Map highlights the roughly 1,000-acre Anniedale-Tynhead NCP area. (Photo: surrey.ca)

Duelling petitions launched regarding build-out of Anniedale-Tynehead NCP

City plans envision a population the size of White Rock in a currently rural area, south of Port Kells

A proposal to build a pump station has prompted some to call on Surrey council to pause and review the Neighbourhood Concept Plan for Anniedale-Tynehead, which would “take a rural area and ram the equivalent of White Rock’s population into it.”

“There’s no sewer, insufficient water and road networks, insufficient transit. There’s basically nothing,” added Bob Campbell of Surrey Citizen Leaders, which describes itself as an ad hoc group of “at least 50 of Surrey’s most involved citizens.”

“If they start now and get this first pump station, that investment will mean they’ll be very obligated to move forward and do the rest. Here’s a chance to go back in the past and change something that was done,” said Campbell of the 1,000-acre NCP area, noting his concern over what would be the “devastation of agricultural lands.”

At the same time, others are pushing the city to move forward with the “extremely critical development application” that will “finally bring services, and all its benefits, to Anniedale-Tynehead.”

This NCP was approved by council in 2012. The area, south of Port Kells, is generally bounded by Highway 1 and 96th Avenue to the north, 168th Street to the west, the Agricultural Land Reserve to the south and Harvie Road to the east.

“Originally characterized by its rural acreage lots and agricultural uses, the area is now designated to support urban development and the future home of up to 20,000 Surrey residents,” according to city documents. “Situated over gently sloping highlands, the area provides excellent views of the agricultural lowlands. It is also home to many significant and protected watercourses, including the Serpentine River and several of its tributaries.”

A city report in April notes “little or no (re)development within the NCP area” has occurred “given the need for a substantial initial engineering infrastructure investment through a front-ending developer.”

But this proposal, which is at public hearing on May 13, could change that.

The applicant seeks council’s blessing to subdivide 17141 92nd Ave. and 9235 172nd St. into one single family lot, two for municipal infrastructure (a sanitary pump station and detention pond) and one riparian lot.

City staff note a Development Cost Charges Front-Ending Agreement and a Development Works Agreement with the applicant will “provide the initial backbone of infrastructure required” for redevelopment to begin.

For his part, Campbell urged council to “pause” the application, and launch a full review of the NCP.

“This is a golden opportunity,” he said, noting Mayor Doug McCallum has vowed to only approve “smart development.”

“Why don’t you at least pause the development, then go back and look at the plan with today’s sensibilities, respecting the tree issues, the green issues, the loss of agricultural land, all of it.”

Also concerned about the neighbourhood plan, and this latest application, is Surrey Environmental Partners President Deb Jack.

Jack shares the concern about the size of the community currently envisioned, and the lack of infrastructure.

“Sewer, power, all of that, it’s not in and they can’t build without it. That’s the hard infrastructure. There’s also the social infrastructure, things such as parks and schools,” she told the Now-Leader.

“There are some areas that have significant biodiversity values, along the edge of 92nd Avenue and the edge of the Agricultural Land Reserve,” said jack. “Given the NCP was done about 10 years ago, we know more about how important conserving for biodiversity values now than we did 10 years ago. This might well be a useful and appropriate time to reconsider and review that NCP for all those considerations.”

A change.org petition that has garnered more than 375 signatures echoes Jack and Campbell’s comments, highlighting a variety of concerns, such as protecting forested area near agricultural land; protecting salmon habitat; lack of infrastructure such as schools, transportation and community centres; and resulting traffic congestion.

“Look at what has resulted from the over-development of Clayton,” the petition states. “We call upon Mayor Doug McCallum and the newly elected Surrey City Council to halt any further planning or development in the Anniedale-Tynehead area until all impact studies have been completed and made available to the public and Council has informed and consulted with the citizens of Surrey.”

“We should be focusing our growth in current town centres and frequent transit development areas,” it adds.

But an opposing change.org petition, signed by more than 425 people, urges council to approve the application, saying it “will finally bring services, and all its benefits, to Anniedale-Tynehead. It will mean things like city supplied water and sewers, sidewalks and streetlights, and convenient public transit.”

The petition states local homeowners don’t invest in their properties because they’re unsure of how long they will continue living there; that speculative investors buy properties for land value and leave houses to deteriorate; and that crime increases as houses are left vacant or rented to transient tenants.

“We need the City to approve the application,” the petition states. “Our neighbourhood has already seen many false starts to development over the years. Residents have had their hopes raised by developer interest, but due to the City’s inaction, delays, and poor planning, nothing has been actualized.”

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