Park(ing) Day in Surrey aims for community dialogue

NEWTON — A small group of Surrey residents gathered in Newton on Friday afternoon to take over a parking stall in-front of Espresso Café for a couple hours.

David Dalley, a community activist best known for his Friends of the Grove group, took on the Park(ing) Day initiative “to call attention the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat.”

With a Persian rug, some live, potted trees, a couple musical instruments, a tent and more, Dalley and crew took over the spot as a mobile living room, using the space to create discussion between community members and, well, just have a place to hang out.

“There was just a small group of us, and some people stopped by to say hi,” Dalley said of the event. “I think the more we weave those webs of connectedness, the business community and the neighbours and community groups. I think that’s all good stuff.”

Dalley said that the group was respectful of the space, and though the event may have been in contravention to city bylaws of public space usage, there was no harm done. In next year’s event, the group hopes to gain more people in a different neighbourhood.

“We all live here and we all want to keep a stake in it, that’s the main thing moving forward,” Dalley said. “We want to work on building trust in a playful and creative way.”

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