In Surrey, 2010 Building Displaces the Poor

2010 building displaces the hungry

By Kevin Diakiw - Surrey North Delta Leader
Published: December 26, 2008

A group feeding the poor and homeless has been told to make way for heavy equipment constructing Surrey’s new Olympic volunteer venue.
The Leader has learned NightShift Street Ministries was told Friday, Dec. 19 to move from the location where it feeds about 150 hungry people each night at 107 Avenue and 135 Street.
It’s a vacant patch of land across the street from the city’s planned Olympic venue in Tom Binnie Park.
MaryAnne Connor, who operates the ministry and a nearby high-end thrift store, confirmed she was told to move after extensive talks with the city. She declined to comment further.
The ministry has been uprooted several times by the city in the last five years.
In August 2004, the group then known as the Gentle Shepherd Ministry was evicted from its premises at 13501 King George Hwy. Connor then took the feeding to the streets, and has been shuffled from park to park until the most recent location where the group has been for three years.
However, heavy machinery is rolling in to the 107 Avenue location as the city begins to build its Olympic volunteer centre at Tom Binnie Park.
The “Games Preparation Centre” will serve as a volunteer recruitment centre beginning in February.
Now Connor and her 700 volunteers running the dinner and outreach program are once again searching for a place to feed the hungry.
Mayor Dianne Watts said Tuesday she was unaware the group had been told to move, however, later explained that the order was given for safety reasons and an alternate location would be sought.
Watts also said the relocation has nothing to do with the Olympics, noting that any construction project would create the same safety concerns.