Nearly 3 years since construction began, SFU’s new Sustainable Energy & Environmental Engineering Building officially opened today. The opening was marked with a ceremony attended by BC’s premier John Horgan, MLA’s and other guests. The 5-storey, 220,000 sq.ft. building, designed by Vancouver’s late Bing Thom, has already become a new landmark redefining the Surrey Central area.
As just the first phase in a three-phase expansion plan for SFU in Surrey City Centre, the new building will accommodate 440 full-time students, and be home to SFU’s Mechatronics Systems Engineering (MSE) program with additional space for SFU’s Technology Entrepreneurship program.
In addition to the building itself, the development has contributed to a new high quality streetscape along University Drive with grade-separated bike lanes, benches, and a temporary corner park at 102 Avenue. The grassed corner will remain until 102A Avenue is eventually re-aligned through that space and the Surrey Central Bus Loop, as per the City Centre Plan.
A proposal to revitalize the North Surrey Medical Building at 9656 King George Blvd in the emerging Health & Technology District is heading to Council on Monday for 1st & 2nd Readings. The project, by Vancouver’s Rize Alliance, is seeking to restore and integrate the 1960’s North Surrey Medical Building on site into a new mixed-use development consisting of a new 4-storey office and retail podium along King George Blvd, and a new 31-storey residential tower behind. The project was first reported on here back in February when it passed ADP.
According to the Planning Report to Council, the application is seeking both OCP and City Centre Plan amendments for increased density from 3.5 FAR to 5.5 FAR to allow for the proposed development. In exchange for the increased density, the project is proposing to preserve and revitalize the 1960’s North Surrey Medical Building on-site under a Heritage Revitalization Agreement. In total the project is to contain:
293 Apartment Units
5 Townhouse Units
34,369 sq.ft.sq.ft. of Commercial Space with within the revitalized North Surrey Medical Building and new adjacent 4-storey podium (including ground floor retail along King George Blvd)
A landscaped courtyard designed by Vancouver’s PWL Partnership will separate the residential and commercial portions of the project. The Architect on the project is Stantec.
In addition to the revitalization of the North Surrey Medical Building, the applicant will be providing community amenity contributions including funding towards enhancements to Quibble Creek in the area. Contributions will also be provided for construction of a new east-west lane to the directly adjacent north of the site in the future, and towards the City’s Affordable Housing Strategy.
Public consultation is set to get underway this month for the proposed Surrey Langley SkyTrain (SLS) extension, as well as the future of rapid transit along 104 Avenue & King George Blvd.
In 2014, the regional Mayors Council identified Fraser Highway, King George Boulevard, and 104 Avenue as priority corridors for rapid transit South of the Fraser in the 10-Year Vision. Following a study looking at combinations of SkyTrain, LRT, and Bus Rapid Transit for the corridors, the Mayors Council decided on 27-km of urban-style LRT on dedicated track (separate from traffic) on each of the corridors to be built over 2 phases:
Phase 1: Surrey-Newton-Guildford Line on 104 Avenue & King George Boulevard
Phase 2: Surrey-Langley Line on Fraser Highway
With funding in place to cover the entire first phase, and construction set to begin this year – a last minute request was made in 2018 by Surrey’s new Council to the regional Mayors’ Council to suspend the Phase 1 Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT line and re-direct funding to the Phase 2 Surrey-Langley line instead, while switching the technology of the Phase 2 line to SkyTrain. The Mayors’ Council voted to move forward with this request, and directed TransLink to begin planning work for SkyTrain on Fraser Highway while at the same time re-visit rapid transit plans for 104 Avenue and King George Boulevard corridors.
The switch of priorities to the Phase 2 Fraser Highway line and changing its technology to SkyTrain has had implications both in budget and timeline. The funding that was allocated for the full Phase 1 Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT line has been identified as inadequate to fund the entire Fraser Highway SkyTrain extension to Langley. Pending a future round of funding (timeline unclear), the line may have to be phased, with the current funding getting the line potentially only as far as Fleetwood. Start of construction and delivery of new rapid transit South of the Fraser is also now delayed by approximately 2 years as a result of the switch.
Despite the funding and timeline uncertainties, planning work is nonetheless well underway for the new SLS line, which will need to involve a significant re-evaluation of land-use plans along the Fraser Highway corridor to support SkyTrain, completion of a number of supportive studies, and extensive Public Consultation. In a project update report to Surrey Council this week – a preliminary timeline was given for this work by TransLink, with start of service targeted for 2025.
To run concurrently with the SLS planning and consultation work will be a planning process to ‘refresh’ the South Fraser Rapid Transit Strategy for delivering the Mayors’ Council fully envisioned 27km of Rapid Transit along each of the Fraser Hwy, King George Blvd, and 104 Ave corridors. This refresh will look to re-examine and engage the public on what rapid transit along the remaining corridors could look like, now that SkyTrain has been chosen as the technology for Fraser Hwy. The 2013 Rapid Transit Alternatives Study identified Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) for these corridors based on a scenario with SkyTrain on Fraser Hwy. With much LRT planning work having now been completed however, for the 104 Ave and King George Blvd corridors,it’s possible that LRT could still be an option for them rather than BRT, especially given Surrey’s long-term rapid transit vision for an extensive LRT network on major arterials across the City.
The first round of Public Consultation on the SLS line and South Fraser Rapid Transit refresh gets underway on April 11 in Langley, with open houses in Surrey on April 15, 16, and 17. TransLink has also recently launched an online survey where you can voice your feedback on the proposed SLS line. Open House times are set for the following dates and locations between 3-8pm:
Thursday, April 11 – Langley City Hall
Monday, April 15 – Surrey Sport & Leisure Complex (Fleetwood)