I am concerned that proposed developments in the area of 28 Avenue/164 Street are extending the urban boundaries in Grandview Heights unnecessarily.
My concerns include:
1. Are official community plans (OCPs) that easily sidestepped? If so, what is their purpose? I can only think that they are there to placate the public and blind them to the real plans the city might have. Such plans may well be against the wishes of the public.
2. Do the mayor and council see an urgent need for even more high-density urbanization than is already planned in Grandview Heights? I thought the idea behind planning high-density urbanization near highways was to protect the environment around those areas, allowing trees and green space to thrive near the high-density areas.
3. It appears to me that infrastructure is not keeping pace with development within approved neighbourhood concept plans (NCPs).
a. The newly built Sunnyside Elementary is already at capacity, and the majority of people moving into these new urban developments are people with young families. What happens with their children?
b. Hospitals are notoriously crowded and underfunded. After researching health care in South Surrey, my family and I decided it was actually faster and safer for us to travel to Vancouver for health care. It seems strange to me to promise people resources by building residences for them and making them pay taxes, but then to not provide those resources.
c. Perhaps I am misinformed, but crime seemed to be a big issue in the last election. High-density urban areas have a lot more crime than rural areas. Perhaps the police force and city ordinances should be altered enough to be able to deal with the problems we already see, before sacrificing beautiful suburban/rural lots, with trees and low impact on the city’s infrastructure, to increase density still further.
d. I recently ran a quick analysis of how much untreated water is entering Surrey’s streams because of increased roads and no road runoff mediation. In a mere 500-metre square block, one million litres of road runoff will enter nearby streams and rivers in a single day.
Unrestrained urbanization, without due consideration of the environment, usually leads to lower quality of life and higher costs for the government in the long run.
In short, let’s use the opportunity to urbanize greenfield areas to make a model city, not one where people will regret investing their money in property.
Alisa P. Ramakrishnan, Surrey
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On Sept. 8, I attended a public hearing at Surrey City Hall for a proposed subdivision from an area where there was no Neighbourhood Concept Plan in place.
The corporate report prepared as part of the process specifically cautioned council that Surrey’s Official Community Plan requires an NCP before approval in order to avoid potential problems with infrastructure, engineering, transitions between land uses and a host of other issues, not the least of which is lack of public consultation.
It further stated that: “The NCP process was developed as a result of the problems that the city experienced in relation to allowing development to occur in the absence of a proper holistic plan.”
When a concerned taxpayer asked why this development could possibly proceed when the NCP for West Clayton – which hadn’t reached Stage 2 completion – isn’t in place yet, Mayor Dianne Watts interjected that all applications have to wait, and that the policy has been in place since the NCP process began in the 1980s: “There’s no application that will come before council in Stage 1 that will get approved. It will not happen; it cannot happen; it has never happened.”
Perhaps Watts had forgotten the fact that she and her Surrey First council approved a 36-lot subdivision in our peaceful suburban Grandview Heights neighbourhood last June 23, despite the fact that there is no NCP in place for our area.
This decision was overwhelmingly opposed by area homeowners.
We haven’t forgotten.
Gary Cameron, Surrey