Motorists honk as they pass protestors with signs next to Hawthorne on 144 Street in Surrey. “It’s an easy sell,” says Steven Pettigrew. (Photo: Amy Reid)

VIDEOS: Protesters dig heels in as tree clearing set to begin at Surrey’s Hawthorne Park

‘We’re going to rally everybody there and have our last show of defiance to show support for the park’

SURREY — Crews are preparing to start bringing trees down today Hawthorne Park today (Jan. 9) and opponents are gathering in protest.

An angry – and tired – Tracie Woodhams was one of about dozen protesters at the park Tuesday morning.

“You have no idea how exhausted some of us are with all of the stuff we have had to do, all the hoops we have had to jump through,” said Woodhams, who held high a yellow sign that read “Save Hawthorne Park,” cars honking as they went by.

“And the fact it appears as if nobody is listening.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Surrey resident Richard Landale told the Now-Leader he was “heartbroken” as chainsaws could be heard in Hawthorne Park. He says council wants LRT “at any price – the environment is the price.”

After a Supreme Court ruling Monday dismissed a Surrey woman’s efforts to halt the City of Surrey’s controversial plan to build a road through the park, construction is beginning.

Despite the effort in court, and more than 11,000 Surrey residents formally voicing their disapproval of the project, it is moving ahead.

See more: VIDEO: Hawthorne Park fight not over after judge dismisses bid to halt plans

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

See also: VIDEO: ‘Save Hawthorne Park’ group delivers petition to Surrey City Hall – complete with a song

On Tuesday morning, Project Manager Victor Jhingan told the Now-Leader trees were set to be felled later in the day, if preparatory work is completed.

The contractor had already been undertaking preparation work for tree clearing prior to Monday’s court decision, including installing fencing and doing sediment control and other environmental protection work to ensure the site is secure before clearing begins, said Jhingan.

Tree clearing should be done by the week’s end, he added.

“By the end of this week work should be done for trees to be felled… and excavation would begin to make way for the road construction…. Over the next few months you’ll see a lot of earth works being done, removal of material and importing granular materials to allow for the ground to settle… road construction will start after that.”

While the city says it’s taking down about 200 trees, opponents claim its more like 2,000.

Leader of the Save Hawthorne Park group Steven Pettigrew has said members are prepared to block bulldozers, if it comes to that.

At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Pettigrew was preparing to head to the site in protest, with the intention to stay for the remainder of the day.

“We’re going to have a last stand,” he told the Now-Leader Tuesday morning. “We’re going to rally everybody there and have our last show of defiance to show support for the park…. By Friday, it’ll be done. We can continue to protest next week but the damage is done once the trees are down.”

Aside from protesting, Pettigrew said “we have other things on the go that are coming out soon. This is the week.”

Pettigrew said despite beginning construction, the city still hasn’t “got all their ducks in order.”

According to Pettigrew, the city still has three properties to expropriate in order to build the completed 105 Avenue connector road, and details about replacing the Hjorth Road Elementary school’s field – which the planned road would cut through – have yet to be solidified.

“And there’s still three properties at the north end of Hawthorne Park they want to buy,” he added.

In response, Project Manager Jhingan said the project is being implemented “on a phased construction approach, as we would with any large project of this scope.”

“The City has secured the necessary land required for the current phase of construction between 140th Street and 144th Street, and we are actively negotiating with property owners, including the School District, for the remaining land needed for subsequent phases of the project,” added Jhingan.

See also: VIDEO: Save Hawthorne Park members stage protest against tree cutting for road in Surrey Park (Jan. 3, 2018)

See also: PHOTOS: Renderings of proposed upgrades to Surrey’s Hawthorne Park

The City of Surrey has awarded the contract to complete phase one of the Hawthorne Park project to Tybo Contracting Ltd. Phase one of the contract is expected to be finished by Sept. 28, 2018. Estimates show that phase one should cost about $11.25 million.

The park will remain open to the public during construction, the city says. In addition to the road construction, the city is doing park improvements, creating new wetland habitats, relocating the existing parking lot and building a new entry plaza, Jhingan noted.

The main parking lot will be closed, but additional parking will be made available at the north end of the park, the city says.

The road through the park is one portion of the City of Surrey’s 105 Avenue Connector project.

The city’s justification for the connector road is to move utilities off 104 Avenue in preparation for light rail, that it’s been in the city’s Official Community Plan since 1986, and to create an east-west connector to Whalley Boulevard to 150 Street to ease traffic and reduce congestion.

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner recently told the Now-Leader that the 105 Avenue Connector Road project will improve access, circulation, and connectivity for the community between City Centre and Guildford, as well as improving the local transportation network.

Hepner insisted that the size of Hawthorne Rotary Park will not be diminished by the project.

“In fact, as part of the 105 Avenue Connector project, the City has been actively working on acquiring new lands to preserve as parkland, including high quality bio-diverse properties adjacent to the existing park,” Hepner said. “The land acquisitions will grow Hawthorne Rotary Park by more than one acre over its current size and add more than 200 new and substantial trees to the park.”

Stay tuned to this page for live updates as protesters ramp up at the park today.

Like us on Facebook and follow Amy on Twitter


Signs and fencing erected in Hawthorne Park, in preparation of trees to be cut down this week. (Photos: Laura Savage)

Just Posted

Semiahmoo wins Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic for second straight year

Totems’ senior boys battle back to top Tamanawis in tourney final at Enver Creek Saturday

Totems to battle Wildcats for Surrey RCMP Basketball championship

Match set for 7:45 p.m. at Enver Creek Secondary

‘Nothing comes from exclusion,’ says Surrey man who fought for LGBT rights in Albania

Ejron Tela moved to Surrey after leading Albanian movement to get equal rights for LGBT community

Flavourful journey through the city

BIA’s Taste White Rock event returns

WIND WARNING: Metro Vancouver expecting 100 km/h gusts Saturday night

Environment Canada issues warns of possibly dangerous conditions

VIDEO: Surrey reviewing Clayton crosswalk after pedestrian hit

The city says investigation in response to safety concerns from local resident

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants blanked by Portland Winterhawks

Saturday’s 2-0 setback marks first regulation loss for G-Men in 10 games

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

VIDEO: Remember the Voyageurs at Fort Langley

Two-day historical festival underway

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Snow warning in effect for the Coquihalla

A snowfall warning is in effect from Hope to Merritt as slush and snow is expected on highways this weekend

Vancouver hoping free public Wi-Fi expansion will drive tourism dollars

Mayor Gregor Robertson says expansion bolsters its “leading Smart City” status

Most Read