News Local

Surrey ‘eyesore’ saga drags on

By Maria Rantanen

The old Surrey Public Market is being called an ‘eyesore’.
(Jude Hannah photo)

The old Surrey Public Market is being called an ‘eyesore’. (Jude Hannah photo)

Seventeen years have passed since the Surrey Public Market was shut down and locals want the property cleaned up and integrated into the Newton community.

Jude Hannah, a Surrey blogger who lives a few blocks from the site, has talked with local politicians about getting something done, but the property continues to sit empty.

“We’ve been looking at that structure for 17 long years – it’s an eyesore,” she said. “It doesn’t help Surrey’s image.”

Hannah would love it if the city bought the property, which has recently been subdivided, to make it into a public space.

“It would be really great to have something positive in the Newton area,” she said. She’d like it turned into a park or have an amphitheatre built on it.

Surrey Coun. Mike Starchuk, who sits on the city’s environmental sustainability advisory committee, said the stream setbacks pose a challenge for the property.

“It’s just a difficult piece of property for development with the stream going through,” Starchuk said.

Since the construction of the property, the stream setbacks have increased to 30 metres, which significantly impacts the property. These setbacks are set by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans and can’t be changed by the city, Starchuk said, adding he doesn’t want to see any erosion of the stream.

As the city looks to revitalize Newton, however, they need more housing density, not more commercial buildings, Starchuk said. He’d like the city to find the right partnerships to make it work, but concedes it needs to be make economic sense.

“It truly is an eyesore – we need to find a solution,” he said.

The buildings are boarded up and the owner has 24-hour security on the property, according to the city of Surrey.

The property and buildings, which according to BC Assessment are valued at about $7.93 million, is zoned to allow for commercial and office use. The property in total is 14,720 square metres, bisected by a stream.

Raj Nijjar, whose family owned the property, said the site was subdivided in December and they no longer own the public market building.

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