CLOVERDALE West Village is strewn with cement blocks, unfinished sidewalks and dirty mattresses while the developer of the project – the city-owned Surrey City Development Corporation (SCDC) – continues to sit idle as businesses close and residents become increasingly frustrated, says Surrey mayoral hopeful Doug McCallum.
Initially promised as a revitalization for the former Cloverdale Plaza Mall site, the first phase of the proposed multi-phase residential and retail project was shelved in 2012 due to poor market conditions. While site servicing concluded six months ago, there has since been no explanation about the complete absence of inactivity.
This is a perfect example of how the SCDC’s mandate and model is not only flawed, but working against the interests of residents, according to McCallum.
“The City of Surrey and the Surrey City Development Corporation should have no part in speculative real estate development,” says McCallum. “Cloverdale is a historic party of the City of Surrey, and the lackadaisical attitude that is being demonstrated with this project and its delays is shameful.”
On February 1, 2012, SCDC president and CEO Jim Cox told the Surrey Leader newspaper that “we’re going to start a different phase” and that “we hope by undertaking some activity there that the world’s going to see that it’s a developing place and more than an empty parking lot.” As of July 28, 2014, none of that activity has occurred, with the project start date still undefined.
The SCDC’s recently released financial statement for 2013 shows a net debt for the fiscal year of over $96 million, following a net debt for 2012 of over $57 million. With investments such as $20 million of public money put into the Central City Brewery, the SCDC has demonstrated that its priorities, fiscal management and respect for Surrey residents are non-existent.
Revelations like the SCDC approaching the brewery to secure land and finance the project, while developments in Cloverdale remain stalled because of “market conditions”, is impetus for the SCDC to be eliminated, according to McCallum.
“Mr. Cox states that ‘with risk comes potential reward’ in reference to the real estate projects that are gambling with millions of taxpayers’ money. This is not right, particularly when you have areas like Cloverdale being left in the lurch with unfinished and unsightly work that has no end in sight,” sayd McCallum.
McCallum promises to dismantle the Surrey City Development Corporation if elected mayor.