Protest sign posted at the roadside on 192 Street, south of 20 Avenue in mid July, ahead of a vote by Surrey council to amend the city’s OCP and redesignate the area as employment lands. The decision now rests with Metro Vancouver. (Brenda Anderson photo)

Protest sign posted at the roadside on 192 Street, south of 20 Avenue in mid July, ahead of a vote by Surrey council to amend the city’s OCP and redesignate the area as employment lands. The decision now rests with Metro Vancouver. (Brenda Anderson photo)

LETTERS: Future of food security at stake

Development of South Campbell Heights will have lasting repurcussions, writes J. Van Dam

Editor:

Re: Surrey council moves South Campbell Heights plan forward, July 29

As a landowner in Hazelmere for over 50 years I cannot believe that we still have to argue every few years about the value of agricultural land in Hazelmere, be it ALR or A1.

My understanding is that Metro turned down the South Campbell Heights plan in 2018 for many reasons, one of them being the need to stop speculation in rural areas outside of the urban containment boundary, yet here we are again.

It seems speculators buy land, then leave it to ruin and then complain it can’t be used – but that is of their own doing. Hazelmere Organic Farm has successfully regenerated land and now grows sought-after organic produce. But it takes a bit of work, which is something my father used to say when he grew vegetables here, too.

As for not being able to lease land in the special study area – what does the owner expect? Someone to come along, work hard on the land, spend time and money knowing that at the first opportunity the land will be sold and the owner, who has done nothing, will walk away with a profit? I think he is the one out of touch with reality on that.

As for the caller who thinks that growing hay is not a worthwhile agricultural activity, perhaps he could confirm he is vegetarian? Perhaps he is not aware of the diet of cattle and milk herds in the winter?

Maybe supporters should do more homework before they try and justify why the want their land rezoned. How about they are just honest and admit they really want to make some money?

Mayor McCallum and his four councillors have gone against regional recommendations and once again ignited speculator interest in the Hazelmere area. It is time for our leaders to realize that short-term profit for a few will come at a long-term cost for everyone else.

Future generations will lack food security because the true value of agricultural land, the need to grow our own food and not rely on U.S. imports was conveniently ignored in this short-sighted plan.

And that is just touching on the agricultural component. Council totally ignored the risk to the river, the aquifer and the loss of salmon-spawning grounds.

We need to start leaving the Earth a better place than we found it, not worse.

J. Van Dam, Hazelmere

City of SurreydevelopmentLetter to the Editor