Two large high-rise developments for Surrey’s city centre received third-reading approval from council following a public hearing on Monday.
But not before a local environmentalist voiced opposition to more than 100 mature trees being killed off to make way for one of the projects, with Redwoods among them.
Anthem Properties Group Ltd. proposes to build at 10232 Whalley Blvd. three high-rise mixed-use towers (31, 33 and 38 storeys), two low-rise six-storey residential buildings and a single-storey commercial building.
Council received 21 letters in support and two in opposition.
Speaker Jasmeet Jaswal, a life-long Whalley resident, spoke in support of the project.
“Fast-tracking and approving such projects and adding more supply into the market is imperative,” he told council. “We’ve seen house prices rise at alarming rates and in my opinion the best way to tackle this is add more supply into the market.”
Bonnie Burnside, of the Downtown Business Improvement Association, also spoke in support of the project, saying the development “ticks off so many things that people in Surrey want.”
Marilyn Smith, speaking on behalf of Fleetwood resident Richard Landale, said the project will destroy mature trees and the area is already crowded with high-rises.
Deb Jack, of Surrey Environmental Partners, told council 103 of 104 mature trees will be killed to make way for this project.
“Pardon the pun but it’s a dead shame to have this happen in the centre of Surrey’s town centre,” she said. “They’re going to keep a single Norway Maple. But specifically, I’d like to address the issue of the Redwoods that are going to be killed off by the city for roads. I don’t understand why there cannot be an attempt to save these trees seeing as how they’re in the category of trees that are supposed to be particularly conserved and preserved in this city.”
Kelly Walker Schobel, senior manager of community relations for Anthem, says 200 replacement trees are required and Anthem has proposed to plant 104 on site. “The developer will make a cash contribution to the Green City fund to account for the 96 replacement trees that are required for the project,” Schobel said.
The second project, proposed by Berkeley Enterprises Ltd., is a 48-storey mixed-use building at 10744-52 City Pkwy., featuring 6,690 square metres of office and commercial floor space within a four-storey podium and 593 market residential dwellings above that.
The architect, Richard Bernstein, confirmed that 11 trees will be removed but 100 new trees will be provided by the development.
Council voted unanimously in favour of both projects without debate.
After the meeting, Coun. Linda Annis told the Now-Leader both projects feature office space “which we desperately need in downtown Surrey.
“One of the concerns I have is that we’re building an awful lot of condos and we can’t continue to do that and become a commuter city for all the other jurisdictions like Vancouver,” she explained.
“We need people to be living here, and working in downtown Surrey, and these two applications do have office space which is a great thing because it will provide some employment for people in Surrey.”