Protest against City of Surrey’s plan to build a road at the south end of Bear Creek Park. (Photo submitted)

Protest against City of Surrey’s plan to build a road at the south end of Bear Creek Park. (Photo submitted)

Gulf widens over Surrey council’s plan to expand 84th Avenue at south end of Bear Creek Park

Sebastian Sajda, organizer of Friends of Bear Creek Park, says city’s plan will ‘destroy’ one of Surrey’s intact green spaces

Battle trenches were dug deeper Monday night as council debated the controversial plan to connect 84th Avenue to King George Boulevard and 140th Street, at the south end of Bear Creek Park, while Friends of Bear Creek Park staged a protest against the project outside city hall.

Sebastian Sajda, president of Force of Nature and organizer of Friends of Bear Creek Park, says the city’s plan will “destroy” one of Surrey’s intact green spaces and threaten salmon spawning streams and animal habitat “directly in the path of the proposed road.”

The Safe Surrey Coalition majority decided on a five-to-four vote to authorize city staff to proceed with “detailed design” of the project and tendering for its construction once the design is complete.

Councillors Linda Annis, Brenda Locke, Jack Hundial and Steven Pettigrew did not want to receive the corporate report.

“I don’t have faith in the data I’ve received,” Hundial said. Annis echoed that. “I think the process around this was flawed,” she said. “We should have been doing more consulting with the people in Surrey as to whether or not they wanted this road to go through what I consider to be a very iconic park.”

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum demanded she apologize, mistaken that Annis had said “fraud,” and not “flawed.”

“Okay,” he said, after Councillor Allison Patton corrected him.

READ ALSO: Environmentalists’ delegation takes aim at Bear Creek Park road project

READ ALSO: Environmental protesters rally outside Surrey mill

READ ALSO FOCUS ROAD RAGE: Opposition mounts anew to Surrey’s plan for 84th Ave. at south end of Bear Creek Park

According to Scott Neuman, Surrey’s general manager of engineering, the City of Surrey issued a survey which received 3,142 responses with 95 per cent from Surrey residents.

He said 70 per cent chose road safety, traffic flow and connectivity as their “number one” priority versus 30 per cent “who identified environmental protection and walking/cycling/transit as their first priority.”

Sajda told the Now-Leader on Monday that the protesters “want to really raise awareness that the public engagement was very flawed. They didn’t ask the question whether or not people wanted the road.”

homelessphoto

Sebastian Sajda. (Submitted photo)

He said a city “package” includes a 500-person petition on behalf of those in support of the road, submitted as a part of the public consultation.

“Just this morning we submitted our petition, which is about 7,000 people. That’s quite a difference in terms of the support versus opposition.” The petition contained 6,845 signatures.

Pettigrew questioned why the city’s survey did not ask if they want the road or not. “That would give us a real clear indication of where people stand,” he said. Locke asked how many trees will be removed, and if they are in the park.

Neuman replied that the current proposed design has the entire road within the road allowance. “The road is not going through the reservation area of Bear Creek. “For the road, there will be 50 trees removed,” he said. “All trees are within the existing road allowance and/or under the powerlines.”

Pettigrew said the gulf between petitions’ numbers “weighs quite heavily on me. I will not be supporting this going through in any aspect.”

Councillor Mandeep Nagra asked when the deadline was to submit petitions. The city clerk replied it was noon Monday.

He said it was his understanding the deadline was May 19.

“I still get numbers of calls every day for people who wants to sign in support of this road going through. So this petition of 6,800 coming today, I think it’s not fair,” Nagra said Monday.

McCallum said that “when a deadline is given, to be fair to everybody, then we should not be receiving a petition afterward or it should not be accepted.”

Sajda voiced “strong objection” to this.

“As an informational petition under the Community Charter, we are permitted to comment on any matter before council (or not before council) as long as we submit prior to the deadline for commenting on an agenda item (noon),” he said. “I would encourage the mayor and all members of council to review the Community Charter as it governs many of the activities of the City of Surrey.”

Meantime, Locke said Monday the public engagement was flawed in that there was no advertisement done in local media. “The only advertisement in media that was used was Red FM,” she said. “I think that certainly reaches a component of the community but it doesn’t reach the broader community. And then everything else was pretty much, you know, social media and the city website. I think there should have been a much more expansive reach.”

“Just putting it on the city website doesn’t cut it,” she added Tuesday. “We should be putting it in the Now-Leader. That’s where people go to for their news. How else will they know? They go to community newspapers for that kind of information.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram  and follow Tom on Twitter

City of SurreyEnvironmentprotest

Just Posted

Outdoor vendors at the Cloverdale Flea Market are seen in this bird’s eye view image from the flea market’s Facebook page.
Cloverdale Flea Market to reopen

Market to open June 20 after being closed since Nov. 2020

Rahim Manji owns and operates the Hollywood 3 Cinemas in Newton, along with the Caprice in South Surrey, a theatre in Duncan and another in Pitt Meadows. “I think right now it feels different than last June, it just does,” Manji said. “I’m a lot more optimistic, with more people calling, more people out and getting vaccinated, so I think the comfort level is a lot better.” (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey movie theatre operators reopen and rejoice, even with 50-max capacity

‘We have been one of the hardest-hit industries’

(Delta Police Department photo)
Delta police searching for Surrey woman missing at Centennial Beach

Wenyan Lan, 54, reported missing when she didn’t come home from a crabbing/clam digging trip June 14

Popular event/party band March Hare will appear in an online streamed performance Friday (June 18) featuring their salute to music of the `60s and `70s as part of BEC Entertainment’s Grand Summer Virtual Concert series. (Contributed photo)
White Rock-based BEC Entertainment continues Friday-night virtual concerts

March Hare and California Surf Incorporated featured

Ian MacDonald, spokesman for Surrey Police Service. (Submitted photo)
Surrey Police Service launches public consultation campaign

This is to help the SPS form its first strategic plan

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Most Read