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Lay of the Land

Letter from Manny Chehil

To one degree or another, real estate has always been a part of my life. Some of my earliest memories include visiting rental homes with my father, helping him with maintenance and engaging with our renters. At 22 years old, I invested in my first 16-lot single family development and three years later I became a licensed real estate agent with the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.

Over the next 16 years of facilitating sales of almost $1 billion dollars of development land for developers, I noticed a severe lack of professionals dedicating their knowledge and expertise for the benefit of the home or property owner. The result was homeowners who sold for too little and developers and realtors who made all the profit on newly developing land. I wanted to change this dynamic, so I launched LandPlay.

For the past 3 years, I looked for the right moment to launch LandPlay, a new brand that exclusively represents homeowners, not developers. Landplay would give homeowners the inside track to work with a professional who understands the details of developing land and has been on the other end of the deal. This opportunity came with the advancement of the North Clayton NCP.

After two years of grueling work, my team and I secured the support of owners in the area and lobbied the City of Surrey to approve the initiation of the North Clayton NCP, which went through on July 23, 2018. After personally meeting over 130 families in the North Clayton area, It was clear that the time to launch LandPlay Real Estate had arrived.

Beyond representing only the homeowners, we endeavour to provide straight forward NCP updates in the area, infrastructure information, and a multitude of information and opportunities to enhance the value of your property before you go to market in search of an offer from a developer. One of the ways to do this is through the Landscape Newsletter. This newsletter will provide you with up-to-date sales information, and details of exactly where the process is at in the North Clayton and West Clayton NCP’s. I hope you find the information useful and insightful. No fluff, just the straight goods on the going-ons in your neighbourhood.

MANNY CHEHIL,

Founder, LandPlay

Clayton General Land Use Plan

The Clayton General Land Use Plan (GLUP) includes the areas of East, West, and North Clayton comprise roughly 809 hectares of land and is bounded by Fraser Highway to the south, 196th to the east and Agricultural land to the north and west.

Surrey-Langley transit talks lead to possible changes in Clayton

 

How the Translink project is impacting West and North Clayton

Since the 1990s, the City of Surrey has recognized that expansion of rapid transit for commuters will need to become a top priority. As one of the fastest growing cities in the country (over 10% in 2016 compared to 4.6% in Vancouver), Surrey is poised to nearly double in population by 2050. As such a boom will tax the already crowded roadways, in 2014, Translink and the BC Ministry of Transportation began studying rapid transit options, eventually proposing an extension of the Translink Expo Line as well as additional bus service down Fraser Highway into Langley. This initial proposal was approved with a budget of $1.65 billion in funding.

In 2017, 84% of trips in Surrey and the surrounding communities were commuted by car.

When first put forward, this plan did not drastically affect the NCPs for West or North Clayton. However, further discussion by the Translink Mayor’s Council resulted in a major change to the project, introducing the option for Light Rapid Transit (LRT) with a new budget of $1.95 billion. More recently, the City of Surrey has pushed back again on the plan, suggesting that a full Skytrain would be far safer and faster than ground-based light rail. Such a move would increase the overall budget to a projected $2.91 billion, something that City of Surrey feels is worth considering for the added benefits. Should this change be approved, a variety of hurdles will need to be overcome and how each affects the Clayton area is yet to be seen.

The most significant impact that we can expect from a potential Skytrain project down Fraser Highway is that infrastructure along the route would need to be fully reevaluated. This includes redoing a wide range of land use, building, utility, and environmental impact reports that were used to inform the current NCP. Depending on the outcomes of those reports, many develop- ment projects in West and North Clayton may slow down while the City reevaluates approvals or puts them on hold until a revised NCP can be completed.

Importantly, there is also the very real potential that a Skytrain running all the way to Langley City is not financially feasible. The original $1.65 billion approved for partial extension of the Expo Line is not expected to be enough to cover construction all the way to Langley. This means that the Mayor’s Council will need to secure funding from the provincial and federal governments to cover the bill. For property owners in Clayton, this means that the City will not have a clear sense of direction until word on funding for the project is determined.

In the mean-time, Translink has been given a 15-month extension to complete feasability studies and determine how far their funding can take them. Translink spokesperson, Jill Drews, has suggested that they will look at how far they can get on $1.65 billion and then “tackle a second phase in the future.” Whether this leads to even more delays or changes to the NCPs for West and North Clayton is yet to be seen.

The good news is, regardless of the final outcome for the Skytrain project, both West and North Clayton are set to see significant growth over the next several years, with Surrey and Langley expecting to attract 28% of the region’s new jobs and 26% of all new residents by 2040. This means continued opportunities for land owners and increasing property values for some time to come.

To learn more about the project visit surreylangleyskytrain.ca

Transit stations at a glance

The proposed transit route includes eight new stops between King George and Langley, with three along the Clayton Heights/Fraser Highway corridor.

  • 184TH STREET – SIDE PLATFORM
  • 192ND STREET (WILLOWBROOK EXCHANGE)
  • 196TH STREET – SIDE PLATFORM

How West Clayton Impacts North Clayton

When we speak with property owners in North Clayton, a common question that comes up is how development in West Clayton will affect the North Clayton NCP. To help make sense of things, we’ve broken down the top three issues that affect how development in West Clayton will impact the timelines and opportunities that you may have for your own property.

INFRASTRUCTURE CHANGES

As detailed in our main article on the new Translink line, changes or delays in infrastructure projects by the city can significantly impact how soon you can sell your property, and for how much. As the City of Surrey redefines what impact rapid transit will have on the overall area, we may see updates to the types of developments allowed as well as changes to roadways and utility mapping.

RIGHT OF WAY DELAYS

As Clayton grows, utilities will need to be expanded and updated. These utility lines can run adjacent to privately owned properties or even through them, which can affect what a property owner can do with their land and sometimes leads to disputes. Such disputes will not only delay development projects on adjacent properties, but in all local properties that require the utilities to be in place.

PUBLIC FEEDBACK

Feedback from the community as West Clayton grows can sometimes delay council decisions as they weigh how to encorporate the feedback into North Clayton’s NCP.

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