Siblings Dustin and Keira McRae

Siblings Dustin and Keira McRae

South Surrey garden plight on city’s agenda

The South Surrey 'Gratitude Garden' issue is to be reviewed by city staff, following a meeting this week with creator Adrian Bilodeau

The future of a South Surrey park that took root nearly a decade ago in memory of a local man’s father is to be the subject of an upcoming report to council.

Exactly when that will be presented, however, remains unclear.

Laura McLeod – a Peninsula woman who started a petition to save the ‘Gratitude Garden’ in December after learning its future was uncertain – said city staff advised her in a pre-Christmas email that they will be reporting to council at the Jan. 16 meeting “on the status of the park and whether it could possibly be retained given the development projects underway in the area.”

Adrian BilodeauThursday, however, city communications manager Oliver Lum said staff have yet to review the issue; a step that will take place following a meeting with garden creator Adrian Bilodeau (pictured at left).

“There’s no definitive time when the review will be completed,” Lum said, noting the meeting with Bilodeau was set for that afternoon (Jan. 5).

“It doesn’t look like it will be in time for the Jan. 16 meeting.”

The garden is located on city land on 156 Street, between King George Boulevard and 24 Avenue. It started as a small tribute in the northwest corner of the lot and grew over the years to stretch along its western border. Elements have also been added within the lot itself over the years, complementing existing mature cherry and holly trees.

Bilodeau contacted Peace Arch News after learning through a Dec. 8 email from officials with Surrey’s realty-services division that the city intended to sell the lot sometime early this year.

The news caught Bilodeau by surprise, and he appealed to anyone who sees value in the garden to add their voice to his to help save it. City officials at that time told PAN that “no firm decision” had been made, and Bilodeau was contacted soon after by the realty-division manager to arrange a meeting in the new year. He said he, too, was told the park’s future “isn’t a done deal just yet.”

According to the email McLeod received from Sonya Hayer of the city’s legislative services department, there is no pending sale of the garden site.

McLeod planned to submit her petition to council this week. As of Thursday morning, it had 312 garnered signatures.

Lum said if the review is complete in time for a Jan. 16 report to council, it will be included in the city’s online corporate reports for the evening’s agenda, which are typically posted the Thursday prior.