Environmentalist and Surrey council candidate Sebastian Sajda says a precedent for the protection of other parks besides Bear Creek Park in Surrey could be set if the B.C. Supreme Courts orders a permanent injunction for work to cease on the 84th Avenue extension at the south end of Bear Creek Park.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge on Friday made an iterim order for the City of Surrey to stop construction on the connection between King George Boulevard and 140th Street until an application for a permanent injunction is heard on August 19.
“This is a great moment for the campaign to save Bear Creek Park,” Sajda said. “If this ends up going forward and it’s decided in our favour it potentially creates a precedent for other parks to be protected. That would absolutely be a huge victory for us.”
The Force of Nature Society, Sajda and Annie Kaps filed a petition with the B.C. Supreme Court against the City of Surrey last week asking the court to declare as parkland properties impacted by the 84th Avenue project.
Sajda is hoping to be elected to council in 2021, running with the Surrey Connect slate, and Annie Kaps is a Surrey resident. They are seeking a permanent injunction that would prevent the city from building the proposed extension “or any similar highway in a manner which encroaches on the impacted properties in any way, without obtaining the assent of electors to the same via a public referendum.”
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum could not be reached for comment by press time.
Meantime, about 25 protesters opposed to Surrey’s plan to build the road staged a rally outside city hall on Thursday afternoon and another was held on Saturday, attended by BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau.
The Force of Nature was founded in 2014 with an aim to combat climate change and has 140 voting members, among them scientists and experts in environment-related fields. The petition was filed July 27 in Vancouver.
The petitioners are represented by Farris LLP Barristers & Solicitors in Vancouver.
They argue that the proposed road extension will have “significant and irreversible impacts on Bear Creek Park, including environmental harm.”
The petition to the court states that “This is a matter which engages the interests of all Surrey resident, based on the high importance of Bear Creek Park to municipal life in the City of Surrey, as well as the interest of all citizens in ensuring that municipal government acts in accordance with the law.”