Close to 150 acres of property with “high ecological value,” has been preserved in South Surrey in recent months – including more than five acres set aside by Surrey council late last month – for future parkland and biodiversity uses.
Addressing members of South Surrey White Rock Chamber of Commerce at the organization’s annual general meeting Tuesday (June 25), Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum noted that a large section of land in Campbell Heights had been earmarked as parkland by the city.
Meanwhile, at its June 24 meeting, Surrey council also endorsed purchasing a 5.57-acre property at 1916 176 St. – adjacent to Redwood Park – for parkland purposes.
According to a staff report, the latter acquisition “will help complete a long-term strategy of enlarging Redwood Park to allow for future park uses as the surrounding neighbourhoods develop.”
Acquisition of the Campbell Heights land – a 142.48-acre portion of property at 18793 32 Ave. – was approved by Surrey council in December and completed in January. According to a staff report submitted at the time, the land is intended for “biodiversity conservation purposes.”
The Campbell Heights land, is a remainder lot subdivided from the property, formerly owned by the provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
Acquisition had been under discussion by the city and the ministry since 2014; the ministry will continue to own an 11.6-acre area at the southeast corner of the property (on 32 Avenue) for operation of an existing tree seed centre.
The report notes the acquisition is in line with the city’s biodiversity conservation strategy, which includes identifying a network of lands in Surrey “critical for preservation of regional biodiversity.”
According to the report, the acquired land has “high ecological value, a mix of deciduous and coniferous forests and habitat for a variety of animals.”
The land, which is part of the Agricultural Land Reserve, also contains several watercourses – including Eldon Brook and Laughlin Creek – two of which are fish bearing. It is also part of an important north-south habitat connector between the Nicomekl River to the north and the Little Campbell River to the south.
Among “sustainability considerations” outlined by staff were that the land is in keeping with a city strategic direction to “provide opportunities for all residents, especially children, to interact with green spaces and trees.”
The acquisition was paid for out of the city’s own biodiversity conservation strategy and ‘Green City’ funds.