LETTERS: Unfair swing at Riverside

An open letter to Surrey council regarding Riverside Golf Centre expropriation.

An open letter to Surrey council.

Customarily speaking, I am not against change. My generation has rocketed through decades of pioneering that have resulted in almost constant change, development and world firsts.

Sadly, it would appear I am seeing another first, and it’s the kind of change that really does frighten me.

I am witnessing a city taking away a privately owned property from the owners for no good or valid reason.

I understand that at times a municipality can expropriate property for a good and legitimate reason that will allow change for the better and that will improve quality of life in the affected area.

But, the property in question here is not vacant land along a remote stretch, needed to complete a highway. It’s not a piece of property sitting on the site of a future hospital.

No, it’s a family’s longtime, ongoing business. It’s part of their livelihood, and has been for over 50 years.

This is not an ugly car-wrecking business. It’s not causing the neighbourhood harm or degrading anyone’s quality of life. It’s not being operated contrary to bylaws. In fact, it adds to the lives of the many who visit. It provides physical and social enjoyment. And it’s a beautiful green space along the Nicomekl River in the form of the Riverside Golf Centre (Civic expropriation to close Riverside, Sept. 25).

Why is this entire parcel being taken from the rightful owners? In order to build a road to access an adjacent property subdivision. Oddly enough, the percentage required for the road is miniscule. So essentially, the City of Surrey is taking away an entire multi-acre family livelihood for the sake of a 20-metre strip of land… and to create green space, which, of course, it already is.

This case is so bizarre that I struggle to wrap my mind around it. I cannot believe this is happening in Canada. In China? In Nazi Germany? In Communist Russia? Yes. But Canada? No!

This is nothing more than a misguided, misjudged, disgusting and completely unconstitutional theft of real property from the hands of a citizen by government officials who are elected to serve the people.

Even more disturbing is that, in the end, this case is far bigger than saving a golf course and driving range. At the least, it strikes at the very core of our beliefs. We live in a free and democratic society that promotes the right to own property and businesses, to work and make a living, to pursue happiness, while being free from governmental interference and harassment.

The city is way, way out of line here. They are carrying on without one ounce of common sense or sensitivity toward our basic rights as citizens. They are so far out of line that one cannot help but wonder what ulterior motive is behind this.

For the good of our society as a whole, I urge all of you to help in every way possible!

Keith Brown, Surrey