You don’t need a crystal ball to see that environmental issues and Surrey’s rate of development could loom large in the City of Parks’ civic elections this coming October.
Controversy continues to pile on the Surrey First council as members of the Coyote Creek Action Committee railed against a large housing development proposal Saturday in Newton, carrying signs such as “Traffic nightmare,” and “Lost habitat” and “Overcrowded Schools.”
That very night also saw members of Save Hawthorne Park, in Guildford, stage a vigil to grieve trees falling to chainsaws as the city moves ahead with its plan to run a connector road through that particular park. The Hawthorne conflict has been the subject of many a headline this year and last, and has been fueled mostly by concern for the loss of environmental habitat.
This fresh controversy Saturday morning, which saw roughly 150 residents rally against a proposal to develop 325 homes at Eaglequest Surrey Coyote Creek golf course on 152nd Street, has not only so-called tree huggers agitated but Joe and Jane Citizen feeling under seige for a variety of reasons, not the least of which simply being that they feel it’s all too much for their neighbourhood. That proposal is expected to to public hearing Feb. 5.
A photo of Hawthorne Park after tree-clearing. (Photo: Kim Waite).
It wasn’t that long ago, in 2016, that Surrey council drew the ire of residents and environmentalists opposed to the rezoning of roughly five hectares (about 12 acres) of forest next to Green Timbers Urban Forest to make way for an emergency shelter, transitional housing, a bio-energy station and other civic projects. What new controversies will pop up involving lost green space, increased traffic gridlock, and what some might see as mitotic land development in our city, during an election year?
In the case of Hawthorne Park and Green Timbers, resident groups had their say but in the end council approved the projects anyway. Will the same happen with Eaglequest?
Perhaps we’ll see who the silent majority really is when we go to the polls in October. The question is, how large a slice of that silent majority will bother to vote?