Hopeful residents await compromise

Residents concerned with plans for a dead-end South Surrey road say a meeting with city officials has left them cautiously optimistic.

Residents concerned with plans for a dead-end South Surrey road say a meeting with city officials has left them cautiously optimistic.

“I don’t think we’re going to get everything we want, but that’s not usually the case,” said Linda Long, one of three residents who made a presentation to City of Surrey staff last Wednesday, on behalf of more than 50 neighbours.

“In most situations, you have to compromise. We’ll have to see what comes out of this.”

Long was among residents of the 15500-block of 16A Avenue who spoke with Peace Arch News last month after receiving what they described as conflicting information regarding what was to happen to mature trees in an area scheduled for storm-sewer upgrades.

They were also concerned with city plans to push 16A Avenue through to 156 Street, citing increased traffic volume and speed, impacts to pedestrian safety, and the removal of even more trees.

City officials told PAN at that time that the storm-sewer upgrades were part of the recently approved hospice facility that is to be built at 15433 16A Ave., and that making 16A Avenue a through-road has been on their agenda “for years” – and likely to become reality once a 200-bed residential-care facility proposed by Peace Arch Hospital and Community Health Foundation for the corner of 156 Street and 17 Avenue gets the go-ahead.

Long said city staff pledged at last week’s meeting to review residents’ concerns and “take them back to their managers.”

“We did leave with a very positive feeling that they will do what they can to meet our needs as well as theirs,” she said.

Thursday morning, the residents were advised of plans to retain three additional trees during the storm-sewer upgrades – work that had been scheduled to get underway that morning. An arborist was also proposed to be on-site to supervise the work and suggest ways to reduce impact to the trees.

“We’ve made some progress,” said Long. “Originally, they were going to take out four trees and now they’re only going to take out one. To me, that’s a positive.”

Regarding 16A Avenue, Long said residents are hoping for an update later this month.

“My feeling is they do have the option to not open up that road, but ultimately, it’s the city’s decision,” she said.

City staff were unavailable to comment before PAN’s press deadline Tuesday morning.