Riverside protesters teed off at city hall

Golf course owner says Surrey paid $3.25 million to expropriate 16 acres.

Protesters gather on the steps of city hall in north Surrey

Two dozen protesters gathered on the steps of Surrey City Hall Monday evening to rally against the city’s expropriation of the 16-acre parcel of land that houses Riverside Golf Centre.

Ken Poirier, whose family has owned the 3600 King George Blvd. business for 49 years, arranged the rally after he was told last month he couldn’t appear as a delegation to council because the matter is still before the courts.

With a 1,200-name petition in hand, he and his supporters – holding signs that read “Save our Riverside” and “Please talk to us” – arrived in North Surrey by bus ahead of Monday’s council meeting, but were told they couldn’t come inside city hall with their signs.

“Apart from the ruin on our family, they’re doing a disservice to the community,” Poirier told Peace Arch News, noting his family has been given until Jan. 31 to vacate. “We’re trying to show them we have the support of the people who would rather have a golf facility than a freshwater marsh.”

Poirier was first notified last January of the city’s plans to “acquire open land for park purposes for biodiversity conservation, passive recreation and the viewing of wildlife and scenery.”

After an inquiry in April, the expropriation was completed in June and the City of Surrey now holds the title of the land. According to Poirier, the city paid $3.25 million for the parcel, a fraction of what he believes it is worth.

A city lawyer has told PAN Poirier can file a claim if he’s unhappy with compensation.  Mayor Linda Hepner said council members have been instructed by legal counsel not to comment.

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