More than two dozen people attended a rally at Port Kells Park Saturday (Sept. 29) opposing a proposed industrial project that would convert the land across from the park to industrial from agricultural. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Surrey residents rally against Port Kells industrial development proposal

Save Surrey Parks launches campaign to protect parks, includes Port Kells proposal

More than two dozen people showed up to Port Kells Park Saturday afternoon (Sept. 29) to rally against a proposed industrial park development.

Prabh Mann, who organized the rally and started an online petition at change.org, said south Port Kells needs to be kept the way it is for “living and playing.”

“We’re trying to preserve Port Kells; leave it the way it is. All of north Port Kells is now industrial. We’ve given up over half our land mass to industries, so this part needs to be for living and playing,” Mann said.

The petition, Mann said, was started after a development proposal sign popped up at 9010 92nd St. to change the land to industrial from agricultural.

“We decided to have a rally here because there’s a developer that proposing to convert over 65 acres of agricultural land into an industrial development,” she said. “No developer should be able to pull that land out of the agricultural land reserve because once they do that, it’s only a matter of time before the developers come along and try to convert other land. It completely changes the face of the community.”

Mann said the proposed development extends to the land across the street from Port Kells Park. She said the proposal is “obviously completely unacceptable” because of “the traffic, the noise (and) the pollution” as the park is across the street, Port Kells Elementary is down the road and there are dozens of homes in the area that would be affected.

“Also, mind you, there are two creeks that run through that property and one of them — Latimer —is the last coho-spawning creek remaining and the other one is Bartesko, which is red-coded Class A which means it is highly protected by the city.”

According to city documents, the proposal is still in the initial review stage and has not yet come to council.

Mann said planning for the rally started a few weeks ago after a sign for the proposal popped up in front of the property “which is at the end of a dead-end street.”

“So unless you’re (in) one of the five houses down there, you’re not going to see the sign,” Mann said.

After someone sent out a letter informing the residents of the proposal, Mann said she began doing her research. She said she reached out to people in the community, distributed flyers and decided to plan the rally.

Mann said the rally had an “OK turnout” with about 30 people attending, including candidates from Doug McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition slate.

RELATED: Safe Surrey Coalition opposes removing any property from ALR

“As we were standing on the corner with our signs, so many cars drove by and stopped and (people) asked, ‘What are you doing? What is this about?’” said Mann, adding that a number of people had no idea that there was a proposal.

On the same day as the rally, Save Surrey Parks launched a new campaign to “petition the newly elected Surrey mayor and council to instruct staff to end the “Alternative Approval Process as a means of removing parkland dedications.”

RELATED: Group launches campaign to protect Surrey parks

The campaign co-ordinator is Steve Pettigrew who is also running with the Safe Surrey Coalition.

The Save Surrey Parks website states it is working with the communities of Rosemary Heights (154th Street and 37A Avenue) and Port Kells (192nd Street and 88th Avenue).

So far, Mann’s petition has 689 signatures out of a goal of 1,000 as of Tuesday (Oct. 2).

The next steps, Mann said, is to reach out to more people in the community and to create a website.

She said the proposal is in the “very initial stages.”

“We’re hoping we can stop it before it gets any further.”



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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