Land development is always an emotional and difficult journey.
Developers, land owners, and the City of Surrey each have their own agendas. Everyone is well represented. This politically driven dance ensures each participant gets at least one dance with each other and no one is left out. No one at least, except you, the voter, the taxpayer and the residents of Surrey.
Surrey council last week was asked to vote on Stage 1 development for Area 4 of Grandview Heights (Redwood Heights decision ‘premature,’ Oct. 10). As one of five areas for development densification, it is located between 176 and 184 streets and 32 and 16 avenues. South Surrey will see this area become home for 3,225-5,050 new homes and 8,232-12,966 people.
What you don’t know about this mega project is just about everything.
The process, as set by the city, has systematically excluded you, the voter, the taxpayer and resident from having any meaningful say. I say this, expecting a rebuke that will deny, delay or defer any opposition until council rubber stamps the project.
There are, however, several issues, the most significant being the area is home to a large and very sensitive environmental zone. Known as ‘hubs,’ they are few and far between, as identified by the city as recently as 2008. Preservation of these unique and irreplaceable areas routinely fall victim to costs associated with their preservation.
You will undoubtedly be told they will be maintaining an area, just not where and in what size needed.
In pure planning terms, the area represents the far side of the moon. Virtually all jurisdictions any where never undertake or even allow development to leap-frog ahead of existing build-outs located closer to the centre of Grandview Heights. They are costly, inefficient and impossible to integrate in a cohesive and orderly fashion with the existing community.
Picture an additional 10,000-plus vehicles pounding through your community each and every day. This is otherwise known as ‘urban sprawl’ in popular lexicon.
Finally, I remind each of you of the fractious times surrounding the Grandview corridor proposal that deposed the previous mayor, Doug McCallum, and, more recently, the South Surrey Casino proposal. On this latter vote, council members yet again saved face due to our mayor, who recognized the thoughtful opposition and did the right thing in turning the casino down – a decision, no doubt, that cost her personally in Victoria.
But here is the thing. Mayor Dianne Watts understands the distinction between being popular and being right on the facts. This, I fear, is lost on most of her colleagues.
As with the casino vote before council, Area 4 remains the wrong proposal, in the wrong location at the wrong time.
M. Proskow, Surrey