Brian Venables, Major and Divisional Secretary for Public Relations & Development with the Salvation Army, confirmed to me in an email yesterday afternoon, that they are ” currently engaged in a transaction that, if successful, will mean the subject property will become ours.”
I also asked Brian what the plans were for that property, and this was his response:
“ The exact use has not been determined however could include housing, services for families and perhaps even a church. Plans cannot be confirmed until the process is complete yet if it does go ahead the city, province and community will be consulted. Our only objective is to serve Surrey and a permanent site is necessary
There is much to be said however we can only speculate at best until we are the owners of the property”
Disheartening news at best to the majority of residents in the Newton area who are already fighting the continuing downward spiral of degradation in the area, which has been likened to the next DTES ( downtown east side in Vancouver). A direct co-relation between the concentration of social service agencies,( including shelters and methadone dispensing pharmacies), and the degradation is shockingly apparent to those who live here. I hope to bring you a guest blog on that topic in the near future
The old Surrey Public Market property in question has been nothing but an eyesore in recent years – the premises having been abandoned and boarded up as long as I can remember. A security guard is stationed on site, presumably to prevent the areas many addicts andhomeless from taking up residence. Although it sounded grand, the concept of a public market didn’t fly in this area, and no wonder when you consider a parole office and a homeless shelter is on the block kitty-corner to the property. A very large for sale sign has graced the corner and much speculation has prompted various ideas for what could be a very commercially viable location.
After making further inquires following Brians email, it appears that this deal has been in the works for some time, although everyone is hesitant to go on the record with it because of the contentious and ongoing issues with residents in the area regarding the Welcome Home rehabilitation facility planned for the corner of 68ths avenue and King George – a mere 4 blocks away, and near two schools and several daycare facilities. However, one source did tell me that it appears that the Union Gospel Mission may be involved and that there had been talk about 20 units of either shelter beds or some sort of supported housing but again, at this point it is still speculation.
One source also mentioned that the property owner wanted to put an Esso station with a Tim Hortons into that corner but may have encountered environmental issues with the stream that runs the property.
Calls to the owner have gone unanswered.
While I am obligated to call for solutions to the problems we have in Newton and Surrey in general, I am also the loudest to complain about the lack of REAL action the city has taken on the matter. The mayor and council claim to have the best interests at heart with Newton residents, and have created a rather grandiose and completely unrealistic plan for the Newton town core. Sustainability? I think not. Look at Whalley, the highrises on crack row, and the Central City mall where shops are closing faster than they can get them in due to lack of sales. Its not working.
And here in Newton? Lets look at what real action the city has taken to address the issues.
- Planters, banners and murals on 72nd avenue in the Newton Town Core ( meanwhile, the addicts do their business outside the city owned rec centre located there)
- forged ahead with plans to include slots in Newton Bingo hall, against their own bylaw, due in part to incentives promised by the developer as part of the development.
- forged ahead with the proposal of Welcome Home Rehabilitation centre two block down from the Bingo hall, and one block from another homeless shelter, despite lengthy and loud opposition of local residents who dont want any more issues with hardened ex-cons and addicts.http://www2.canada.com/theprovince/news/story.html?id=05abbbf6-14eb-4101-b6f2-1c8a908ec605 I’m told by source with the city that although approval has not been granted and it needs to go to public hearing, that it is a ” done deal”. The owner of Welcome Home, John Volken is a member of the “Apprehend and Prosecute” Sub Committe, part of the mayors Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety. How convenient , yet how ironic ! http://www.crimereduction.surrey.ca/NR/rdonlyres/6831CF29-DC81-4DB3-8374-B78B14874A85/43316/4145fromSurreyCrimeReductionStrategyweb.pdf
- ignored the blatant disregard for over-population in the residential areas by turning a blind eye to the thousands of illegal secondary suites that are taxing our city resources and overwhelming the street parking in most areas.
ON CTV news last night, Perry Solkowski had a story with a member of the BC Lions who grew up in a ghetto like bad area and ended up getting into some big trouble. He turned his life around, but while Perry and he were walking on the streets of Whalley, the player remarked that he grew up in an area that was tough, and rough and dangerous… JUST LIKE the area where the BC Lions facility is in WHALLEY.
In other words, Whalley is still unchanged. For the most part,it’s still a ghetto full of crackheads and addicts, hookers and johns, gang-banger wannabees and the real thing.
Well, Newton is not that far behind. Welcome to Surrey, one of the Top 10 most dangerous cities in Canada . Hope you enjoy your stay…