British Columbia

Surrey councillor calls for temporary development freeze along new SkyTrain route

In a notice of motion to council, Coun. Brenda Locke said the city needs to make sure it builds the right infrastructure to properly support the transit expansion.

Brenda Locke says council first needs to figure out what projects will best support the transit expansion

A rendering of a proposed station along the planned Surrey-Langley SkyTrain line. The exact location of stations on the new route has yet to be determined. (TransLink)

A Surrey city councillor wants an interim hold on the approval of development applications along the Fraser Highway SkyTrain route until there is a new land-use plan in place.

In a notice of motion to council, Coun. Brenda Locke said the city needs to make sure it builds the right infrastructure to properly support the transit expansion.

"We're talking about schools and all different, other appropriate facilities that go along with the proper development of housing," said Locke. 

A staff planning review of the 17-kilometre project, which would extend the SkyTrain line from King George Station to the City of Langley, was given the go-ahead by council earlier this week. 

The study should take eight to 10 months to complete. 

The 17-kilometre Surrey-Langley Skytrain line will extend from King George Station to the City of Langley. (TransLink)

Support for hold 

Realtor Joe Varing of Varing Marketing Group specializes in land slated for development. He likes the idea of a pause on development approvals until the staff review is done. 

"Fast forward five or seven years, we might look back and say, oh boy, we really under-developed these major nodes we created," said Varing. 

At the same time, he acknowledges a freeze could be financially tough for developers who already have applications in the queue and are eager to get building.  

Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman says it makes no sense to approve projects before details about the new SkyTrain service are worked out. 

"We don't even know where the actual stops for the SkyTrain stations are going to be," said Huberman. 

Some exemptions 

Locke said a temporary development freeze would not include applications for social housing or student housing. 

Her notice of motion will be discussed by city council at its next meeting on April 15. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Belle Puri

Reporter

Belle Puri is a veteran journalist who has won awards for her reporting in a variety of fields. Belle contributes to CBC Vancouver's Impact Team, where she investigates and reports on stories that impact people in their local community.

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