Regardless of whether you agree with their cause, in a democracy, the kind of civic passion shown by these Surrey residents is not commonly mustered. It’s healthy. It’s important. It’s needed. (Now-Leader photos)

OUR VIEW: Passion of Surrey protesters should be celebrated

Agree with them or not, this kind of civic passion is not commonly mustered. It’s healthy. It’s important. It’s needed.

Whether you agree with opponents of a road through Hawthorne Park or not, their dedication cannot be denied.

Take, for example, Surrey’s Trevor Cox. He stood in front of a bright orange excavator and told the Now-Leader he plans to stand there all day and is willing to be arrested, if need be.

“I’m willing to go to jail for it,” he told us.

Cox said as he made his stand, workers yelled at him, asking if he’s willing to risk his life for the trees.

“And I said, ‘yes I do.’”

Then there’s Tracie Woodhams, one of about a dozen protesters at the park on Tuesday morning. She was angry. And tired.

“You have no idea how exhausted some of us are with all of the stuff we have had to do, all the hoops we have had to jump through,” said Woodhams, who held high a yellow sign that read “Save Hawthorne Park,” cars honking as they went by.

“And the fact it appears as if nobody is listening.”

There’s Richard Landale, who told the Now-Leader he was “heartbroken” as chainsaws could be heard in Hawthorne Park. He says council wants LRT “at any price – the environment is the price.”

There’s Roslyn Cassells, who took on the city in Supreme Court this week, in an effort to halt the controversial road planned through the park.

While she was unsuccessful in that effort, her passion and drive must be commended, as should the people listed above.

Regardless of whether you agree with their cause, in a democracy, that kind of civic passion is not commonly mustered. It’s healthy. It’s important. It’s needed.

Surrey, along with countless other municipalities, has seen woefully low voter turnout and engagement at the civic level.

In November 2014, about 35 per cent of Surrey’s registered voters cast their votes and elected all nine Surrey First members to run this city.

In 2011 and 2008, the numbers were even lower, when about 25 and 24.1 per cent of eligible voters took part in the election, respectively.

We want to see voter turnout spike this year.

Let’s encourage and celebrate the passion being displayed by the people trying to ‘Save Hawthorne Park,’ including the group’s leader Steven Pettigrew. These people love their community and they care about its future.

Regardless of where you stand on this issue, we hope you participate in the dialogue as the election campaigns ramp up.

And please – please – get out and vote.

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