The Fergus Watershed Biodiversity Preserve consists of 67 acres of ecosystems and wildlife habitat between 168 Street and Highway 99 north of 12 Avenue.

A watershed moment for the City of Surrey

Environmentalists hail new precedent for parks established by the Fergus Watershed Biodiversity Preserve

Environmental groups are giving a thumbs up to an innovative South Surrey nature preserve planned by the City of Surrey.

The Fergus Watershed Biodiversity Preserve, a 67-acre rural area between 168 Street and Highway 99 – bounded on the north by 15 Avenue and on the south by 12 Avenue – has been earmarked as an area where sensitive ecosystems and critical wildlife habitat will be both protected and enhanced.

A management plan for the preserve was approved by council in March, as a preliminary to staff bringing forward a draft park-dedication bylaw.

According to the plan, the emphasis on biodiversity is a first for the city, enshrining the notion of preserving and promoting diverse habitats as part of a broader intention.

Among groups expressing approval of the direction taken by Surrey Parks staff are the Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society, the Little Campbell Watershed Society, the Semiahmoo Fish and Game Club, Surrey Environmental Partners and A Rocha Canada, all of whom have partnered through representation on the preserve’s advisory committee.

While the groups say there is more work to be done – they’re concerned about how a necessary access road and parking lot will be constructed, how buffer zones will be established and whether bylaw monitoring will be adequate to discourage public abuse of the area – they recognize the plan as a significant step in environmental protection in the city.

It’s even more significant, they say, since it’s a turnaround in staff thinking since council adopted the name Fergus Watershed Park in 2010 and started holding open houses and workshops in 2013.

Initial discussion seemed to suggest the sensitive area was being considered for multiple recreational uses  – including extensive trails, picnic areas and a disc-golf facility, all of which environmentalists feel would have defeated the purpose of a preserve.

But Margaret Cuthbert, president of the Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society, said the united voice of environmental groups has clearly been heeded by Surrey Parks staff.

“They really listened,” she said. “This is a real opportunity to do something different – this is going to be a first.”

The ecosystem provided by the watershed is home to precious natural habitat for many species, including migratory birds, she added.

“I’d like to see more parks like this,” she said, noting that preserving a biodiverse environment of native species is more beneficial for wildlife than the common approach – neatly manicured and landscaped parks planted with tulips and marigolds.

“I’d like to see more of the boulevards planted with native plants to feed the birds – you’d be surprised what even a network of small areas like that can do.”

The environmental groups involved in the advisory committee for the preserve will also be stepping up to make the area even more meaningful to the general public.

“We’ve committed to doing interpretation,” Cuthbert said. “We’ll be offering walks for people through the preserve, and if they want to do even more native-species planting, we can help.”

 

Just Posted

New West mayor says Surrey won’t be left out in transit 10-year plan

Jonathan Cote one of two speakers at luncheon focusing on transportation, land use planning

UPDATE: Missing Surrey snowshoer found dead on Mt. Seymour

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside North Delta elementary school

The officer was intervening in an alleged assault outside of Immaculate Conception School when he and the woman were stabbed

Suspect charged after four Surrey banks were robbed in just four hours

Financial institutions in North Surrey targeted on Feb. 12

Surrey says WorkSafeBC should be in charge of asbestos abatement

City staff say WorkSafeBC has ‘greater knowledge, experience and expertise’ concerning asbestos

VIDEO: Nail-biter game against Germany tonight earns Langley’s Team Canada a win

Langley’s Team Tardi is 5-2 at the junior curling worlds in Nova Scotia, hoping to defend their title

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Experts urge caution after 10 human-triggered avalanches across B.C.

One man is still stuck after avalanche on south coast

Most Read

l -->