Redwood Heights Citizens Advisory Committee member Mike Proskow said Surrey should not be rushing development of the area

Redwood Heights Citizens Advisory Committee member Mike Proskow said Surrey should not be rushing development of the area

‘City staff will default to will of council’

A member of the Citizens Advisory Committee for Redwood Heights in South Surrey fears current transportation studies won't delay development

The Redwood Heights Neighbourhood Concept Plan – currently in a holding pattern awaiting results of engineering, transportation and infrastructure studies – still has a lone voice of opposition on the Redwood Heights Citizens Advisory Committee.

CAC member Mike Proskow told Peace Arch News while he acknowledges that some redevelopment of the predominantly rural area – formerly known as Grandview Heights 4 – is inevitable, he doesn’t believe it should be leap-frogging ahead of Surrey’s other, longer-established NCPs.

Proskow, who represented the Country Woods Residents Association when the committee was first formed in 2010, noted he is the only remaining “resident” member of the committee – that is, one who is not a developer or agent of outside property holders.

He said that while he applauds city staff’s “vision” – and the current widening of study boundaries to view regional transportation ramifications – he hasn’t changed his view that pursuing the Redwood Heights NCP is “premature and destabilizing for the city.”

While he approves of the work of staff, he said, “the reality is they will default to the will of council.”

“There is a lack of willingness (by council) to discuss anything other than pushing this in and building the tax base,” he added.

And Proskow also echoes concerns about the impact of high-density residential development in the area that were raised before the land-use concept was approved in October 2013 – even though the plan includes transition zones and preservation of a wildlife corridor and ‘hub’.

“We’re building a parking lot,” Proskow said.

The Redwood Heights NCP area is a wedge of land west of Highway 15 (176 Street) from 20 to 32 avenues, bounded on the east by 184 Street and a diagonal border along McMillan Road northwest to 32 Avenue.

Proskow said it cannot be viewed in isolation from other area impacts, such as a proposed truck-parking facility at 16 Avenue and 194 Street, and future plans to expand the 16 Avenue corridor to accommodate more industrial traffic.

Fellow CAC member Avtar Johl – representing one of the principal land holders in Redwood Heights – told PAN the majority of the committee is in favour of proceeding with the NCP.

“The land use has already been determined,” Johl said.

But Proskow said that doesn’t mean opponents are without recourse in delaying implementation, particularly since development adjacent to Highway 15 will come under the purview of the provincial Ministry of Transportation.

“The recourse is in the timing of when this happens,” he said.