Just because you can build a road doesn’t mean you should.
That’s the message a group called the Friends of Bear Creek Park delivered to Surrey’s council-in-committee meeting Monday afternoon during a delegation presentation aimed at getting the politicians to re-consider their decision to build a $13-million road at the south end of the park.
Sebastian Sajda and Deb Jack, of the Friends of Bear Creek Park, made their case during the digital meeting, speaking to the “negative” impacts expanding the road between King George Boulevard and 140th Street will have on the park.
“Bear Creek Park is ours – a natural heritage,” Jack said. “It’s imperative we not risk its health and integrity and it’s our obligation to provide for future citizens to practise true sustainability.
“Just because you can build a road,” she said, “doesn’t mean you should.”
Sajda laid out an argument why traffic at 88th Avenue and King George – which the city says is a prime reason why 84th is being expanded – is not as bad as the city says it is.
While the city claims the intersection has the highest number of severe crashes in Surrey, he said, data sourced from the Nirvan Legal Corporation from 2016 to 2019 put it as Surrey’s 10th most dangerous intersection and 128th Street and 96th Avenue as the most dangerous.
He said the city’s own Vision Zero program, aimed at reducing traffic injuries and deaths in Surrey, is a better way to tackle any traffic problem at 88th Avenue and King George than punching a road through at the south end of the park.
“We have to ask, why build a road that will critically damage an important park when the city could instead follow through with Vision Zero?”
Jack told council-in-committee that “destroying Bear Creek Park’s ecosystem integrity is a confusion for citizens.
“Everywhere on the planet we are experiencing existential crises,” Jack noted. “The world as we knew it is over. Connectivity needs to be ensured as so much of the planet is highly fragmented. Intact nature is a necessity for humanity.”
Jack said the controversial road project will destroy the integrity of a “high-valued biodiversity ecosystem.
“The destruction absolute, the guts torn out, huge forest trees, extensive understory water issues about natural seepages, etcetera,” she said. “Bear Creek Park is unique with an interface of five habitat types rarely found in urban parks. Old fields, wet meadow, forest, riparian and creeks.
“With 84 through we can expect a lot of roadkill, especially owls,” she said. “Where is the refuge for all of the displaced creatures if you proceed with your plan?”