After months of opposition and thousands of Surrey residents voicing their opposition to the project, the fate of Hawthorne Park will likely be decided today (Nov. 6).
Surrey council will consider a staff report, which recommends removing the reservation of a portion of Hawthorne Park from a park bylaw.
As part of the city’s planned 105 Avenue Corridor Project, city hall intends to build a road through Hawthorne Park.
The city report notes the two-lane road would affect four acres of parkland, and that 200 trees would have to fall.
But the city says it will be adding an additional five acres to the park by acquiring adjacent properties, which will add 450 new trees to the park.
The move has been met with significant opposition and a Save Hawthorne Park group has formed.
Steven Pettigrew, leader of the SHP group, said he’s shocked that city staff are recommending city council approve the final adoption.
“We will show up in force on Monday night and see what they do,” he told the Now-Leader.
If they go ahead, Pettigrew said they will be “signing the death of their political career.”
“We will not allow this road to go through the park,” he said in an email. “We will block the tractors with hundreds of people. We will hound them their entire campaign trail and make sure that they lose their seat.”
He added: “Get ready for battle.”
Opponents of the plan were tasked with collecting 30,372 signatures — from roughly 10 per cent of Surrey’s electors — within a month to stop city council from removing a bylaw that would enable the city to build a 105A corridor road through the park.
On their Sept. 22 deadline, they delivered thousands of signatures to the city clerk.
In the end, the city says it received 11,161 valid elector response forms against removing the protected status of a portion of Hawthorne Park.
The city’s justification for the 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 from Whalley Boulevard to 150 Street to ease traffic and reduce congestion.
-With files from Tom Zytaruk