SURREY — Work to demolish the long-dormant Surrey Public Market building began this week.
Video posted to Facebook by longtime Newton resident Jude Hannah showed the structure being ripped apart by an excavator.
“It’s happening. After nearly 2 decades abandoned, the Surrey Public Market is coming down,” Hannah posted on Monday.
The building is located in Newton at King George Boulevard and 64th Avenue.
The site has sat dormant for years, and once housed Surrey Public Market, constructed in the 1990s.
The site has seen numerous development applications over the years, but none had followed through – until now.
“Just spoke with two women who live next door,” Hannah wrote today in a Facebook post under her video of the demo work. “They are really concerned about rodents. The developer assured council last year that an exterminator would be called in before demolition. Let’s hope that’s the case.”
Last spring, Hannah said she’ll celebrate when she can see the property actually being developed.
“I’ll be there with Champagne when the bulldozers arrive,” Hannah, of ReNewton Nation, a group looking to revive the community, said at the time.
In October, 2016 council gave its nod to the application, which is on the southern portion of the property.
A developer plans to build 36 apartments and 40 townhomes at the site, at 6388 King George Blvd.
The public market building is proposed to be demolished, with the existing parking structure to be retained.
Housing is planned atop the parkade.
At the public hearing in 2016, Deb Jack, president of Surrey Environmental Partners, raised several concerns.
“I know everyone is delighted there is partly a development in that area,” she told city councillors, “but rodent control was a concern.”
Jack worried once construction begins, rodents would 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 (from) 100 feet to 16 feet and it’s very easy to chuck something 16 feet,” Jack said to Surrey City Council.
“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 construction,” she added.
At the time, Jean Lamontagne, Surrey’s manager of planning and development, told the Now-Leader 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 would take place before construction started.
Meantime, another development is in the works, for the northern part of the property. A preliminary notice explaining details of the proposed development, at 6396 King George Blvd., was sent to area residents on May 31.
The owner, Yorkton Place Development Corporation, applied to Surrey City Hall for rezoning and a development permit in October, 2016.
Proposed is a mixed-use commercial and residential project, containing three one-storey buildings and one six-storey building. It would include more than 24,000 square feet of commercial space, 83 apartments, and the buildings’ heights would be capped at 72 feet, according to the notice.
That proposal will go to public hearing at Surrey City Hall on Oct. 2.
If both projects are completed, it would mean 119 apartments and 40 townhouses at the busy corner.
The original Surrey Public Market was opened in the mid-1980s and a new public market building – the one that sat vacant on the site for years – was opened in the mid-’90s. It’s been vacant since late that decade.
While the property has changed hands over the years, and there’s been talk of redeveloping the property, no plans were followed through. The rundown property has garnered much attention, with the community repeatedly calling for redevelopment.
In 2012, new owners said there would be action at the site that year, but nothing materialized.
Later that year, a bridge on the property was torn down but the building remained untouched.
In November of 2013, new owners Newmark Properties said the building would be torn down in 30 days.
Then, Wilson Chang Architect Inc.’s plan was revealed in 2015.