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Contentious Barnston Drive East project gets Surrey council nod

27 residents spoke either for or against it at a public hearing Monday
A view of Surrey City Hall. (File photo)

A development that has become a bone of contention in Fraser Heights has city council’s nod of approval.

It came after a public hearing Monday (March 28) that saw 27 residents speak their piece either for or against it.

The project, which passed third reading, is at 9933 Barnston Drive East and features a 54-unit, five-storey mixed use building that will include 1,554 square metres of ground-floor commercial space, as well as a stand-alone daycare and 43 townhouse units.

City hall received 173 pieces of correspondence in favour of the development, 182 against and five registering concerns. Council also received a petition with 425 signatures in favour. Seventy-five people who attended the public hearing also registered their support.

Speaker Linda McCann opposed the project. She said there is not sufficient parking in the area, and the proposed daycare is far away from any parking and there is no public transit nearby.

Jeff Francis spoke in support, saying Surrey needs more housing.

“The more supply we have is a better chance that we’re going to have for affordability,” he said.

“It’s tough to please everyone.”

Bryce Young noted residents “currently have no nearby options to bring their children.

“Rather than forcing residents to have to drive out to other neighbourhoods, bringing a reputable daycare business into the area will not only bring convenience to the residents but build upon the safety of the neighbourhood,” Young told council.

READ ALSO: Surrey looks to public schools for daycare spaces before and after classes

Jag Sidhu, a single parent with two children, said it’s very hard to find affordable housing and bringing a daycare to the area marks a “great opportunity” for her kids.

Hannah Han also voiced her support.

“I believe we need more housing in this area to support our growing neighbourhood, especially multi-family units,” she said.

Lindsay Ryerson spoke in opposition, saying there is inadequate services to support such a development and he implored council to not buy into a “frankenstein, hap-hazard approach.”

“I ask council, is this the type of half-baked development we want to reflect our city?” he asked.

Navneet Begowal told council he supports this development as he is seeing friends leave Surrey because of the high price of housing.

“We definitely need more housing,” he said.

Later in the meeting, Councillors Laurie Guerra, Jack Hundial, Linda Annis, Brenda Locke and Doug Elford voiced their support for the development, which in the end was unanimous.

Elford said there is a push on for cities to create “walkable” communities.

“The thought of getting into a car to go get a jug of milk doesn’t really make sense from a climate perspective and so this kind of development, I think, addresses that.”

About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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