Surrey, B.C. (May 15, 2023): Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis introduced three notices of motions at tonight’s council meeting aimed at resolving summer parking and traffic issues at Crescent Beach, fast-tracking applications for non-profit rental housing, and reducing City Hall’s financial pressures on the volunteer-run Fraser Valley Heritage Rail Society.
“As we head into summer, we’re once again seeing traffic and parking issues at Crescent Beach, it’s like clockwork this time of year,” noted Annis. “These issues are regular and ongoing every year, and they’re only getting worse as the popularity of Crescent Beach continues to grow. The fact is, the neighbourhood was never designed for the sort of traffic and crowds we see today, and it’s about time we dealt with the issues in ways that accommodate residents and visitors alike.”
Annis wants city staff to come back to council with a “comprehensive plan” that provides options for council to consider going forward.
“For instance, can we work with TransLink and provide a special summer shuttle to Crescent Beach from park-and-ride lots, as one way to reduce the volume of traffic, and should we distribute resident-only park stickers that give residents a single parking spot in front of their home since many of the original homes do not even have driveways. We need to find a balance that provides easy public access to Crescent Beach while not turning the neighbourhood into a gridlocked parking lot every summer.”
The second notice of motion is aimed at fast-tracking development applications from non-profit organizations looking to build much-needed rental housing.
“When a not-for-profit organization in our community steps up with an offer to build much needed affordable rental accommodation, we should fast-track that application, and help out by reducing city charges that add costs that can make or break a not-for-profit development,” explained Annis. “It’s to our city’s advantage to have local not-for-profits help with the urgent need for affordable rental housing, so I think we should do everything we can to speed up approvals and not put up financial impediments that can kill a much-needed project. In short, city council should help champion these local not-for-profit developments by fast-tracking them, and reduce or remove city fees and charges that are a deterrent to developing a project.”
Annis said her third notice of motion is aimed at helping the volunteer-based Fraser Valley Heritage Rail Society come to an agreement with the city about its future. The society operates the popular seasonal heritage rail line between Cloverdale and Sullivan Station and the heritage rail museum.
“The city is renegotiating its agreements with the society, including having the society pay for utilities in the city building it leases in Cloverdale for the museum and the upkeep of the heritage rail equipment,” said Annis. “Meanwhile, the society has invested $327,000 into building improvements, including replacing a gravel floor with concrete, adding electric radiant heat that prevents deterioration of heritage artifacts and makes it possible for volunteers to work throughout the year on upkeep and maintenance. I’m suggesting that the city help the volunteer organization offset the utility costs by crediting them with the cost of the improvements to this particular city building. That would help provide the society with some long-term financial stability and keep this popular local heritage attraction going for many years to come.”