The City of Surrey has been granted the right to have some limited construction work done on the controversial 84th Avenue project at Bear Creek Park despite the court having issued an interim injunction that temporarily stopped the project in its tracks.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge granted the City of Surrey a variance Friday to an interim injunction that the court had issued on July 30 ordering work to be stopped on the 84th Avenue road expansion project at the south end of Bear Creek Park until an application for a permanent injunction is heard on August 19.
The variance permits limited work to be done that includes “upgrading” a trail to permit construction machinery to access the site, the staging of equipment and destruction of 18 trees.
This involves a trail from the parking lot on 140th Street to a swampy forested area near King Creek.
The city plans to connect 140th Street to King George Boulevard via 84th Avenue.
The Force of Nature Society, Sajda and Annie Kaps filed a petition with the B.C. Supreme Court against the City of Surrey in July asking the court to declare as parkland properties impacted by the 84th Avenue project.
“Here is Surrey jeopardizing red-listed salmonid creeks at the same time the federal government is allocating $167 million for restoration of the Pacific Coast salmon,” Kaps said.
An affidavit from Ryan Borghesi, operations manager for Tybo Contracting Ltd., doing the construction work, indicated that if installation of a temporary culvert near King Creek and associated pre-load work is not done within this year’s “fish window” it would have to be done next year.
“That in turn would delay other steps in the construction which are dependant on the temporary culvert,” his affidavit reads. “The consequential steps include the installation of a bridge over Bear Creek, which is to the east of King Creek. The overall completion of the project would likely be delayed by approximately one year. In addition, Tybo would suffer substantial cost increases, which it would expect to recover from Surrey.”
Borghesi estimated that cost would be in the order of $3.5 million.
On July 27 council voted to award Tybo a $15,524,250 contract for work on the corridor and “associated park improvements” and Aplin & Martin Consultants Ltd. $682,500 for related engineering construction services.
Meantime, a group called Friends of Bear Creek Park, opposed to the project, vows to continue to picket every Saturday between 10 a.m. and noon at 84th and the George and 84th and 140th.
Donna Hanson, a member of that group, said she is disappointed by the latest court decision.
“We cannot afford to remove even 18 trees which provide a shaded tree canopy at this precarious time in our changing world,” she said. “Once the trees are gone, they are gone.”
An application file in response, on behalf of the petitioners, argued that the work “proposed to be done in the next two weeks will have serious and irreversible impacts on Bear Creek Park, and on the individual petitioners who as residents of Surrey are the beneficiaries entitled to the benefit of the use of the land as park land.”