Surrey council has given third reading to another request to rezone agricultural property in Campbell Heights to make way for industrial buildings.
The decision, affecting four lots – at 3441 and 3491 196 St. as well as 19524 and 19582 36 Ave. – passed during council’s May 31 meeting, with Couns. Brenda Locke and Steven Pettigrew opposed.
“This one here, this is just way too much for me,” Pettigrew said during discussion prior to the vote, referring to what he described as a “massive tree loss” associated with the two-building application.
According to a planning report, just 11 of 502 trees on the sites are to be retained, and there is a deficit of 595 replacement trees.
“That’s twice the size of Hawthorne that was cut down,” Pettigrew said, referring to the 2018 clearing that was done in north Surrey’s Hawthorne Park to make way for a road through the greenspace.
Just 411 of the 1,006 required under city rules are to be replanted at the Campbell Heights site, with the deficit covered by a cash-in-lieu payment of $238,000 to Surrey’s Green City Program.
The tree loss was also a source of concern for speakers at a public hearing on the application held earlier in the evening.
Deb Jack, president of Surrey Environmental Partners, said it “defies the principles of bio-diversity retention.” The only positive to the application, she continued, is the plan to light it using the Dark Sky Model, which “advocates for lighting that minimizes the harmful effects of light pollution on natural environments and the neighbouring residential area,” according to the planning report.
“Indeed, I wonder why that model has not been required of all buildings in Campbell Heights,” Jack said.
Following notification letters sent in January to properties within 100 metres of the site, including 23 to residents along 196 Street in the Township of Langley, the city received 30 responses – 14 expressing opposition and 16 in support. Opponents were largely Township residents, the report notes.
Langley Township council in February passed a resolution to request that the City of Surrey not approve a variance sought to reduce the landscape buffer along 196 Street by a third, to a 20-metre width from 30.
The buffer is intended to reduce the visual, physical and noise pollution to the adjacent Township residences. In supporting its reduction – provided that a “robust” buffer is still delivered – city staff cited a steady increase in densities since 2000, a significant increase in the cost of industrial land and the shortage of available industrial land in Metro Vancouver.
The planned buildings measure 19,728 and 21,377 sq.m.
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