A proposed 16th Avenue interchange for Highway 99 is receiving thumbs up from both the South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce and the Surrey Board of Trade, with both saying the project will be good for local businesses.
While there was no official government announcement made, the expansion of the 16th Avenue interchange for Highway 99 was mentioned as part of a $207-million investment in transportation, housing, education and health facilities by Premier Christy Clark during a recent speech.
"These are new projects that we can get started this year, but this capital investment is not new money. It is money we have saved from pinching our pennies. I am very proud of that," said Clark.
Cliff Annable, executive director of the South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce, said the news isn't what they had been hoping for, but is welcomed nonetheless. He said he would have liked to have seen an interchange put in at 24th Avenue for people hoping to have easy highway access to shopping at Grandview Corners and Morgan Crossing.
"But, 16th Avenue, I'll have to admit, is very good also," he said. "We've been trying to get an off ramp from the highway into the South Surrey end of the Semiahmoo Peninsula for years without success.
"Finally, now, the government is realizing this is important."
Surrey Board of Trade chief executive director Anita Huberman says the interchange will be good not only for local businesses, but for Surrey's continued growth and accessibility from other locations.
"We have been lobbying for an interchange at 16th Avenue because it is the beginning of an access route for Abbotsford International Airport," said Huberman.
"So we see this as a region-wide perspective in terms of moving people and moving goods but also in terms of creating more efficient and effective access to a regional airport."
As for the 24th Avenue idea, Huberman said she would have been open to that as well.
"We would have liked to see both, of course, but this is a good beginning and we're very supportive of it and the city (of Surrey) has been working quite hard on this and so we're very pleased this is coming to fruition," she said.
"With such an influx of growth, not only commercially but residentially, this can only be a good thing."