NEWTON — City council has given its nod to a housing application at the old Surrey Public Market property, despite environmental concerns.
A developer plans to build 36 apartments and 40 townhomes at the site, 6388 King George Blvd., and council gave the application third reading Monday (Oct. 24), with only Councillor Dave Woods opposed.
The proposed development is for the southern portion of the site, which has sat dormant for years. The public market building, constructed in the 1990s, is proposed to be demolished, with the existing parking structure to be retained.
If approved, housing would be built atop the parkade.
Deb Jack, president of Surrey Environmental Partners, raised several concerns during Monday’s public hearing at city hall.
“I know everyone is delighted there is partly a development in that area,” she told city councillors, “but rodent control was a concern.”
Jack worries once construction begins, rodents will scurry into the neighbourhood.
Jack also hopes to have a registered biologist or other professional on site “at all times” to ensure no refuse is thrown into the property’s protected area. The application includes an amendment to the NCP that will adjust the boundaries of the creeks and riparian setback designation.
“It’s going down 100 feet to 16 feet and it’s very easy to chuck something 16 feet,” said Jack. “There’s just far too may sites where there’s a lot of garbage left around and we have concerns about what might wind up in the river as a result of the construction.”
Grant Rice is opposed to the requested variance for setbacks for the creeks on site.
“(The creeks) empty into Hyland Creek, which is part of the headwaters for the Serpentine River,” he noted. “I don’t know if you folks have driven past the Serpentine River in the summer lately, but it’s almost dried up.”
He said approving this variance could “set a very dangerous precedent.”
Jean Lamontagne, Surrey’s manager of planning and development, told the Now the NCP amendments to adjust the boundaries of the creeks and riparian setback designation is “to reflect what was approved as part of the 2011 Environmental Review Committee (ERC) approval.”
He added: “It should be noted that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada was represented on this committee and involved in this approval.”
The project’s architect, Wilson Chang, noted that reusing the existing parkade will result in less demolition and thus, less impact on the creeks. Chang ensured rodent control will take place before construction starts.
The proposal also includes both OCP and NCP amendments for multi-family residential use and excludes the provision of any commercial uses.
Meanwhile, it is anticipated that the northern parcel, 6396 King George Blvd., will become a mixed-use site with stores.