The wonderful Jude Hannah of ReNewton Nation posted a blog post recently that has been picked up by the Surrey Now and run as a column: “Newton’s crisis is now an opportunity” . In her column, Jude speaks to the horror and outrage every Newton resident felt, and the small beginnings of hope and change that residents began to make happen for themselves, without waiting for anyone else to do it.
” However, amid all the sadness, frustration and acrimony of this dark time, a little ray of sunlight began to emerge in the Newton community. We realized we are just that – a community.
We came together and decided we weren’t going to allow some punk’s violent act define us. We are so much more than that.
Like many parts of Surrey, Newton is a neighbourhood undergoing changes. We are on the brink of creating a new and vibrant downtown core.
When you walk along 137th Street between Starbucks and the wave pool, past the Espresso Café and the ethnic grocery shops, you can see that this street and surrounding area has really good “bones.”
Great things are going to happen here in the next few years. In fact, if you frequent the places around the recreation centre and bus loop, you may have noticed neighbours getting together and creating happy, surprising and whimsical displays of hope, resilience – and most of all fun.
It is that vein I make a suggestion that I think might help honour and celebrate the spirit of what many of us know is wonderful and great about Newton, and what potential Newton has.
Last year, the city of Surrey held a combination Newton Community Festival in conjunction with their Open Doors initiative, where residents of Newton ( and all of Surrey) could take a trolley to various locations around the city to explore the many venues the city has to celebrate.
It was without a doubt, a successful festival,barring one point many people pointed out was a bit of downer : the location.
A large part of the festival was held in the back alley/parking lot located between the Newton ice rink and the mall right beside it. It worked… but it was a very visually undesirable location and instead of a feeling of pride, it felt rather shameful that Newton was relegated to a back alley/parking lot for a festival location, when others in the city are held on streets closed for such a purpose. ( Cloverdale does this every year)
It’s well-known that the pay parking on 137 st. in Newton has had an adverse impact on local businesses. Drive or walk the street as I recently did and you will see nothing but vacant parking spots and vacant rentals for businesses. We need to do something to revitalize that area. We need to bring people into it!!
Ironically, the city’s plan for Newton had included 137 st. as a location called Festival Street, for exactly that purpose: To hold events and festivals to bring people into that area!
It’s the perfect venue for a festival, with a wide street, angled parking spots and large sidewalks.
This is where a large part of the Newton Festival was held last year. It’s always dirty, always run down looking, always with plenty of garbage dumped. It is, what it is: a back allegy/parking lot meant for that purpose only. ( photo courtesy of Renewton Nation )
This is what the Newton Town Centre Plan, created by the city and delayed by the city, had envisioned for Newton’s troubled 137 st. : Festival Street !!! ( photo courtesy of Renewton Nation )
The city has been planning for this years Newton Festival, which is once again, being held in the parking lots in between and behind the Newton Rec Centre and the Ice Rink.
With all that Newton has gone through in the last year, and with all the efforts local residents have made to fight for and create change in the area, it would be such an honour and show of good faith on the city of Surrey’s part, to host the festival on 137 st.,in the manner in which the city had originally intended that street to be used for.
I’ve spoken to several of the businesses along 137 st. and they welcome the idea of a festival along this area!! And has been done in Cloverdale where festival venues were held on both sides of the very very busy Highway 10, there were signs directing festival goers across the highway safely at crosswalks. It was a win-win situation all around!
I sent this idea to the city of Surrey and it has been forwarded to festival organizers. It is not too late to change the location, since it is hosted by the city itself.
The community of Newton has shown tremendous interest and effort to make the community a safer, more inclusive, caring place for families and businesses alike.
Holding the Newton Community Festival on the street designed for that purpose honours everything, and everyone, that’s working to make Newton a place to be openly proud of. Time to take Newton out of the back alley and onto the main stage.
So you agree? Then come meet us in Midtown…. http://renewtonnation.blogspot.ca/2014/05/whats-in-name-meet-me-in-midtown.html