The City of Surrey has added 142.48 acres of parkland to its “biodiversity” inventory, and the move is being praised by a longtime environmental champion in the city.
Councillors approved the acquisition of the land from the province, located at 18793 32 Ave., at Monday’s council meeting.
“It is so pleasing, if not even exciting, about this acquisition of a hub,” said Deb Jack, president of Surrey Environmental Partners who was named Surrey’s Good Citizen of the Year in 2012 for her tireless conservation efforts.
“To my knowledge this is the first big hub the city has purchased period,” and since the City of Surrey adopted the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (BCS) in 2014, said Jack.
“This is a really big deal because we have, through development and the failure of the city to purchase important lands, lost so many hubs and chunks of so many corridors,” she added.
Hubs in the BCS, Jack explained, “are like great big circles of land and the corridors are lines that join them” and are identified in the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy, which aims to preserve green infrastructure and ecosystems across the city. The BCS identifies approximately 10,200 acres of land to be preserved in its natural state within the city’s Green Infrastructure Network (GIN) to maintain the city’s biodiversity.
The strategy provides a mapping inventory of environmental features, ecological assets, vegetation types, as well as a determination of specific habitat criteria including the location and characteristics of corridors, sites and hubs.
During the Dec. 17 council meeting, Mayor Doug McCallum also expressed his pleasure that the land had been acquired.
“I have to say this is a really good one, buying this huge park up there, or land up there in Campbell Heights. I think its a very needed parkland or protection, really, of trees,” McCallum said.
The lot, which the city refers to as the Remainder Lot, is to be protected for its natural assets.
“The Remainder Lot has high ecological value, a mix of deciduous and coniferous forests and habitat for a variety of animals. It also contains several watercourse, two of which are fish bearing. It is also part of an important north-south habitat connector between the Nicomekl River to the north and the Little Campbell River to the south,” the staff report states.
Although the purchase price of the lot was not discussed at Monday’s meeting, the staff report states the “purchase and sale agreement are considered reasonable.”
-With files from Amy Reid