Surrey mayor suggests building a canal on ‘less busy’ road

Doug McCallum likens the idea to canals in Venice and Qatar shopping centre

Mayor Doug McCallum says Surrey is in a growth period and the city has the opportunity to “be innovative and try different things.”

One of those opportunities, he said, is to build a canal.

“When you travel around the world and you look at major cities, most of them have some type of waterfront or riverfront or canal front,” said McCallum at a Downtown Surrey BIA panel on the future of city centre.

McCallum was one of four panelists that included Simon Fraser University vice-president Joanne Curry, Safe Software co-founder Dale Lutz and PCI Developments partner Tim Grant.

McCallum said the city has “lots of roads” and with vehicles getting used “less and less,” there could be “excess roads” in the future.

“The idea certainly came to me when I noticed that in Qatar, as I said when I was there that shopping centres had canals instead of walkways… but if you look at some other cities like Venice and so forth, they have canals that they use for transportation.”

Water features, McCallum said, are a “big crowd pleaser.”

He said if the city could find a “less busy” street, a type of “wandering canal” could be built.

McCallum said he’s mentioned the idea to a few people, including the engineering department.

“They certainly say it’s thinking outside the box, but they didn’t sort of reject it.”

Asked if he has a road in mind, McCallum said he doesn’t quite yet. He also said the canal could start at the Fraser River and end in the “centre part of Surrey.”

“It’s things that I think we need to start looking at. They’re not necessarily innovative because that’s done around the world, but we need to start applying them to our city.”

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