The current Anglican Parish of the Church of Epiphany, at 10553 148 St. in Surrey. The Surrey Food Bank and the church had partnered together for a joint development, but the two have since split “amicably” after Surrey council voted to refer the development proposal back to staff on July 8. (Photo: Google Maps)

New location for Surrey Food Bank hits a snag

‘Three years of our lives over in three seconds,’ executive director says of council’s decision

It’s back to the drawing board for the Surrey Food Bank after its proposal for a new location in Guildford was referred back to staff.

During council’s land use meeting on Monday (July 8), council unanimously approved staff’s recommendation to refer the development proposal back to staff to find an alternative site for the Surrey Food Bank.

The Anglican Parish of the Church of Epiphany and the Surrey Food Bank were proposing the development of a new roughly 20,000-sq.-ft. food bank and a new church, located at 10553 148 St.

There was no discussion from council about the decision.

“It was literally three years of our lives over in three seconds,” said Feezah Jaffer, executive director of the Surrey Food Bank.

READ MORE: Surrey Food Bank may move to Guildford, June 28, 2017

The staff rationale for the recommendation, according to the planning and development report, was that “although the proposed food bank offers tremendous benefit” to the city, the location doesn’t fit with the city’s land use planning and policy framework.

The report says the site is currently designated as “Urban” in the Official Community Plan, but the “proposed commercial use and warehouse form” of the development “raises interface concerns with existing single family dwellings to the north and west and existing multiple residential developments to the south, across 105A Avenue.”

Jaffer said she was aware of the staff recommendation before attending the July 8 meeting, but she said there was hope that someone from the food bank would be able to “petition” council again that this was an ideal location.

She said the Guildford site would have been “a good fit” since it’s close to where clients live, adding there is support from the greater community.

Jaffer said she hoped council would at least let the proposal go to first or second reading. She said she went into the meeting with “hope and the best of intentions.”

Since Monday’s decision from council, Jaffer said the food bank has split “amicably” with the church.

“The church has been very supportive. They’ve been wonderful partners. It’s been kind of an uphill battle, I think, with the city because there’s been opposition from day one,” she said.

Jaffer said the proposal had “good feedback” from the neighbourhood, but there was opposition from direct neighbours, “like across the street and within a very limited radius.”

“The majority of the neighbourhood was supportive because a lot of our clients live there and they know the church.”

Looking forward, though, Jaffer said there is “light at the end of the tunnel.”

“We do have a back-up building that we’re still in negotiations for,” said Jaffer, adding that it’s in Newton, along the King George Boulevard corridor.

The food bank, she said, was approached by a private entity for the back-up plan.

“Hopefully this back up will go through and we will go from there and we will have the opportunity to share that with our community, where we’re going, what the plans our, how we can make this work, how we can expand our programming, all that stuff,” Jaffer said.

With the needs of its clientele, she said, the food bank needs at least 18 to 20,000-sq.-ft. of space for programming and distribution.

Asked if possibly moving into a Newton location would be as long of a process as the proposal for Guildford, Jaffer said, “No, it will be very fast.

“It was a very long process, very frustrating at times, but I think the lessons that we’ve learned were very positive… I think going forward we have that community spirit. So wherever we go, I think, people will support us and we will in turn support our community.”

The food bank currently operates out of a 8,300-sq.-ft. warehouse in Whalley with a fleet of five vehicles, a lift truck, 400 active volunteers and a core staff of 15 people. It currently distributes about 2,000 food hampers each week.



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

Just Posted

‘One Night Out’: Sleeping outside in Surrey for youth homelessness

In 2018, 200 people spent the night sleeping in a parking lot for restaurant franchise’s fundraising effort

PHOTOS: White Rock marks Remembrance Day

Hundreds of people gathered Monday morning to give thanks to veterans

VIDEO: One injured in north Surrey shooting Sunday

Male victim taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries

Surrey veteran talks about the emotional side of war

Reginald Wise served in the Royal Marines in WWII

VIDEO: Quidditch Canada’s Western Regional Championship flies into Surrey

Harry Potter-inspired event is at Hjorth Road Park

VIDEO: Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fire

It was the second protester shot since the demonstrations began in early June

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Coquihalla drivers urged to be careful amid freezing rain alert

Special weather statement in effect for highways between Hope, Merritt, Kamloops and Kelowna

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is scheduled to swear in a new cabinet

14 SeaBus cancellations, free rides for veterans from TransLink on Remembrance Day

Free rides also available for current Armed Forces members, first responders

Last remaining Centurion tank from the Korean War makes its journey ‘home’ to B.C.

Tank arrives in B.C. the day before Remembrance Day after a more than 4,500-kilometre transfer

‘Your vehicle burns a lot of fuel:’ Victoria drivers wake up to angry notes

‘This handbill was left on your vehicle because your vehicle burns a lot of fuel,’ notes read

Most Read