The City of Surrey has completed its tally, and says it received 11,161 valid elector response forms against removing the protected status of a portion of Hawthorne Park.
That works out to 3.7 per cent of valid electors, according to a city report, which is not enough to stop the city from going ahead.
Another 670 submitted forms were rejected for a variety of reasons, such as blank or incomplete forms, or not being a valid elector, according to the report.
“The removal of reservation of the land is deemed to be approved by the electors in Surrey unless more than 10 per cent of the eligible electors submit, in writing, their opposition,” it notes, and states that “in accordance with Section 86 of the Community Charter, the approval of the electors was obtained.”
The number of electors required to halt the city’s move was 30,372.
City clerk Jane Sullivan told the Now-Leader in an email that “the report is numbers alone” and council will receive it as information only.
“A report with any next steps would be separate,” she explained. “Nothing has happened with the bylaw, it is sitting at the same place it was before this process.”
City council must now decide how it will proceed with the controversial project, which could take place at a council meeting next Monday, (Oct. 23).
A Save Hawthorne Park group has formed that is dead set against the city adopting the bylaw to remove the protected status of a portion of the park, arguing this “loophole” could be used by any local government.
The Save Hawthorne Park group questions the city’s justification for the road — which so far has been to move utilities off 104 Avenue in preparation for light rail, to connect Whalley Boulevard to 150th Street. It’s been in the city’s Official Community Plan since 1986.
After delivering a 5,000-name petition to Surrey council in July, opponents were given until Sept. 22 to collect 30,372 signatures in opposition to the project in order to stop the civic government from proceeding with the project.
The group delivered more than 12,000 signatures to city hall on Sept. 22.
Group founder Steven Pettigrew insisted the fight isn’t over.
“We’re not stopping,” Pettigrew said when the group delivered the signatures last month, adding the ‘angry mob’ is getting angrier and bigger.
SHP claims the Alternate Approval Process being used in Hawthorne Park is in contrary to “council’s commitment to the environment and the people of Surrey.”
Once Hawthorne Park’s protected status is removed, the 105 Avenue Corridor Project through the south end the park will “cause fragmentation of wildlife habitat, destroy a large portion of the forest, and remove an ancient bog,” according to a Save Hawthorne Park media advisory.