LETTERS: ‘Something is clearly amiss’ at Surrey City Hall


Surrey taxpayers are painfully aware that the Safe Surrey slate of Mayor McCullum and Couns. Patton, Elford, Guerra and Nagra have the power to vote in anything they want to put on the table, but that doesn’t mean they should.

Being elected means making decisions for the good of all taxpayers and residents, not just putting forward your own agenda with a disregard for years of work by qualified planning staff, public engagement and foresight by previous councils.

The Aug. 8 decision to rezone prime employment lands on Highway 99 right by the U.S. border to residential was another heinous example of bloc voting by the Safe Surrey slate.

Not only was that an utterly wrong decision, but I am not sure how the above councillors can look anyone in the eye after such a hypocritical vote, either.

Earlier this year the same people were at Metro pleading for employment lands, saying that hundreds of acres of critical biodiverse habitat in South Surrey by the Little Campbell River needed to be rezoned as industrial and employment lands. We were losing jobs to Abbotsford and other cities, they claimed, and needed more employment land to grow. The land by the river was perfect for a business park, Patton claimed.

Well, the employment land just rezoned residential wasn’t just perfect for such a business park, but planning staff in 2020 said to council that the land on Highway 99 was “essential for the future prosperity of Surrey.” The developer had previously been told at least twice that they should come back with a plan for employment uses on the land. What do we have instead? Four hundred and eighty two townhouses – not the right place and not even the right type of housing Surrey needs.

Disturbingly, it appears to be “heydays” once more for developers in Surrey, with the current mayor even holding a special public hearing in the summer break, midday, to push through changes to the established Official Community Plan.

The OCP was established at considerable cost and months of effort by city staff, input from the public and various departments to create a livable city that is well thought-out. It contains not just the elements of a great city in balance, but in the right places.

Something is clearly amiss at city hall. Surrey has regressed decades environmentally and it will take years to get it back, and I fear that much will never be recovered.

Sarah Rush, South Surrey

City of SurreyLetter to the EditorMunicipal election

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