Exploring Surrey: Brownsville Bar Park, Skytrain and Pattullo Bridge, South Westminster
It as an exciting time to live in Surrey, BC. Like a Vancouver of the 1900s, this city is going to be completely transformed and that is why I am happy to be investing here. There is a lot of money and major developments (RCMP E-Division, Surrey Outpatient Hospital, The Surrey City Center Library and tons more) coming in, and some ambitious revitalization projects going on.
Surrey, The Future Lives Here
A good local website I have seen for tracking all of these is Civic Surrey where I found this old 1937 picture of the Pattullo Bridge (below) – which is also being replaced. Civic Surrey is the only local blog covering urban news in BC’s second largest city. It was started in 2008 and is written by Paul Hillsdon.
Every day on my SkyTrain ride to work, I pass Scott Road station and head over the Fraser River. I look down and see this pretty little waterfront park with a little strip of beach hidden among the railways, wreckage and salvage yards and I think to myself, I want to go visit that little spot.
Well, yesterday morning I grabbed my wife and said, “get dressed, I am taking you somewhere.” We hit the Tim Horton’s drive-through on King George and 104 and took our breakfast down to this little spot.
The place is called Brownsville Bar (sandbar) Park and it lies at the 1100 Block of Portage Road, Surrey, BC. Although my wife grew up in Surrey, she had never been to this park. According to the City of Surrey, the first regular crossing of the Fraser River was in 1882 via the steam ferry, “K de K”, which transported wagons and passengers from the “Browns Landing” or Brownsville, at what is now the foot of Old Yale Road, to New Westminster. Lands in the vicinity of this historic ferry dock are a popular fishing area and is now a City Park.
Brownsville Park Sand Bar
Once we arrived at the foot of the river we were amazed at the beauty. It was a bright sunny day and we sat on one of the large logs there and sipped our coffee. The water was so still. The park was more beautiful than I had expected.
I realized how much potential this area has for beautification, so I was pleased to discover that the area is currently undergoing just that.
Here is an article from the Vancouver Sun:
A couple of documents from the Surrey website outlining plans for this spot (also known as South Westminster):
- TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR PREPARING THE SOUTH WESTMINSTER NEIGHBOURHOOD CONCEPT PLAN
- South Westminster and Bridgeview Industrial Areas
When you read:
To the east, Yale Street Commercial would see retail and office development, mixed with residential uses on the upper floors. Old Yale Road would be redesigned as pedestrian-oriented, small-scale retail.
…and then look at the current state of the area, you gain a solid grasp of how dramatic these proposed changes truly are.