Contributed photo Rosemary Heights residents peruse the latest proposal eyed for the former site of the Rosemary Heights Retreat Centre, during a May 10 public information meeting at Morgan Creek Golf Course.

Rosemary Heights residents plan meeting to ‘determine next steps’

Townhomes, houses ‘not a fair trade’ for trees and wildlife: resident

A quest to preserve the bluff above Nicomekl River from a significant residential development is continuing.

Residents of Rosemary Heights are rallying to “determine next steps” and devise a strategy aimed at convincing Surrey council the site – in the 3600-block of 152 Street – is no place for nearly 300 townhouses.

“There is obviously great concern from the community that rezoning this land does not make sense and is not in the best interest of many,” an email to Peace Arch News and the “Save Rosemary Heights Community” states.

A meeting is set for 7-8:30 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday) in the Rosemary Heights Elementary (15516 36 Ave.) gym. City officials and the developer have not been invited.

Porte Communities is proposing to build 278 townhomes and 23 single-family homes on the 28-acre site, which is the former home of the Rosemary Heights Retreat Centre.

Two public information meetings have been held, and company president David Porte said last month that “quite a few changes” have been made based on the feedback.

A nearly one-kilometre trail along the top of the river and retention of “just about 49 per cent of the site” as green space are among aspects “we really worked hard to do and are quite excited about,” Porte told PAN.

“You don’t see that very often,” he said.

He said the company, which has now completed the purchase of the site from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver, has also been working with the City of Surrey on traffic issues – residents are particularly concerned with a proposed access point on 152 Street – and have brought an engineer on board “to work the traffic and look at what solutions are available.”

“Certainly our approach has been as much as possible to work with our adjacent neighbours.”

Residents opposed to the project have suggested that the city purchase the land for a park; at least, that the site’s zoning remain unchanged. It’s currently zoned for institutional use.

Natalie Chadwick, who is president of the Rosemary Walk strata – another Porte development – acknowledged that the developer is attempting to address residents’ concerns, but said it’s been to no avail. The 11-year resident sent a letter to city council last week expressing her complex’s opposition.

“He’s definitely trying to talk to us about what they could do,” she said. “Right now, we have completely pristine, 100-foot trees and wildlife. It’s not really a fair trade.

“In the neighbourhood, we’re doing everything we can to stop it before it gets approval.”

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