LETTER: City of Surrey gobbles up all green spaces it can find

The Editor,

Re: "Reversing the trend of tree loss," the Now, Dec. 2.

I was dismayed but hardly shocked by the report on Surrey’s canopy. The cynical timing of it’s release – postelection – was also noted.Having spent the past year fighting tirelessly for the trees of Grandview Heights, and getting nowhere (other than the Horse Farm), nothing surprises me.

The city, in it’s grim determination to develop every inch of Grandview Heights, is gobbling up all the green spaces it can find at an alarming rate. Six months of work in the beautifully forested area of Sunnyside Heights, one of the city’s treasures of forested land with the trees being 120 years old, have netted not one single tree.

Approximately 1,500 mature Douglas firs and other conifers will be clear cut in this perfect example of "arm chair planning." Does the council bemoan the loss of the tree canopy? It has the power to save a huge part of this disastrous development, by making adjustments to the park and roads planned there. They stubbornly refuse to alter their plans. and my arguments fall on deaf ears. The resident has no say in the procedure – the City of Surrey will do as it wishes. So much for sanctimonious plans for the tree canopy 50 years from now.

Another example of a lack of resident power in the planning of this city was exemplified on Monday in chambers. An atrocious application at the corner of 29th Avenue and 162nd Street was presented to mayor and council.

Once again, a city-owned green space – seven acres – was sold by the parks department to a developer. It shouldn’t have been. The planning department told me last summer that they worked for "months" to come to an agreement with the neighbours that they could accept and live with. One day, the new application appeared, with no fewer than seven amendments. The density had been greatly increased. It was passed without question by mayor and council.The amendments we see every day, on the infamous green signs by the roadside, wipe out in one stroke the agreements fought for by the residents trying desperately to salvage something of their once-beautiful neighbourhood.

Small wonder then, that the sea of grey cement all over the district of Grandview Heights, all of which horrified me when I first viewed it on a map at city hall, is rapidly coming to pass. There is no room for trees in that gigantic sea of grey. Are we really surprised that our tree canopy is disappearing at an alarming rate?

Sybil Rowe, Surrey

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