This area under the Skytrain, just before King George Stn. in Surrey, use to be a small, urban forest, a couple of blocks square. When they logged it out a few of years ago, I was really pissed. We had skunks, racoons and seagulls migrating around the neighbourhood for a year or two after that. We also lost a bit of nature, right in downtown Surrey.
But, there was the other side of the equation too. Druggies and homeless folks camped there all year round, leaving needles, garbage and used condoms everywhere. It was a dangerous walk through the paths, as you didn’t know who or what you would run into. The park wasn’t somewhere you’d voluntarily go after dark, that’s for sure.
Now we have an urban park called Holland Park. Fusion Fest takes place here every year. We had the Olympic Celebration there, it’s been home to Movies in the Park and a variety of other events in the City Centre.
You can (mostly) walk the concrete trails and enjoy the trees, ponds and other water works around the site, and there is a small playground for kids tucked into the south west corner of the park.
As the new developments in the background here fill up, I’m sure there will be more than a few folks happy to have Holland Park across the street. We’re already seeing more and more people walking around and the park seems to be used all year round.
I’ve said for years that Surrey’s City Centre needs more feet on the street. Now with this park, SFU, new condos and other developments in the Centre, we’re seeing just that, and more and more people are feeling safer when walking around.
It’s starting to feel like a city in downtown Surrey.