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LETTER FROM SURREY MAYOR: Misinformation about Hawthorne Park road plans

‘I would like to dispel some of the misinformation that has been circulating,’ writes Mayor Hepner

The Editor,

Re: Hawthorne Park ‘war’ heats up in Surrey, July 26, Now-Leader online.

The public interest around the 105 Avenue Connector Project at Hawthorne Rotary Park has been lively and passionate. While I wholeheartedly welcome the diverse views expressed on this project, I would like to dispel some of the misinformation that has been circulating.

The 105 Avenue Connector Road has been part of the Official Community Plan since 1986. As Surrey continues to grow so has the need to improve our City’s transportation network, particularly east/west connections. The 105 Avenue Connector Road was identified to improve access, circulation, and connectivity for the community between City Centre and Guildford, as well as improving the local transportation network. The plan calls for two lanes of vehicle traffic, separated bicycle lanes, sidewalks, street trees and lighting to enhance the neighbourhood and area.

The size of Hawthorne Rotary Park will not be diminished by this project. In fact, as part of the 105 Avenue Connector project, the City has been actively working on acquiring new lands to preserve as parkland, including high quality bio-diverse properties adjacent to the existing park. The land acquisitions will grow Hawthorne Rotary Park by more than one acre over its current size and add more than 200 new and substantial trees to the park.

The project is also investing up to $2 million in park improvements and close to $11 million in land acquisition as part of the mitigating impacts to the park. Parks staff are also developing a Master Plan that will identify further improvements for the park.

Park Reserve By-law 1979, No. 5812 is specific to portions of Hawthorne Rotary Park, and whatever the outcome of the alternative approval process, the result will affect Hawthorne Rotary Park only. The removal of this bylaw is required in order for any element of the project to proceed, including important utility relocation work. Surrey electors will have from Aug. 11th to Sept. 22nd to respond to the alternative approval process.

Council and I appreciate the input we have had from our residents and we have, in fact, made changes to the project as a result of the feedback we have received. The proposed project on the southern edge of Hawthorne Rotary Park has been amended to allow for the road to be narrowed as well as removing entirely the 142nd Street road connection to 104th Avenue.

I encourage residents to visit the City’s website (www.surrey.ca/105Avenue) for more information about the project and the alternate approval process.

Sincerely,

Linda Hepner

Mayor of Surrey