A 117-unit townhouse development for Fleetwood got the green light from council on Monday night following an hour-long public hearing marked by both eager support and vehement opposition from residents.
It passed third reading in a 5-3 vote, with the Safe Surrey Coalition majority in favour and Councillors Linda Annis, Jack Hundial and Brenda Locke opposed. The location of the development will be 16483 and 16487–89 Ave.
“I visited the site, I saw the congestion, the potential congestion,” Annis said. “I saw this narrow lane going down that’s going to serve 117 townhouses, it just doesn’t make sense.”
Locke said the road will be a “challenge” for children leaving and cars heading in. “It’s going to be way too tight and congested.”
Both Annis and Locke also questioned why the developer listed on signage at the site was the wrong developer.
“I can’t imagine the challenges, trying to build this, is going to put on that neighbourhood,” Locke said.
Hundial said trying to move heavy equipment in to build this project is “going to be extremely challenging, noisy, messy and I don’t know how you would do it.”
Twenty-three people spoke at Monday’s public hearing.
Resident Gary Milne told council it failed to read a recommendation from the City of Surrey’s own planning department “who rejected” the proposal “for the obvious reason we can all see – access.”
He also said the project will remove an urban forest containing 148 giant Redwood Sequoia trees. Gerry Chose said the noise from traffic will be “horrendous.
“The smoke from the cars, the exhaust, the noise, the dust, it’s just make it unbelievably unfriendly to live there anymore,” he said.
Wildlife biologist Sofi Hindmarch told council barn owls, a provincially a red-listed species, will be harmed by the loss of habitat there. “This site is undeniably important hunting habitat for the remaining barn owls in Surrey,” she said. “Based on it being identified as critical habitat and the nearby nest sites, I oppose this development.”
Amrik Cheema spoke in support of the project, expressing concern for young people’s ability to find affordable housing.
Lynn Foulds also supports it, noting so many people can’t afford to buy single family houses any more.
“I fully support new life coming into the neighbourhood,” resident Brandy Vautour said, “new families being able to grow and prosper as well as being able to take advantage of all of the nice areas that we have here in the Surrey area.”
Mike Kompter, an engineering consultant for the project, said the property is not in the Agricultural Land Reserve and the project is “very low density” in comparison to many other townhouse projects.
“This proposed development will cater to people who are looking for a strata-type property in a quiet neighbourhood with a private access and an emphasis on environmental greenspace as its surrounding scenery.”