(Flickr photo)

David Suzuki joins ‘Save Hawthorne Park’ fight in Surrey

World-renowned environmentalist will attend rally opposing Surrey’s plans to build road through park

Surrey’s “Save Hawthorne Park” citizens’ group has gained a powerful ally.

Dr. David Suzuki will be the featured guest of a rally set for Sept. 16 from noon to 2:30 p.m. in the plaza outside Surrey City Hall (13450 104th Ave.).

The event is organized by the “Save Hawthorne Park” group that opposes city council’s plans to build a road through the park as part of the 105 Avenue Connector project.

After delivering a 5,000-name petition to Surrey council last month, 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.

According to a media advisory obtained by the Now-Leader, Suzuki will attend the rally and speak to the importance of environmental rights, as well as “Surrey Council’s failure to live up to its commitments to the Blue Dot movement.”

The city signed a declaration on Jan. 12, 2016 recognizing residents’ “Right to a Healthy Environment” after hearing from the Surrey Blue Dot group the previous summer.

Led by the David Suzuki Foundation, the Blue Dot movement is a national effort to amend the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to include the right to a healthy environment. To achieve this, the group focuses on getting Canadian municipalities to pass declarations respecting the right of their citizens to live in a healthy environment. The movement states that “all people have the right to live in a healthy environment, including the right to participate in government decisions that will affect the environment.”

Rally organizers say the event aims to “force Surrey council to honour their commitment to the David Suzuki Foundation’s Blue Dot movement” and “push back against Surrey council’s abuse of power.”

The Save Hawthorne Park group says it will represent “thousands of residents opposing Surrey’s plans to remove park dedications.”

Grant Rice with Save Hawthorne Park said he could “draw up a better plan on the back of a napkin in 15 minutes than the one that’s being forced on Surrey’s residents.

“And despite what the Mayor says, this is not just about Hawthorne Park,” Rice continued. “If council is successful in using the AAP to remove park dedications, it can do it anywhere. If all of Surrey doesn’t send a strong message to council and sign these forms, we’ve not only lost the battle; we’ve lost the war.”

The group 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.

“This rally embodies Surrey citizens’ right to a transparent, public decision-making process on matters relating to a healthy environment.”

Mayor Linda Hepner last month defended the project in a letter to the Now-Leader, saying there has been misinformation spread about the project.

Since an information meeting in June to collect information from the public, the city says it has made changes to the project.

Last week, the City of Surrey released new renderings of its plans for the 105 Avenue Project.

One big change is that one of the two planned roads, the 142 Street connection to 104 Avenue, has been dropped.

The city says other changes include an increase in total parkland by one acre, a net increase of 200 trees, additional environmental habitat areas and new park amenities.

Critics have since increased their efforts to halt to the project.

Former Surrey mayor Doug McCallum has also thrown his support behind the group, and was among approximately 100 residents that attended a “Save Hawthorne Park” rally Thursday, Aug. 17.

amy.reid@ surreynowleader.com

Just Posted

Noted fiddlers bring kids to Surrey stage for ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’ concert

Bell theatre date for Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy as they reunite for 23-city tour of Canada

Surrey-based business donates $1M to hospital’s children centre improvements

Surrey Hospital Foundation kicks off campaign for ‘transformation’ of children’s centre

OUR VIEW: Surrey’s unsung heroes inspire

The Now-Leader was proud to celebrate some deserving unsung heroes in this city on Wednesday night

North Delta family raising money for brain cancer treatment

23-year-old Tashina Janus and her family are raising funds to get her immunotherapy in the U.S.

Surrey opera singer brings Mozart’s ‘Così fan tutte’ to Vancouver stage

Nancy Hasiuk-Lay has been hailed for her ‘sparkling and crystalline vocal tone’

Metro Vancouver mayors cancel Surrey LRT in favour of SkyTrain

Surrey mayor claims he can extend Skytrain for the $1.65 billion already committed to light rail

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

Lower Mainland couple missing in Thompson-Okanagan area

Barriere RCMP received a missing persons report for two senior overdue travellers

Vancouver Warriors cancel first 2 weeks of season as labour dispute continues

The announcement means games scheduled for Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 will no longer be played

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Offensive Facebook post by Okanagan Conservative riding sparks outrage

Post taken down after Conservative MP in neighbouring riding condemns it and demands removal

Judge rules against ALC on rural B.C. subdivision

The ALC can’t change the definition of an acre, the judge ruled.

Friends describe murder victim as ‘most caring guy we knew’

Jagvir Malhi of Abbotsford was not involved in gangs or criminal activity, they say

Most Read