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Surrey council approves Semiahmoo Town Centre plan

New plan sets height limits of 28-storeys near 152 Street and 16 Avenue
Semiahmoo Trail Greenway and pedestrian shopping area within the future Semiahmoo Mall redevelopment. (City of Surrey conceptual rendering)

Surrey council has endorsed a plan that sets building height limits of up to 28-storeys in the Semiahmoo Shopping Centre area.

Council gave the nod to the Semiahmoo Town Centre plan at Monday evening’s regular council meeting. The plan allows for a mix of 20- to 28-storey buildings on the Semiahmoo Shopping Centre and Save-On-Foods properties, which is considered to be the heart of the plan. The plan allows for a corridor of six-storey buildings along 152 Street from 18 Avenue to 23 Avenue. Height limits become gradually lower east and west of the 152 Street corridor.

During council discussion, Coun. Brenda Locke noted that she hasn’t heard a lot of positive feedback from the neighbourhood – “not that I would expect that we would get a ton.”

“There has been some real concerns raised to me,” Locke said.

“Primarily about the traffic and the amenities in the area. They don’t believe it supports this kind of increase.”

LETTERS: Concerns over Semiahmoo Town Centre development proposal

Locke, along with Couns. Linda Annis and Jack Hundial voted against the plan.

Coun. Allison Patton, whose naturopathic business – Ardour Wellness – is situated within the plan, recused herself from the vote.

Mayor Doug McCallum shared his approval of the plan, but raised one concern regarding the location of a bus exchange outlined in the plan.

“I think it’s the wrong location for down there and I pretty well drive that on my way into the city every day,” McCallum said. “I think right now with the buses, it needs to be looked at and probably relocated in the future. Having said that, I think the plan is an excellent plan. It’s got a good mixture in it.”

Semiahmoo Town Centre is comprised of approximately 136 hectares. The plan area is generally bound by 24 Avenue to the north, 16 Avenue to the south, the Semiahmoo Trail and an existing open space network to the west, and 154 Street and Earl Marriott Secondary to the east.

SEE ALSO: Semiahmoo Centre highrise application discussed

According to a press release issued by the City of Surrey Tuesday morning, a “key feature” of the plan is that it focuses on growth and redevelopment within the Semiahmoo Shopping Centre site and along transit-served and mixed-use streets.

The release also notes that the plan includes four new neighbourhood parks and extension of the Semiahmoo Trail Greenway; includes new cultural amenities including dedicated spaces for performing arts and studios; and includes housing policies to support a range of “family supportive housing forms.”

Moving forward, all new developments in the Semiahmoo Town Centre area will be guided by the plan. Residents will have an opportunity to comment on rezoning applications on a project-by-project basis throughout the development process.

Semiahmoo Residents Association vice-president Rosemary Zelinka said her organization is disappointed with council’s decision to approve the plan. Zelinka said she wished there was a public hearing before the approval of the plan so her association could address council with its concerns.

She noted that the association will have a presence when development applications come forward for the shopping centre property.

“There is the application for three towers coming up shortly, the one at Martin Drive and 18 Avenue. That will be coming forward for approval and there will be a public hearing on that. I’m sure that we will be making an appearance there,” Zelinka said.

It’s described as a “mixed-use development on a portion of the Semiahmoo Shopping Centre site,” calling for three buildings ranging from 12 to 24 storeys, ground-floor commercial use, and a new park to be dedicated to the city.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that a public information meeting was scheduled for Feb. 23 and Feb. 25.

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About the Author: Aaron Hinks

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