Protesters at Cloverdale Fairgrounds show their support for farmers in India. (File photo: Jason Sveinson)

Protesters at Cloverdale Fairgrounds show their support for farmers in India. (File photo: Jason Sveinson)

COLUMN

ZYTARUK: Surrey’s valuable farmland – just like India’s – needs protecting

Now that is a legacy worth voting for

homelessphoto

So let it be written…

Surrey Environmental Partners president Deb Jack held a telling mirror up to city council on Monday, as she typically does during public hearings on land development applications as they relate to Mother Nature.

The lesson was particularly biting, if not embraced.

At issue was Conwest (Bear Creek) GP Ltd.’s application to rezone land from General Agriculture Zone to Business Park 3 Zone to subdivide a site at 6856 152nd Street and 15331-68th Avenue into three industrial lots and build an 8,361 square-metre building.

The application won third-reading approval from council, despite the politicians getting an earful during a public hearing why that wouldn’t be a good idea.

On April 26, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum’s motion asking council to “stand in solidarity” with farmers in India was unanimously passed.

Jack said it’s “interesting” Surrey has been having demonstrations all over the city “with big signs talking about saving agricultural land, and the importance of food and farmers – but here in Surrey we happily take agricultural land, whether or not it’s in the Agricultural Land Reserve, and consider it land waiting to be built upon.

“An interesting contradiction, do you not think?”

READ ALSO: Surrey MP says mayor’s motion to support Indian farmers is his to make

READ ALSO: Surrey mayor’s motion supporting Indian farmers passes without debate

Richard Landale, a Fleetwood resident, noted that roughly 20 years ago the area was all farming.

“Over time, every tree has been stripped off the land as application by application developed the land.

“When is enough, enough?” he asked, noting that the development would kill 432 mature trees.

“That is a clear cut,” he said.

“I’m in such despair.”

McCallum cut him off. The mayor cut off three speakers, all told, during this particular hearing.

Speaker Linda Joyce Ypenburg, also of Fleetwood, said she’s “adamantly” opposed to seeing agricultural land replaced by three industrial lots.

“It will destroy valuable farmland,” she said. “We don’t need another industrial park to be built on this site. You, Mayor McCallum, are in support of farmers in India – how about supporting our own farmers in Surrey? Do they not matter?”

Notably, as council considered an unrelated corporate report during this same council meeting, McCallum remarked that the city will be needing more townhouses, and soon, to accommodate what he says will be a post-pandemic wave of immigration into Surrey.

“We have a big bulge coming,” the mayor prophesied.

“There is, once COVID-19 is over, a huge build-up of immigration that is going to come to Surrey,” McCallum told his fellow council members. “Again, we do not have the supply right now to provide those housing for those people therefore the cost of housing will start to skyrocket.”

It goes without saying that while human heads need a place to rest, human mouths also need to be fed.

Anyone who’s been to their local grocery store lately knows that food is getting more and more expensive. And it won’t be getting any less expensive, or available, if our leaders keep permitting land developers to build business parks on agricultural land.

Surrey council members really should take this to heart, and make it their mission to protect this city’s farmland for today and future generations. Now that is a legacy worth voting for.

So let it be done.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram  and follow Tom on Twitter

City of SurreydevelopmentFarmingSurreyzytaruk column so let it be done

Just Posted

A mixed-use development with 69 market rental units and 10 commercial units is proposed for the 2300-block of King George Boulevard. (Thinkspace rendering)
Pair of South Surrey apartment proposals move forward

Council gives third reading to rezoning applications for market-rental and residential projects

Launched in January, Uplift Canada was founded by Tsawwassen resident Maggie Larocque. (submitted photo)
Surrey shelters get clothing collected June 26 by Uplift Canada

Book a pickup on website of the new non-profit, founded by Delta resident

Converter thefts have increased dramatically as the price of platinum has skyrocketed. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press photo)
Catalytic converter thefts continue to plague Delta

Police say the thefts are on the rise across the city, with seven incidents on Thursday, June 17

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
‘Stay-at-home mom’ works to raise $25K to help Options build housing in Surrey

Tammy Bourelle boosts ‘Women of Options’ fundraising campaign, which ends June 30

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read