Proponents behind a 57-unit townhouse development that raised the ire of local residents last month say no work has been done on the South Surrey project without approvals in place.
Harry Grimm, a principle with Portrait Homes, said Thursday that every step regarding the 15005 36 Ave. site has been “by the book.
“One golden rule that we have is you follow procedures… and you do it right,” Grimm told Peace Arch News.
“We would never stray from that.”
Residents raised concerns with the City of Surrey and Fisheries and Oceans Canada after waking Aug. 29 to machinery clearing trees on the site, which overlooks the Nicomekl River and is close to the red-coded Barbara Creek.
City officials have confirmed that the work was “within the permits approved.”
And, DFO officials confirmed that a 2014 review of the proposal determined a Fisheries Act authorization was not required.
However, a spokesperson confirmed the department is looking into the residents’ reports regarding the potential impact of construction to fish habitat, and “will respond appropriately once there has been sufficient time for review.”
Grimm believes the concern relates to a misunderstanding of where Barbara Creek is in connection with the site and the work underway, which is to fill in a “relic ravine.”
“Barbara Creek is nowhere near where people think it is,” he said. “We are not filling in any streams.”
He noted that 60 per cent of the site has been designated for greenspace; a conservation area that Mayor Linda Hepner told PAN council had insisted on.
Hepner said last week that issues raised in recent weeks by residents have been “nothing outside of that which we didn’t already hear (about in the process leading up to the project’s approval) and we addressed.”
She described council’s approach to the project as a balanced one, and said Portrait Homes is working “within the areas that are permitted.”
Grimm acknowledged the site’s hillside location presents challenges, but none that Portrait hasn’t faced in other areas.
He described the townhouse project as “more for the empty-nester market,” and expects show homes to be ready for the spring.