So let it be written…
Whalley’s notorious stretch of 135A Street should be evacuated and permanently sealed off like Chernobyl and other such deadly, god-forsaken places.
If you think that’s harsh, consider the mounting evidence. One could publish a special commemorative newspaper edition to the memory of those who have lost their lives along this grim strip of road.
Its latest victim is Troy Clysdale, 49, who died in hospital last week after being stabbed in the neck at 135A Street and 108th Avenue.
A mere couple of hours before the fatal stabbing, Clysdale had posted a meme on his Facebook page showing Superman bellying up to a bar and pouring himself a proper drink.
The caption framing the caped crusader eerily reads “I fight crime & injustice everywhere…except in Whalley, I won’t go to Whalley.”
Later that same afternoon, a friend of Clysdale’s commented beneath the meme, “How ironic…you post this and not 1 hour later some piece of s___ does what he did to you.”
The strip’s victims are many, beyond those who overdose on illegal drugs or find themselves afflicted with HIV, Hep C or tuberculosis.
These are the cases of street violence – the ones that made the papers, anyway.
In June 2003, a badly beaten Surrey prostitute, age 37, was found collapsed near the Circle K store near 135A Street and 108th Avenue.
In May 2009, a partly clad prostitute was found crouching at the side of the road at 104th Avenue and Scott Road, claiming she’d been beaten up and sexually assaulted by a guy who’d picked her up in a red pickup truck near 135A Street and 108th Avenue.
In June 2010, a 25-year-old Langley man was beaten and stabbed by four men near the corner of 135A Street and 108th Avenue.
In December 2010, shortly before midnight, two Mounties found Paul Luke Phelan, 43, dying in the middle of a slushy 135A Street near 107th Avenue. Police said the disabled Surrey man had likely been heading back to a friend’s place from a nearby liquor store when he was attacked. Phelan did not normally frequent 135A Street and was not involved in the drug scene, they said. The Surrey auto wrecker had been burned out of his house three months earlier. Several years prior, Phelan was badly injured in a traffic crash, leaving him with a rod in his leg and a limp that would have made it difficult for him to run away from danger.
In March 2012, a man was stabbed in his chest and gut at an apartment at 135A Street and 107th Avenue before staggering a block or so to the Front Room drop-in centre where he sought help.
On Feb. 18, 2013, Janice Shore, 45, died of head injuries she’d sustained in a vicious attack two months earlier. She’d been found bloodied, half-naked and unconscious in an alley near 135A Street and 104th Avenue.
In April 2013, a 49-year-old man was stabbed in the stomach near the Front Room on 135A Street, where he realized he was bleeding. A police dog lost the scent at 135A Street and 106th Avenue.
In August 2013, a 40-year-old man was killed in a hit-and-run at 135A Street and 106th Avenue in which witnesses alleged the driver had aimed for the victim and narrowly missed several other people.
Following the Surrey Six murders in 2007 – in which six men were shot dead in Whalley’s Balmoral Tower way over on East Whalley Ring Road, many, many blocks away from the 135A Street strip – where do you think police went fishing for tips? The Front Room and vicinity.
Some people on the strip complained the cops were pulling them over and “just harassing them” about the murders. Police were flabbergasted by the complaints. If the murders were drug-related, one officer reasoned, “We have to speak with people in that culture. Where would you like us to start?”
Another police officer told the Now that inquiries at the Front Room had helped investigators solve other homicide cases in the past.
In 2003, Surrey’s then-mayor Doug McCallum had a stretch of 135A Street blockaded with concrete barriers, for a few months anyway, in an effort to curb prostitution and drug dealing there. He considered it to be an “absolute complete disaster area.”
Today, in 2016, it’s hard to disagree with that.
Really, they should bus everyone out and then encase this tragic human failure of a place in concrete.
Dig a deep, deep moat around it, surround it with high-voltage razor wire fencing and post a few scarecrows along its perimetre.
Wish I could say I were kidding.
So let it be done.
Tom Zytaruk is a staff writer with the Now. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org