A Cloverdale neighbourhood’s last acreage is closer to subdivision, after a proposal to divide two adjacent lots into 10 single-family homes passed third reading at a City of Surrey council meeting on Monday.
The two lots, located at 18572 58 Avenue and 18609 57 Avenue, are in a residential neighbourhood just off of Highway 10, near Martha Currie Elementary.
The proposal to create smaller, one-family lots would fit the area, insofar as it would match neighbouring properties and conform to the official community plan.
But two speakers at the Feb. 11 meeting spoke to say that the site, which is noted in a city report as the “last single-family acreage property” in that area of Cloverdale, is an important haven for local wildlife.
Deb Jack, president of Surrey Environmental Partners, expressed concern about the impact the project could have on the city’s “overall canopy.”
The property is not within a conservation area; it is not officially identified as a hub or a corridor in the City of Surrey’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy. Nevertheless, Jack said, “it is not only the hubs, sites and corridors about which we are concerned. It is the entire living habitat that we have in the city.”
The habitat loss from a project like this “may not be abundantly significant. It may, indeed, not even be a high value… but nonetheless it is habitat for something or other and it contributes … to the overall canopy of the city, of which council has been informed both by staff and by citizens, we’re losing at a rapid rate.”
Jack also expressed concerns for three trees fronting 58th Avenue, which would be removed to widen the road and provide new driveway access. “I don’t think we should be willy-nilly removing boulevard trees without making explicit reasons why those have to be removed,” she said. “Why can’t we have a meandering sidewalk or something of that nature so we keep these mature trees.”
A neighbouring resident of the proposed development also spoke at the council meeting with concerns about the destruction of animal habitat. Stephanie Brown told council of a nearby lot that had been “bulldozed” and the effect that it had on her neighbourhood.
“We’ve already noticed huge decrease of animal life. We used to have coyotes in the back,” she said. “We don’t hear them anymore. Owls, we don’t hear them anymore. Lots of hummingbirds used to come, they don’t come anymore.”
Brown also noted concerns about increased traffic resulting from the development, as the neighbourhood is home to many children.
As part of the project, a road would be built to connect 57 Avenue and 58 Avenue to a future road through the site itself. The developer would also complete the construction of an existing 56B Avenue cul-de-sac.
| As part of the proposal, the developer would be required to construct roads connecting 57 Avenue and 58 Avenue to a through-road to be built on the site, and complete the 56B Avenue cul-de-sac, pictured here.
City of Surrey
Mike Kompter, who spoke as a representative for the developer, said the project is “not asking for any higher density, it’s basically an infill lot.” The lot sizes, he said, will match the existing area, and he went on to point out that a 57th Avenue road will be “finally” constructed, “providing a linkage for traffic movement.”
As for the three trees fronting the property, he said they will be removed and replaced with 10 boulevard trees along 58 and 57 Avenues, as well as the 56B Avenue cul-de-sac.
Twenty-seven trees, including the three boulevard trees, would be removed during construction. Twenty-eight trees would be planted to replace them, and the developer will be required to contribute $19,600 to the Green City Fund.
Parks, Recreation & Culture expressed concern that the development would put pressure on park amenities in the area, but will accept $4,000, or $500 per lot, from the developer to “address these concerns.”
The applicant expects that, if approved, the project could be ready for occupancy by winter of 2020. The project would add an estimated five students to Sunrise Ridge Elementary and three students to Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary. Secondary suites would be permitted on all 10 lots.
The project passed third reading from council, but not without opposition. Councillor Steven Pettigrew said he will “be denying this. I’ve heard the comments of the people.”
“This is the last remaining single-family acreage property in this area of Cloverdale,” he said. “I know this neighbourhood is patterned of this application but it’s just such a beautiful piece of area that’s so important to the biodiversity in the city and to the people of the community. I just can’t bring myself to vote to support its destruction, the thriving ecosystem that’s contained in it.”
Pettigrew was the sole vote in opposition of the project. The application passed third reading.
—with files from Amy Reid