South Surrey’s Bayview Park. (Photo: surrey.ca)

Parkland in Surrey grows in 2016, as does number of trees cut down

Overall parkland grew by eight hectares, while almost 10,000 trees cut down

SURREY — The City of Surrey’s park inventory grew in 2016.

The year also saw close to 10,000 trees cut down throughout the city.

According to a 2016 Official Community Plan review document, overall parkland grew by eight hectares from 2015 to 2016, from 2,703 to 2,711.

In fact, the city reports an increase each year since 2011: from 2,558 in 2011, 2,587 in 2012, 2,599 in 2013 to 2,653 in 2014.

The City of Surrey splits its parks into four categories: natural preserve, neighbourhood, community and city.

Surrey didn’t increase its natural preserve areas in 2016, but instead held steady at 652 hectares, which is a decrease from 662 in 2011, but up from 626 in 2014.

See also: Emotions high after Surrey approves controversial road through Hawthorne Park

The city’s neighbourhood park stock grew by one hectare from 2015 to 2016, from 426 to 427 (up from 347 in 2011).

Community parks grew by three hectares in 2016, from 657 to 661, up from 639 in 2011 and 609 in 2012.

Meantime, city-level park inventory grew by two hectares, from 969 in 2015 to 971 in 2016. That’s up from 910 in 2011 and 967 in 2012.

As part of its Biodiversity Conservation Strategy, the city has identified priority sensitive lands to obtain for its Green Infrastructure Network (GIN).

Currently, 34 per cent (or 1,230 hectares) identified in the GIN is privately owned and 66 per cent (or 2,420 hectares) is city-owned.

In 2016, 53.4 hectares of GIN lands were added to a city or regional park system.

The city also revealed how many shade trees it’s been planting, more than 4,000 for every four-year period since the year 2006.

In 2016, Surrey exceeded its goal of 4.2 hectares of parkland per 1,000 residents, instead ending the year with 5.2 hectares per 1,000 residents.

Resident Grant Rice said Surrey is at the “low end of the scale” when it comes to the recommended park space per capita.

“In order to keep up with the city’s current growth we would have to add approximately 62 hectares a year just to maintain the 5.2,” ratio, said Rice.

“According to the World Urban Parks Organization the median for urban park provision was 14.2 hectares per 1,000 population,” he noted. “That would require an additional 3,500 hectares of parks without any further growth.”

Click here to read a report from World Urban Parks Organization.

Tree-cutting activity in Surrey in 2016

While the city’s inventory of parkland is growing, it coincides with an increase of trees being cut down.

In 2016, 9,893 trees were removed in Surrey, which is a jump of 1,333 from the year prior.

In fact, over the last seven years, tree cuts have been climbing steadily, from 4,662 in 2009 to this year’s figure, which represents a jump of 112 per cent.

See also: Tree loss grows as development gains ground

Here are some figures from 2016:

  • Number of trees removed: 9,893
  • Number of regular tree cutting permits issued: 1,311
  • Number of hazardous tree cutting permit issued: 310
  • Green City Fund (cash in lieu) collected: $2,366,388
  • Number of hazardous trees removed: 426
  • Number of tree replacement required: 15,193
  • Replacement trees proposed: 7,913
  • Number of trees retained: 3,256
  • Number of trees cut due to infraction: 69
  • Tree By-Law Infractions/Penalties: $54,000
  • Boulevard and park trees planted by Parks Department 19,323
  • Tree Cutting Permits for an additional 3254 trees were applied for but not approved in 2016.

With files from Black Press



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

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