Proponents behind plans for a truck park on 77 acres abutting the Little Campbell River in South Surrey have withdrawn their rezoning application.
Patrick Giesbrecht, spokesman for proponent GG Metro, told Peace Arch News this week that the company sent notice to the city Wednesday of the decision. A news release was issued that evening.
The announcement comes one week after Giesbrecht confirmed to PAN that GG Metro was considering “other uses than industrial” for the site, and had agreed to be involved in the City of Surrey’s Local Area Planning exercise.
The moves were in response to local opposition to the truck-park plans.
It was a year ago, when council endorsed the preparation of an LAP for the area south of 16 Avenue near 192 Street, that those plans were shared. Coun. Tom Gill made a surprise request to push the application forward ahead of the LAP.
Members of environmental groups that watch over the fish-rich Little Campbell were highly critical, and cited concerns that pollutants from such a facility would threaten both the river and the Brookswood aquifer.
Other concerns included the impact to traffic along the already-busy 16 Avenue, and food security.
Members of Langley Township council also chimed in, with one councillor proposing a vote to condemn the project. The group voted instead to put off taking a position on the project until there was a detailed plan to look at.
In calling to push the application forward, Gill said that a need for truck parking throughout the city drove his request.
That need, Giesbrecht said Thursday, remains “a huge issue, and it will have to be solved one way or the other.”
But while GG Metro no longer has a truck park in its sights, Giesbrecht said that does not guarantee a similar facility won’t be built in the area.
“That door has not been closed at this point from the city’s side,” Giesbrecht said, pointing to the LAP exercise.
“That exercise will have a life of its own.
“In the past, the city has had an eye for using that land for employment land. But we’re committed to come up with a land use that’s much more agreeable to the local community.
“The truck parking issue is still going to have to be solved.”
Giesbrecht said GG Metro does not have a preset idea for what they’d now like to see on the site. Options that could come out of the LAP include institutional, residential and light industrial.
Giesbrecht said whatever it is, the goal is one that was highlighted by Semiahmoo Fish & Game Club spokesman Ron Meadley in an interview with PAN last week.
“(Meadley said) anything can be built there as long as the integrity of the river and aquifer are protected,” Giesbrecht said.
“Now we know exactly what the goal is. Whatever they designate along there will need to meet that criteria.”