A letter-writer says the Surrey council should demand better planning before approving development projects.

Huge problems in greenfield developments

We as the citizens of Surrey need to do whatever we can to ensure that our city pursues more sustainable development and planning choices.

It was mentioned in a news report regarding complaints about trucks on 32 Avenue in South Surrey recently that 32 Avenue’s truck route status was “not (the city’s) call.” But this overlooks the fact that it was precisely that.

Transportation demands are shaped by land use. Employment land should be easy to walk, bike, transit, or drive to, and be integrated into the community, but the industrial employment in the Campbell Heights area on the east end of 32 Avenue is none of the aforementioned. It is far from major highways leading to the port, U.S. border, or elsewhere. The fastest link in between, which truckers will prefer because they have demanding schedules to meet, is 32 Avenue.

Residential development was somehow conveniently placed on 32 Avenue between Campbell Heights and the highway. This design flaw could have been overlooked through a change in land use plans. Had it been closer to Highway 99, these problems might not exist. However, that would have required a different planning mentality and perhaps a different city council.

Regarding who’s at fault for Campbell Heights, you might be surprised. Coun. Marvin Hunt and then-Coun. Dianne Watts motioned and seconded the approval of its local area plan when it went through council in December 2000. It was carried with only Surrey Civic Coalition’s Bob Bose (retired opposition councillor) thoughtfully against.

The Surrey First council has since then approved several other greenfield developments such as Clayton Heights and Grandview Heights, and – no surprise – today these areas all have their share of huge problems.

Whether this signals that we need to be more careful with our political leadership choices or not, one thing is clear: To prevent more of these issues, we as the citizens of Surrey need to do whatever we can to ensure that our city pursues more sustainable development and planning choices. If that’s going to require a new council, then let’s vote for one in 2014.

 

Daryl Dela Cruz

Transportation analyst, Surrey

Surrey North Delta Leader

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