About 40 years ago, planners and councillors built new developments in South Surrey that gave new meaning to housing development.
They built cul-de-sacs which immediately established new neighbourhoods and communities. Unlike linear streets, cul-de-sacs bring people together. The planners and the municipal politicians left a legacy of healthy community life.
We live on a half cul-de-sac in the McNally Creek area and we comprise a small community in which we know each other well – we celebrate together, mourn together, help each other out and have a healthy community life.
The lots are big enough for kids to kick or throw a ball about or cultivate a garden.
Times have changed.
The demand for housing has increased. However, there has to be a better approach to community housing plans than cramming as many houses as possible into any available space.
Such developments, often with postage-stamp lots, often with basement suites, put children and cars in direct competition.
Community services like schools and hospitals struggle to keep pace with demand.
The social and psychological effects on future generations will be significant. The environmental costs can already be measured.
What can be done? Planners and politicians must first understand the legacy they are leaving: overcrowded, unhealthy developments.
Our half cul-de-sac faces a few plots of land undeveloped for many years.
We would like to see the cul-de-sac completed. A talented neighbour has drafted a plan with houses similar to the existing ones in lot size and style.
Council is set to debate a far different development proposal. It will please the developers, but not we who live here.
I would like a gift from the city: not just a green space where kids can play and grow, but recognition from the council that they are doing more than approving development proposal after development proposal – that they are listening to the people, that they are, in fact, leaving a legacy for the future for which their names will be attached for good or ill.
Peter Ferris, South Surrey