Surrey’s 135A Street is home to a growing tent city. (Photo: Amy Reid)

Looking ahead to 2018: Unfinished business in Surrey

What will happen with Hawthorne Park, Surrey’s tent city and illegal suites in 2018?

The end of 2017 leaves several big issues lingering in Surrey.

For one, what will happen with the 105 Avenue Connector Project, which includes a heavily opposed road through Hawthorne Park?

With opponents vowing to physically block construction, and work set to begin in early January, things could get very heated very quickly in the New Year.

Will Surrey build the road as planned or will the Save Hawthorne Rotary Park group prove victorious in its battle to stop the road?

Time will tell.

See more: Emotions high after Surrey approves controversial road through Hawthorne Park

See also: Big battles waged in Surrey in 2017

homelessphoto

(Steven Pettigrew leads the Save Hawthorne Park group, fighting to stop the road. Photo: Amy Reid)

Then there’s the decades-old issue of illegal suites.

A report is expected in 2018 that considers the legalization of illegal Surrey suites.

This, after controversy surround Surrey city council’s decision to crack down on illegal suites in the East Clayton area in September following parking complaints in the area.

Ultimately, the city backed down and now awaits staff recommendations.

Will illegal suites be legalized in 2018?

It’s possible. But what will that look like, and how much will owners face in fees, if so?

See more: Surrey to halt Clayton evictions, legalize illegal suites city-wide

See also: By the numbers: 2017 Surrey shootings, crashes and more

homelessphoto

(The East Clayton neighbourhood has struggled with parking woes for years. File photo)

And as much as things change in Surrey, the more they stay the same. As much can be said about the growing tent city along 135A Street.

It’s estimated to have doubled in size in roughly a year.

Despite the creation of a Surrey Outreach Team that mans “the Strip” 24 hours a day, and despite city council creating more shelter spaces this year, the issue persists.

The province has committed to building 150 modular homes in the area. While Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner says she welcomes them, she says the homes will fill just the more “urgent” needs.

Will these homes make a dent in the growing homeless population in the area?

See also: Global tragedies hit home in Surrey in 2017

See also: Boa constrictors, peacocks and other Surrey critters of 2017

See also: Top 10 B.C. videos of 2017

Then, there’s Councillor Tom Gill, who has said a “tough love” approach will soon hit the Strip.

Gill said the city has taken a “humanitarian” approach there for the past year, given the fentanyl crisis, but added that may change once more shelter is available.

“There comes a time that being a little more forceful in terms of having mandatory engagement and expectations from the street folks. That is what would be expected… I’d use the words, ‘tough love,’” he said in late August.

He said there’s a “very real expectation” from the business community to address the issues on 135A Street.

“There comes a time when you need to make tough decisions,” he said. “There is going to come a point in time, if someone is not going to want to comply with the offer for help, we will need to up the game.”

It appears next year is shaping up to be a year of change for the infamous Strip.

And, will 2018 see the end of court proceeding in the Surrey Six massacre?

homelessphoto

(Photo: Jamie Bacon)

Six men, including two innocent bystanders, were shot dead at the Balmoral Tower on Oct. 19, 2007.

Cody Haevischer and Matthew Johnston were convicted in 2014 of six counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy, but Red Scorpions gang leader Jamie Bacon is still going through the courts.

There was a huge outcry from the community after a BC Supreme Court decision was released on Dec. 1 that said a judge had granted Bacon’s application for a stay of proceedings in his trial on charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

But in the days that followed, B.C.’s prosecution revealed it is appealing after the stay of charges, saying it had reviewed the abbreviated ruling, saying it reveals “errors of law” and that “the public interest requires an appeal.”

See also: SLIDESHOW: Surrey’s most read stories from 2017

See also: Surrey Year in Review: 2017 in photos



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Amy on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

Surrey school district proposing 13 new schools in the next decade

Staff suggest new designs for future builds to maximize school space

Two Surrey schools report COVID-19 exposures, including second contact for Panorama Ridge

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Most Read