Public hearings regarding plans for Surrey’s South Campbell Heights neighbourhood and a 91-unit inclusive-housing project are set to get underway this afternoon (July 26) at 2 p.m., but anyone planning to weigh in or listen in may want to find a comfortable place to do so.
Surrey Coun. Jack Hundial told Black Press Media Monday morning that “a few hundred” people have registered to speak on the revised plan for South Campbell Heights, which has been the focus of an awareness campaign and petition calling for more consultation.
Second on the list of delegations scheduled to be heard today, the hearing was set during council’s July 12 meeting, after council approved the revised plan and gave first and second readings to a series of amendment bylaws.
The City of Surrey is seeking to re-designate 600 acres south of 20 Avenue, between approximately 186 and 196 Streets (bordering the Township of Langley), to employment lands, and to expand the urban containment boundary.
Councillors who on July 12 voted to move things forward cited the need to offer more opportunities for business, as well as a shortage of industrial lands in the Metro Vancouver region. Those who registered opposition cited environmental concerns and “pushback” from neighbours, and disagreed it was needed in that particular area.
Stewards and stakeholders have expressed concerns that the city’s plan would open the door to large-scale industry along the Little Campbell River, and pose a serious risk to its water quality and the area’s habitat.
Langley Township council has also expressed concerns, voting earlier this month to write to Surrey council and others, as well as outline support for land-use alternatives that “would better protect and enhance the significant environmental resources.”
The housing project, meanwhile, proposed for the 15100-block of 20 Avenue, has also been the subject of ‘calls to action.’ Officials with UNITI – a partnership of Semiahmoo House Society, Peninsula Estates Housing Society and the Semiahmoo Foundation – launched a public advocacy campaign to boost awareness of the project following an April 26 public hearing that ended with council voting to have staff work with the developer to try and mitigate “some of the issues” raised.
While city staff expressed support for the project in a report, “based on the significant public benefit that will be realized,” Mayor Doug McCallum said at that time that he felt that it was not the right location for the type of housing proposed.
Today’s public hearing was set after more than 100 people sent emails, correspondence and other communications to staff and council following an April 26 public hearing. McCallum said the correspondence “sort of cancelled the (April 26) public hearing, because new information came forward.”
There is no set end time for public hearings or regular council meetings.
To watch the livestream, visit surrey.ca
– with files from Tom Zytaruk
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