No more tents along 135A Street. (Submitted photo)

OUR VIEW: Applause earned for Surrey strip cleanup, but too early to claim victory

City of Surrey must ensure a new tent city doesn’t re-emerge on 135A, or form elsewhere in the city

While it is indeed a glorious sight to see all those tents removed from Whalley’s notorious 135A Street strip, let’s not be uncorking the champagne quite yet.

There’s a brave new world down on that forlorn roadside, but it will be a challenge to prevent the bad old days of drug abuse, despair and hopelessness from creeping back in.

Bringing you up to speed, Surrey’s best-known worst social tragedy was subject to a seismic change last week when homeless people were moved into 160 modular housing units and shelters nearby. Before, scores of tents occupied by an estimated 173 people lined the sidewalk. While the mass exodus will hopefully be a life-changing event for those recognizing the profound opportunity presented to them through this City of Surrey and provincial government initiative, sadly some of the displaced homeless have set up camp in forests and ravines elsewhere in Whalley.

READ ALSO: Tents gone from Surrey’s 135A Street, but not all accepted housing: city

It’s difficult, of course, to help those who are not yet ready to grab on to the figurative lifesaver that’s being extended to them. Hopefully they will come to their senses.

In the meantime, it is incumbent on the City of Surrey to ensure a new tent city doesn’t re-emerge on 135A, or form elsewhere in the city.

Paul Chen, of Centreline Auto Repair, has been operating his business in the vicinity of 135A’s infamous tent city for four years. Many other merchants, sadly, have moved on.

“Everybody has their hopes up,” he told the Now-Leader, in the wake of the big relocation. “This is the first step; we’re just trying to make a living and hope for the best.

“Hopefully customers will finally not be afraid to come here.”

Good work has been done. But clearly, it must also continue to be done to prevent a slide back into the chaos that was 135A Street as recent as last week.

Now-Leader



edit@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Surrey-based group maps places to find affordable food

Surrey and White Rock Food Coalition targets food security

Youth and seniors learn from each other

Seniors Health Network launches intergenerational program in White Rock

Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society raises $8,000

Donations collected at Christmas event last week

Realtor blanket drive collects 360 bags of clothing

Annual event helps South Surrey and White Rock residents in need

VIDEO: Hundreds of volunteers collect, wrap toys in Surrey at Sikh elementary school

Guru Nanak Free Kitchen, Sikh Academy partner together on annual toy drive

MAP: Christmas light displays in Surrey, Langley and beyond

Send us pictures of your National Lampoon-style lit-up homes, nativity scenes or North Pole playlands

Canucks score 3 power-play goals in 4-2 win over Oilers

Vancouver sniper Boeser has 6 goals in last 5 games

VIDEO: Giants head into holidays with a win at home

Vancouver G-Men don’t play next until Dec. 28, after 2-1 victory over Prince George Sunday.

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

VIDEO: Giants fall to Royals 4-2 in Victoria Saturday night

Second loss in as many days for G-Men, who are back home in Langley today to take on the Cougars.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

Most Read