This is a perfect suburban neighbourhood in conventional terms: single-family homes distributed along nested crescents, tall trees, tranquility. Watershed Park sits on the southern edge, a wide patch of rain forest with a fine network of trails. There are no hills in Sunshine Hills, but the park slopes down to the coastal plain and provides a buffer against the noise from Highway 99, the route to Seattle (south) or Vancouver (north).
You can walk from most of Sunshine Hills to the shops at Scott Road and 64th in 20 minutes or less. The area plan, published by the municipality of Delta in 2015, makes it clear there is no intention to create a more explicitly walkable ring of medium-density housing around the commercial area. The residents seem to like things as they are. We did not see a single “For Sale” sign during our visit.
I walked through Watershed Park and along the Sunshine Hills streets with our friend Robert Smarz, who used to live in the area and has a keen eye for lot sizes and likely values. He praised the range of services available at the Sunshine Hills Centre, a busy shopping mall that offers a supermarket, a fruit and vegetable market, a liquor store, a popular restaurant, and veterinary, insurance, dental and financial services. There are more shops and services on two other corners at the Scott Road/64th intersection, although these malls are not as busy.
East of Scott Road you enter the City of Surrey, a municipality that has made different zoning decisions leading to the construction of apartments and townhomes. I will return here in the future to see if we can cobble together an “urban village” by putting together the housing choice on the Surrey side with the shops and services on the Delta side. As a side note, you are in the outer ring of transit service here; a trip to the Scott Road SkyTrain station to the north requires a transfer, and the direct bus to SkyTrain in New West takes 35 minutes.
Bob and I ate lunch at the Sundowner Pub, which has no craft beer but serves a $5.00 breakfast on weekends.