The sale of a Campbell Heights Business Park property was the subject of hot debate at Surrey council this week.
Ultimately, the recommendation to sell 19070 39 Ave. passed on a 5-4 vote at the Oct. 7 meeting. However, councillors opposed did not let it happen quietly.
“As it has been said so many times, this city is land-poor,” Coun. Steven Pettigrew said. “So much of our property has been sold off in the past and now we are paying the price for those decisions. We need to keep our land and not sell it off.”
“There’s only a finite amount of land here in the City of Surrey, certainly of that quality and that scarcity,” echoed Coun. Jack Hundial.
“The lands in (and) around Campbell Heights industrial park do present some of the, probably, most valuable lands we have in the entire region.”
According to a staff report, the property is one of 11 subdivided lots on the west side of 192 Street, between 38 and 40 Avenues, and was included in Phase 5 of a 305-acre parcel described as Campbell Heights North; lands the city purchased from the province between 2010 and 2015.
Of the 1o other Phase 5 lots, nine have been sold and one is being kept by the Surrey City Development Corporation (SCDC) “for future build-to-suit or leasing opportunities,” the report states.
Of the Campbell Heights North total area, 61 acres on two lots have been deemed parkland; there are 60 industrial lots.
According to the staff report, the SCDC determined that the site approved for sale was “impractical to develop as a revenue property,” and proposed reinvesting the proceeds of its sale “into other projects.”
Pettigrew, Hundial, and Couns. Brenda Locke and Linda Annis all expressed budget concerns with the sale.
“I do not believe that we should be selling city lands,” said Annis. “We only have so much land, we need to be working in partnerships to be getting revenue from this land and not selling it off.”
In voicing support for the sale, Coun. Allison Patton said refocusing the SCDC was a request heard from many when council was first elected.
“We spent a better part of the year doing that, and this is part of the refocus,” she said.
The SCDC board of directors approved the property’s sale, subject to council approval, at its June 18 meeting.