It’s time to revamp the Cloverdale Town Centre Plan, says the executive director of the BIA.
Paul Orazietti wants the City of Surrey to make some amendments to the three-year-old plan to allow for more people to live in the downtown core. He also wants the plan’s catchment zone extended.
“We want to have more density,” explained Orazietti. “The vacancy rate here is below one per cent. It’s insane. We want to add more mixed use—commercial with residential. What that does is add a floor of office or retail at grade. In doing all of that, we basically expand the footprint of the town centre.”
The town centre plan is the blueprint for Cloverdale’s path forward. It sets out how land will be used in both private and public development.
Orazietti said a lot of infrastructure will have to be upgraded, but this can be accommodated through development as needed.
The whole undertaking can be a catch-22, he noted. People want to move to an area where there are amenities and infrastructure, but Cloverdale won’t get the amenities and infrastructure without more people.
He thinks the key to overcoming this is to get the town centre plan updated with an emphasis on rezoning these commercial-residential, mixed-use buildings. This could attract developers that want to add these types of buildings.
“You have to accommodate growth, but it has to be done responsibly,” he added. “We have to take a new look at it because we’ve changed from the old days. A lot of people now want sustainable growth and sustainable living.”
Orazietti also wants the footprint of what the city designates as the town centre expanded. He thinks the current boundaries need to include the Fairgrounds and possibly the area north of 64th.
The Cloverdale Town Centre Plan, published in 2019, defines the plan area (see image) as running from 60th Avenue in the north, down to the industrial and commercial areas south of Highway 10, and between 172nd Street and 180th Street, including the Kwantlen Polytechnic University area (which would eventually include the new hospital).
“This is putting pressure on us, but in a positive way. It can be stressful moving at a quick pace, but if we plan for it, then it can be done.”
He said that’s really why he wants to sit down with the city to get something rolling now, so all the necessary planning can be arranged. He said it makes sense for the community to get out in front of something that many developers are asking for and building in other communities.
He said this type of change also needs to be considered because it fits in with the revitalization of the Fairgrounds as an indispensable part of the future of Cloverdale, both in terms of usage for the people who live here now and as a draw for future residents.
“The Cloverdale Fairgrounds presents us with a unique opportunity to create a dynamic space that people can use for recreation,” he added. “It’s a beautiful area and it needs to be used more. If done properly, it could become the jewel of Cloverdale.”
He said any upgrade to the Fairgrounds would have to incorporate an evolution of thought as there are a few different components that can drive the future usage of the Fairgrounds—one being the addition of a cover to the Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre so the facility can be used more often, another being a redevelopment of the Stetson Bowl as the current structure sits empty for the majority of the year, and another is more park space.
“We need to figure out how to get more use out of the Stetson Bowl and the Fairgrounds in general,” he said. “It needs to have more green space and more walking areas. It shouldn’t be fenced off. That means more pathways and more public space. We need to encourage people to walk through the area.”
He said the Fairgrounds future plans have to “marry up” with the town centre plan to ensure Cloverdale has a cohesive development plan going forward.
“We’re the historic part of the City of Surrey,” he added. “We have a large heritage component in Cloverdale and the more assets we can put on the Fairgrounds, the more attractive the space becomes to residents and tourists.”
Amending the town plan will need to focus on tourism too, he explained.
“We want to make Cloverdale a tourist destination. There aren’t many places in Surrey that would be considered as tourist destinations.”
Orazietti said that kind of messaging should be incorporated into the philosophy of the town plan.
“(Tourism) needs to be a component in the overall plan. That’s why it needs to be modified. The plan should have some guiding documents that say exactly what we want to see in the future development of Cloverdale.”