rec Centre was once Cloverdale’s library. Today it provides child care services. The historic O’Brien House, built in 1936, is also on the site. The O’Brien family is considered one of Cloverdale’s early families by the Surrey Historical Society. Known fondly as the “Royal O’Briens,” they arrived to the town centre in the late 1920s and set up an automotive garage known as “O’Brien’s Super Service.” Both buildings would be demolished as part of the proposal.
In a Sept. 14 letter to the City of Surrey development team, Cloverdale Business Improvement Association president Dean Moore said, “After attending many meetings and getting feedback from the community at large, the vast majority of business people and residents feel that the proposed location is inappropriate and that another location should be considered.”
Moore wrote that the reaction from the community was “unprecedented” and residents are “fearful of losing their quality of life, property value loss, and a decrease in public safety.”
“The Cloverdale Town Centre has undergone a wonderful rebirth that is still fragile and could be harmed by this proposed development,” he said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 2,700 people had signed a petition indicating opposition to the housing project in its current location.
To provide input on the project, email email@example.com. A community open house has been scheduled for Sept. 20, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Pacific Community Church (5337 180 Street).