Porte Communities president David Porte discusses his residential development proposal for Rosemary Heights at a June 9 public information meeting at Morgan Creek Golf Course.

Porte Communities president David Porte discusses his residential development proposal for Rosemary Heights at a June 9 public information meeting at Morgan Creek Golf Course.

Porte plan for Rosemary Heights development receives mixed reaction

Proposal for 330 homes raises questions of traffic, schools and environmental impact on neighborhood

A public information meeting for a 330-home development proposal in Rosemary Heights drew more than 125 people to Morgan Creek Golf Course on Thursday (June 9).

The presentation, by Porte Communities, included a concept plan for some 300 high, medium and low-density townhomes, plus 30 single family homes for a 28-acre parcel at 3660 and 3690 152 St.

Currently zoned for institutional use only, the predominantly forest property includes the Rosemary Heights Retreat Centre, overlooking the Nikomekl River.

While described as “an exciting opportunity” by Porte, the proposal seemed to be receiving a mixed reaction from those attending the meeting, while project  representatives assured questioners that nothing in the plan is “set in stone.”

The proposal has already received push-back from some neighborhood residents, who say they plan to create a Rosemary Heights community association to ensure the existing Neighborhood Concept Plan overrides rezoning for the proposed development.

One of those residents, Scott Branden, was outside the meeting room Thursday,  taking names and addresses with the aim of creating an email list of people who “have concerns about the project.”

The area is still owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver, which closed the retreat in December citing declining interest in booking such facilities.

A statement released by the Archdiocese at the time said that it “hopes to realize the best value possible for the Rosemary Heights property.”

A timeline on one of the information boards at the meeting showed that a rezoning application is expected to be submitted this summer, with a City of Surrey open house to follow in early fall, leading into a city application review in the fall and winter.

Depending on approval, Porte is aiming at a summer 2017 start on subdivision and offsite servicing, with phased construction beginning in the fall, and completion of the last phase projected for late 2020.

“We’re at an early stage right now,” company president David Porte told Peace Arch News at the beginning of the meeting, noting that comment sheets were also being circulated to all attendees.

“We want to talk to the community and get their feedback,” he said, adding that he had already heard from some residents who viewed the proposal as ” a positive change for the neighborhood.”

The presentation boards asserted that the project fits in with existing NCP principles by employing a ‘west coast design aesthetic’ and creating pathways that connect to an existing neighborhood greenway, plus creating a new greenway at the top of the river embankment.

“Approximately six acres will be dedicated parkland, while residential development will be clustered to retain as many trees as possible…natural areas that possess high environmental sensitivity will be protected and designated for open space purposes,” the presentation noted.

A comprehensive traffic study will examine access to the development “via car, bicycle, pedestrian (traffic) and transit” it said.

But none of these assurances are enough for Branden, who told PAN following the meeting that the proposal “is only maximizing land use and profit.”

“I gathered over 100 names and I’d say around 80 per cent of those attending were very concerned and about it and signed up for the email list,” he said.

“Everyone has a really ill feeling about what having 330 more homes will mean to traffic, schools and to the community itself – as well as disrupting the woodlands,” he added,

“There is an NCP in place that was worked on and agreed on. We moved to the neighborhood about six years ago based on this and the feeling that this was what the neighbourhood was like and how it would be in the future.”

Branden said the only anticipated redevelopment of the retreat land was for a long-awaited high school in the neighborhood.

Even though such a development would result in an unfortunate loss of tree canopy, he said, it would still be within the scope of the existing institutional zoning – and wouldn’t have the same impact as the higher-density residential development proposed.

Branden said he couldn’t suggest a residential alternative for the land that would be likely to meet with neighbourhood approval.

“I don’t have a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist,” he said.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP are investigating a reported assault at Panorama Ridge Secondary. (Shane MacKichan photos)
UPDATE: Two youths arrested after assault with a weapon at Panorama Ridge Secondary in Surrey

School placed on a ‘hold and secure’ until safety of all students confirmed

Image Surrey.ca
Surrey to pony up one-third of cost to cover Cloverdale lacrosse box in 2022

This will be at the Cloverdale Athletic Park at 64th Avenue and 168th Street

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Delta Mayor George Harvie. (Submitted photo)
Mayor asks Fraser Health to reconcider North Delta vaccination site

Harvie wants a North Delta clinic to complement the South Delta location

B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Murder conviction upheld in case where Surrey mom was stabbed in front of her kids

Jury in 2017 found Tanpreet Kaur Athwal, aka Sonia Kaur Gill, guilty of first-degree murder in 2007 death of Amanpreet Bahia, 33

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

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

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on October 27, 2020. The City of Vancouver says it has purchased a former hotel at a major thoroughfare that can house about 65 units to accommodate homeless people. A joint news release by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and city says 2075 Kingsway, Days Inn by Wyndham Vancouver, will be ready for accommodation this November. The Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen also announced a $51.5 million Rapid Housing Initiative for Vancouver that is expected to create 135 new affordable homes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Former Vancouver hotel to be converted to 65 units for homeless people by the fall

The former Days Inn on Kingsway will be ready to house people in November

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Most Read