Gary Cameron and Victoria Blinkhorn represent Grandview Heights residents who oppose a duplex project eyed for the 16600-block of 26 Avenue.

Gary Cameron and Victoria Blinkhorn represent Grandview Heights residents who oppose a duplex project eyed for the 16600-block of 26 Avenue.

Development opponents say rejection will be short-lived

Grandview Heights duplex development turned down by Surrey council

A proposal to build 16 duplex units across the street from homes on acreage in Grandview Heights was denied third reading at Surrey City Hall last week.

But residents who oppose the project stopped well short of calling the move a victory, saying the message from council is that duplexes on the site will still be the end result.

“We might as well not even showed up,” said Gary Cameron, of the July 27 decision regarding Tara Developments’ application for the 16600-block of 26 Avenue. “There was no indication (council) heard anything we said about the development.”

Tara Developments has applied to build 16 semi-detached units and one single-family home on approximately two acres.

The application received first and second reading on July 13, despite a planning report recommending council refer the project back to staff and the applicant “for further dialogue with area residents to address outstanding issues.”

Those issues include that residents do not want high-density in the area. They want development that is more consistent with what already exists: single-family homes, and sensitive transitions that protect the neighbourhood from encroaching urbanization.

Following a public hearing July 27, council voted 5-3 against giving the application third reading, then, on a motion from Coun. Dave Woods, voted to refer it back to staff.

Cameron – who helped collect more than 350 signatures in a week on a petition against the application – said the message he heard from council Monday is that a similar project will ultimately proceed.

“They were basically saying the will of council is, we’re going to keep high-density duplexes,” he told Peace Arch News.

“It’s been sent back. But we’ve been told it’s going to be roughly the same development no matter what. It wasn’t a resounding victory by any means.”

Residents told council the developer has refused to consider their concerns, which include that the project does not fit with the character of the large-lot neighbourhood. Other developers have been much more receptive to compromises, they said.

That point was reiterated a number of times during Monday’s public hearing, prior to the votes.

One speaker said Tara Developments’ plan shows “no consistency but a jarring disconnect.” Another speaker, Sandra Houghton, asked council to “not allow developers to compromise our standards.”

Resident Mike Proskow said the proponent “has chosen to advance a plan for the community that puts them at odds with every stakeholder involved.”

Architect Mark Ankenman, however, disputed the comments and noted the project falls within the guidelines of the Neighbourhood Concept Plan, completed in 2012.

“If there’s a range of opportunities in the NCP that the neighbourhood doesn’t want, then that range of opportunities shouldn’t be in the NCP,” he said, noting the increased density cited “ain’t us,” but will come from a project going in behind Tara Developments’.

Ankenman told council he regrets getting to this point in the process without an agreement with neighbours.

“It’s a growing community and what we’re trying to do is densify in the most sensitive way,” he said. “Believe me, neighbours, I have been respectful.”

In voicing opposition to third reading, Coun. Judy Villeneuve noted the residents’ interest for more dialogue. The petition, she added, is “something that we need to listen to.”

“I hope if it’s referred back to planning, then somebody will move,” she said. “I do believe that a sensitive interface is important… and this project just isn’t there yet.”

Mayor Linda Hepner, noting her support for the project, described it as a good compromise that will provide more options for people who want to live in properties that look like large estate homes but can’t afford to.

In bringing forward his motion, Woods said he did not have a problem with the duplexes’ design, just that they were too “squished together.”

He’s also concerned about the impasse between the applicant and residents.

“There has to be movement,” he said. “There has to be movement big-time, and there has to be compromise.”

Villeneuve agreed there are possibilities for the site – including that of large, single-family homes – “if there would be some compromise and some work on this application.”

Just Posted

Councillor Doug Elford. (File photo: Amy Reid)
Elford to join Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society as a director

Fellow Safe Surrey Coalition Councillors Laurie Guerra, Mandeep Nagra and Allison Patton will be re-appointed to the board

A cyclist stops traffic to allow a gaggle of geese cross the road. (Tino Fluckiger photo)
White Rock man asks motorists to be mindful of wildlife after close call

Impatient motorists drives into oncoming traffic

Big Splash water park is located in Tsawwassen. (submitted photo)
Big Splash reopens Canada Day with changes to keep the water park ‘safe for everyone’

Executive Hotels & Resorts has owned and operated the attraction since 2017

Elgin Park Secondary students rally for climate change outside of their South Surrey in 2019. (Nick Greenizan photo)
City of Surrey set to host online climate-action panel

June 23 Zoom event to include speakers, question-and-answer period

(Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey council moves to reduce parking along rapid transit corridors

This also targets rental housing developments in Rapid Transit Areas

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Members of the Department of National Defence are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed his worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact,’ said Sgt. Peter DeVries

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says re-opening B.C.’s border to the U.S. ‘is not in our best interest’ right now. (B.C. Government photo)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (B.C. Government photo)
B.C. records 113 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, four deaths

Vaccination of young people rising quickly, near 75 per cent

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S President Joe Biden shake hands during their meeting at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
Biden says meeting with Putin not a ‘kumbaya moment’

But U.S. president asserted Russian leader is interested in improved relations, averting a Cold War

Vancouver Giants will return to the ice on Oct. 8, hosting the Prince George Cougars at Langley Events Centre. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Vancouver Giants will renew division rivalry with Cougars when season resumes in October

First game on Langley Events Centre home ice since February of last year

Most Read