Sunday, March 9, 2014

Newton Residents Still Fearful, Furious and Frustrated...

Update on Newton.
 Yesterday, a few of us gathered at The Grove, the little forested area near the Newton Recreation Centre and Arena. We met to share ideas and to brainstorm on ways to make the space a more inviting and vibrant place for everyone. So many creative ideas were brought forth and it was heart warming to see many Surrey residents out in the cold and very wet weather.

Tomorrow, March 10th, the city is holding a public hearing on the Official Community Plan including plans for its town centres. Newton must be given its fair shake. Residents here have been very patient, but there's a limit to the number of times they will put up with continually being passed over for improved amenities and public facilities.
Large part of venue for Newton Festival 2013 was held here-
What does this say about the level of respect the 140K residents of Newton get?
Their festival held in a back parking lot.
Newton Arena- Teen Skate Cancelled

Cloverdale Recreation Centre-Gorgeous artwork inside a multi-use facility.
The families of Newton, an area that includes Panorama Ridge, Sullivan Station, North Ridge and Sullivan Heights deserve the same calibre of facilities.
Notice board in disrepair outside Newton Arena.

No More "Newton Next"- demand Newton Now

original post from Jan 2, 2014

It's difficult to write about  the murder of Julie Paskall  outside the Newton Arena and Rec Centre on Sunday December 29, without getting emotional. This was the worst kind of crime. An innocent victim beaten to death, most likely by one of the many desperate addicts who now frequent the area.

I moved to South Newton  27 years ago, back when it was still a semi-rural community, with abundant wildlife and babbling brooks everywhere. Newton had a small town feel to it. It was peaceful and safe. It's hard to recognize the place today. It doesn't seem that long ago that I accompanied my now grown-up son to swimming  and skating lessons at the Newton Rec Centre, never fearing once for our safety. That has all changed.

In light of this week's event, we need some answers from Mayor Watts on the ongoing neglect of Newton, the heart of Surrey.

 Why did Mayor Watts choose to vote NO against the South Surrey casino last January, knowing that this meant the existing gaming facility would remain in Newton along with slot machines. There could not be a worse location.

Why has the city of Surrey ignored the calls to enforce their own "unsightly property " bylaw and not demolished the former public market building which has remained vacant  for 16 years?  It has been described as a hobo jungle and is a haven for drug users, dealers and squatters. There is a process in place to remove buildings like this and charge the costs back to the land owners along with property taxes.
For 16 long years, anyone driving along King George near 64th Avenue was greeted with this eyesore in Sullivan Heights.

Why were there no police foot patrols in the neighbourhood where Julie was attacked? With a community policing  station  only 2 blocks away, in a neighbourhood known to be sketchy?  Just two weeks before Julie Paskall was attacked, one local paper had a front page story on  the increase in crime in the area.  No action was taken. Nothing.
One of two lights out at Newton Arena entrance
where Julie Paskall was attacked and killed.

Why were several lights out at the entrance to the arena on the night Julie Paskall was assaulted? Could something as simple as lighting maintenance have saved her life?

Why can't Surrey get a handle on the explosion of unauthorized rental suites in the city? These suites are often rented by a transient population in what should be single family home neighbourhoods. Home owners are not being held accountable for renting multiple suites in contravention of the city's own bylaw. This needs to be addressed. Perhaps a forum on how to be a good landlord?   Suites and the City? No one objects to one in-law suite, but when we have 6000 sq. ft. homes being built on tiny lots, this is not an extended family living situation. Let's get real. These are multi-unit apartment buildings. Why isn't there real action on flophouses masquerading as 'recovery' facilities, an issue that has been allowed to grow unmanageable  and is in need of immediate and meaningful solutions.

Why do the powers that be in Surrey, continually put themselves in the position of needing to fix problems that by their own decisions they helped create?

 In the coming days and weeks, Dianne Watts needs to make some important decisions for the future of her city.
 The writer of this blog has been a supporter of Mayor Watts-voted for her in every election. I think I was her 6th follower on Twitter.  And for the last 9 years my spouse and I have owned rental properties  in the City Centre (Whalley) area. We believed in and supported the mayor's drive to revitalize downtown Surrey. That area needed help, but not at the expense of another town centre.  Pushing the problems south along the King George has been a disaster. A Downtown Eastside for Surrey. And, with a mother who lives in the  tonier Morgan Heights neighbourhood in South Surrey, I observe the city from north to south on a daily basis. Big differences.

We don't have all the answers, but now is the time for action and solutions.
 We have been told "Newton Next" for too long. What do residents really want to hear? How about "Newton Now".

Let's get to work. First for Julie Paskall and her grieving family, and then for everyone who calls Surrey home.


  1. I am the only one that feels that the city of surrey is so lacks in there bylaw enforcement that a lot of these crimes could be prevent. I moved to Surrey 4 years ago from Vancouver and couldn't believe what home owners are allowed to get away with and the city just sits by idle.

  2. I see it is not just me that feels the South Newton area is getting the short straw with all the Surrey Center revitalization and Cloverdale/Grandview facility upgrades.

    Soon City Hall will be gone from South Newton but we will still have the new larger prison, the ever expanding Volken facility, and of course the Public Disgrace Market ( which seems not to have been torn down within 30 days as reported 21-Nov-2013 ). As for the Volken facility, what is the new building that looks like a series of residential units with private entrances steps away from KG? I trust those aren't expected to be independent living units for at risk folks...

    Regarding "Why were several lights out at the entrance to the arena on the night Julie Paskall was assaulted?", that is an excellent questions that needs to be answered by the city. Public City facilities which are promoted with our tax dollars to encourage community participation, family activities, fitness, etc. are perceived to be safe places for the citizens to visit.

    A similar high risk area due to poor lighting ( actually in Surrey Central ) is the King George Skytrain Parking Lot, with about five streetlights ( when they are operational) for the entire parking lot, which is comparable in size to the South Surrey Park and Ride which, along with the Carvolth lot are brightly lit. All three are Impark lots, however Impark's explanation for the lack of lighting, paving and line maintenance and much higher parking fees at King George station (which serves as the Park and Ride for South Newton), is that it is not subsidized like South Surrey or Carvolth.

    There appears to be a definite discrepancy between funding for the Surrey Centre, Cloverdale and South Surrey versus the South Newton area, as if the City has deemed the South Newton area as the necessary evil of any city ( akin to Vancouver's DTES ).

  3. I listened to Mayor Watts last night on the news, she says the configuration of our Newton Rec Centre and pool, with it's entrances off the main road are problematic.... ummm... North Delta's Sun God arena is situated down a tree lined avenue with walking trails where people jog and happily walk their dogs, nothing problematic there! Perhaps it's the drug dealers, addicts, gangs, and other undesirable elements in the area that are the real problem? Love your Blog by the way, so glad I found it. Your vision of the King George as an Arts district would be a little slice of heaven!

  4. We need more Transit Security (with their cool chargers) at Newton Exchange. They were here the other day walking the bus loop and handing out fare evasion fines. We need more of this.

  5. From enforcement of by-laws, to low level crime, a lack of community policing, to major crime, if you are a criminal, Surrey is the place where you want to be located. The suggestion that major crime works on a four year cycle (like salmon!) and that investigating that angle will somehow help is laughable. There is always the push to downplay the problem or suggest quick solutions. "More lights, less trees, relocate transit, security cameras". These are all bandages on a much larger problem. The RCMP have the balls to publicly state that "murder is not a preventable problem"!! That theoretically may be true, but one would assume that eliminating the underlying criminal environment in which these crimes occur is their problem. It's pretty hard not to point the finger at the RCMP and to a lessor extent the City, for creating the environment that caused these issues.

  6. we should follow other cities who have had similar experiences with too many halfway houses in one ares.Their residence should be limited to Industrial areas ONLY.Sure they can WORK along side law abiding people .But when the lights go down they should be at home ,monitored and be away from the general public.Weve had our cars broken into 3x since the halfway house opened close to my house.This is when these guys,woman work.
    Who ever heard of a resident staying in one of these houses who could own a dog and go out all hours of the night unattended because he used the excuse that he had to take his dog for a walk.We were also on the bad end of that situation.Come on city,Province and federal agencies start working together and quit passing the buck.Halfway houses are run by the Federal government-BUT Cities DO have a say on where they can be limited to-Industrial areas is the only way to make an impact on our safety


We've love to hear from you! Add a comment.