Monday, June 2, 2014

Surrey Public Market Saga.....



As most of you are aware, the former public market building at King George Blvd. and 64th Avenue has been vacant for over 16 years. In the past 3 years there have been 4 owners. The original owner Walter Chan owner of Smitty's Restaurants sold it to developers Manuel and Daisy Da Silva in 2012  who then sold it to Vancouver developer Mark Chandler's company Newmark in the fall of 2013. Now  the property has been passed  on to Raj Nijjar with Opera Homes. My source  has informed me that Chandler et al defaulted on payment and  the property is now in the hands of Raj Nijjar's company.
 I had a friendly chat with  Mr. Nijjar the other day and it appears that we can't look forward to  any development on this corner in the foreseeable future. 
And now with the entire area fenced off, no one can take a stroll along the creek banks or stop and enjoy the shade of the small grove of trees .

 Now then....... Let's take a step back to October of 2011.

 ReNewton started with one goal in mind at that time. That was to encourage and lobby the City of Surrey to purchase this strategic corner property and turn it into something for the community. 
There is huge potential here.   
Imagine a park, an amphitheatre, room for a farmers market,  expanded arts, culture and recreation facilities. 

In its current state the building is an eyesore.   For 16 years we've gazed upon this sad sight and so have the 70,000 drivers who pass through the intersection of 64th Ave & King George Highway every day.   Reputation-wise, this place is not doing Surrey any favours.  Look inside and you can still see vestiges of its former glory. This, the second incarnation of the public market fell victim to  the unusual business practices of the original owner.  Back in the 80s, there was a  wonderful public market in an old roller rink on the same corner. We loved it.  That first market was always busy, and no wonder!  Two fresh fish vendors, a bakery, a few veggie vendors, a meat shop and the best Japanese take out in town run by the cutest older couple. Then the  owner decided to build the "new' structure and raised the rents sky high. The vendors simply couldn't pay the exorbitant  rates and in the late 90s the place shut its doors.

This is what the place looks like today. And that's such a crying shame.
The creek is beautiful.
The trees are spectacular.
And  none of it can be used by the residents of this neighbourhood.
 Sure would be nice for the city of Surrey, or some philanthropic community minded person or group to make an offer on this place and  develop something for the people who live in the heart and soul of Surrey.
 Just sayin'.

Upate December 23, 2014.
We're heading into year 17. The very least that can be done is to enforce the city of Surrey's unsightly property bylaw and tear down these walls. The people who live, work, pay taxes and raise their families here deserve to have this place removed.  To let it stand one more day is simply wrong.

16 years,
70,000 drivers per day drive by this.
 And we wonder why Surrey can't shake its backward image?