A new private school is being eyed for South Surrey as part of a development proposal that includes nearly 400 townhouse units.
The project is eyed for six parcels of land (30 acres) bordered by 168 Street, Highway 99 and 12 Avenue – land that, in 2009, was proposed for a $100-million entertainment complex that included a casino. That initial proposal was eventually rejected in a split vote by council in 2013, following strong community opposition.
The latest application – for which a public hearing is set for 7 p.m. Monday (Oct. 23) at Surrey City Hall – includes a private school on the most southern portion of the site, following a June 27, 2016 council meeting at which the proposal was referred back to staff to, among other things, “work with the applicant to address a more contiguous development.”
According to an Oct. 2 planning report, the three-storey private school, while not contiguous, “is intended to bring employment to this area.”
The applicant expects the school – which already has a location in Vancouver – would create at least 123 jobs. It would specialize “in serving students with dyslexia and language-based learning differences,” according to the report. Once complete, that complex would include an auditorium, a multipurpose playing field and just over 100 parking stalls.
Revenue from the sale of the townhomes would be used to finance building the school.
Those residences – 391 units in 85 buildings – are projected to add 120 students (80 elementary and 40 secondary) to the neighbourhood. The report also notes the area’s two in-catchment public schools, Hall’s Prairie Elementary and Earl Marriott Secondary, already exceed capacity.
The applicant has held a public-information meeting and two open houses to glean community feedback.
According to the report, community benefits proposed by the applicant include a $977,500 contribution towards park development in South Surrey; and conveyance of a one-acre park site to the city. Value of the latter is estimated at $3 million.
The site, the report notes, is located immediately south of the Fergus Watershed Biodiversity Preserve, a 67-acre rural area that was earmarked in 2015 as an area where sensitive ecosystems and critical wildlife habitat will be both protected and enhanced. Council approved a management plan for the preserve in March of that year.
A 2.9-acre riparian area earmarked for conveyance to the city as part of the development application is to be added to the preserve, the report states.
Staff have recommended a bylaw to amend the OCP to redesignate the properties earmarked for the townhouses to multiple residential from mixed employment; as well, rezoning for the proposed school site, to comprehensive development from one-acre residential.
If approved, the first phase of townhouses are expected ready for occupancy by 2019. The applicant has committed “to delivering the school prior to completion of the third phase of townhouses.