Surrey won’t pave park for a parking lot

Two temple organizers have been told proposal to add more asphalt in Bear Creek Park is off the table.

An aerial view of the portion of Bear Creek Park where a parking lot expansion was proposed.

A fight to keep the city from paving over a portion of Bear Creek Park for a parking lot is over. Surrey said Thursday it will keep the area green space.

The city had recently proposed entering into an agreement with a Sikh gurdwara and Vedic Hindu temple on 140 Street near 84 Avenue, allowing the places of worship to build a parking lot for 100 more cars. The plan would have required the paving of a southeast section of Bear Creek Park.

Area residents were infuriated with the plan.

“Leave our park alone,” George Zaklan said at the time. “It’s not what’s best for us (individually), or what’s best for us as a city.”

Last week, the city told the representatives from the two temples the deal was off.

“The city is very keen to preserve the parkland it already has,” said Manager of Parks Owen Croy, noting the city buys about 100 acres of park every year.

“It doesn’t seem prudent to be out buying additional parkland, yet taking land out of the parkland inventory for other purposes.”

He said it’s also felt there’s enough parking for patrons of Bear Creek and that it’s not common practice for the parks department to engage in third-party deals over city green space.

“We believe that the parkland was purchased for the purposes of Surrey and the residents in a park setting, not for third-party uses,” Croy said.

Zaklan was pleased with the outcome, but believes the fight for Bear Creek Park is far from over.

He estimates over the past 20 years, there have been about five different failed assaults on the park by people looking to pave various portions of it.

“It’s going to be an ongoing battle,” Zaklan said.

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