Two weeks after the old Surrey Public Market building was ripped down by an excavator, another development application has been given the green light on the dormant property.
On Monday (Oct. 2), city council gave third reading to a development on a 2.16-acre parcel on the north side of the busy corner, at 6396 King George Blvd.
Proposed is a mixed-use commercial and residential project, containing three one-storey buildings and one six-storey building. The project has 25,000 square feet of commercial space, including a bank and a drive-through restaurant, as well as 82 apartments.
Green roofs are proposed on the shorter, commercial buildings.
According to the application, the apartment building will have nine bachelor, one-bedroom units, 10 one-bedroom plus den units, 59 two-bedroom units and four three-bedroom units, ranging in size from 475 square feet to just over 1,000.
The owner, Yorkton Place Development Corporation, applied to Surrey City Hall for rezoning.
While the project falls within the city’s Official Community Plan, the applicant requires a Neighbourhood Concept Plan amendment.
Also sought is a Development Variance Permit to reduce the minimum setback distance from the top of the bank from a Class A stream from 100 feet to 16, at the narrowest point.
Before council gave its initial nod to the project Monday night, some residents voiced concern.
Deb Jack, president of Surrey Environmental Partners, expressed concern about the lack of trees.
“In some places where they couldn’t put trees, because of the slab, they were going to replace it with tall shrubs,” she told city council. “In my experience, shrubs usually get cut way, way back down. In some instances trees that ought to six, eight feel tall wind up being two feet tall.”
In response later, the developer noted it was decided the shrubs would have the “best chance of survival” in the tubs there.
Jack also asked if the developer could do replanting in some areas, and remove asphalt, as “compensation for the fact their setback has been reduced by 82 feet.”
She described the setback reduction as “an extreme one” but added she understood the developer has compensated with lands on the eastern side of the property.
This is the second project at the 64th Avenue and King George Boulevard property. If both are completed, it would mean 118 apartments and 40 townhouses at the busy corner.
In 2014, the old Public Market site was subdivided into three parcels: One is the application recently before council, another is a riparian parcel which is now owned by the city, and the third is another proposed development piece, 6388 King George Blvd.
Proposed at 6388 King George Blvd. are 36 apartments and 40 townhomes.
Last October, council gave its nod to that application, on the southern portion of the property, which is where the old market sat prior to being demolished in September.
The existing parking structure is to be retained and housing is planned atop it.
At the public hearing in 2016, Jack raised similar concerns to the ones she did on Oct. 2.
“It’s going down (from) 100 feet to 16 feet and it’s very easy to chuck something 16 feet,” Jack said to city council in 2016. “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.
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.