REID: When even trustees say curb growth in Surrey, it’s time to listen

Growth isn’t bad, nor is development. But at some point it has to be time to draw the line.

Enough is enough. Infrastructure needs to keep pace with growth in Surrey.

I have to tip my hat this week to independent Surrey school trustee Laurae McNally who has called for city council to temporarily suspend development applications in areas of massive growth until our most crowded schools have time to catch up.

Kudos, Laurae.

And kudos to the rest of Surrey’s board of education that unanimously passed her motion.

This newspaper has published numerous articles and opinion pieces on the negative effects of rapid growth. I myself penned a column last November titled ‘Surrey’s grow-at-all-costs strategy hurting students.’

SEE ALSO: Adversity is exhausting our city

SEE ALSO: Insane growth pace is the real problem

One of the areas McNally suggests we halt growth in happens to be where I live. Grandview in South Surrey.

I regularly jog around my neighbourhood and it’s impossible to miss townhouse after townhouse complex popping up. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against townhouses. Heck, I live in one.

It’s a form of housing that’s affordable for a young family such as mine. And this is a desirable area. Close to the beach. Plenty of amenities within walking distance.

No wonder developers are cashing in. We want to be there.

But at what point does growth become a negative, not a positive? And are we past that point in some areas of Surrey?

The catchment boundary I live in will have my children going to Sunnyside Elementary. In case you missed it, Peace Arch News revealed last week that Sunnyside is so overcrowded it’s projected to have five – maybe even six – kindergarten classes next fall.

Six. Yes, you read that right.

On top of that, the school will need four new portables.

SEE ALSO: Surrey School District plans for massive growth in next decade

My son currently attends school in North Delta, where we used to live. There were two kindergarten classes at the time he entered school – and no portables.

The prospect of transferring him into a school that’s this overcrowded frightens me. He has so many wonderful supports in his current school and I worry in a school that’s overcapacity, he’ll fall through the cracks.

Then there’s child care. It’s going to be a heck of a lot more expensive in South Surrey than North Delta. That I anticipated, but what I didn’t anticipate is that it would be so tough to find a spot at all, price tag aside. And I just learned the Montessori daycare that operated out of Sunnyside is closing at the end of this school year.

Plus, I’ve yet to find any daycare providers that will cater to my school-aged son and my toddler.

I’ll be looking at two drop offs, and two pick ups. Wonderful. (Good business opportunity here, cough cough.)

So there are more kids, but less child care spots? Hmm.

Growth isn’t bad, nor is development. But at some point it has to be time to draw the line.

Something’s gotta give.

SEE ALSO: Area’s schools are ‘bursting at the seams’

We can blame the province for not forking out enough money to build the new schools and additions Surrey needs – and so we should – but as McNally has pointed out, city council has a responsibility here as well.

They’re the ones approving the new townhouses that are popping up left, right and centre in my neighbourhood.

School board chair Shawn Wilson said without some relief, the district may have to consider “extreme measures” such as having morning and afternoon “shifts” at some schools. French immersion and fine arts programs could be cut, too, he added.

Seriously?

That’s what it has come to?

As district spokesman Doug Strachan told Peace Arch News, “Short of telling young families you can’t move here, we’re doing all we can.”

Separate from the school board’s request, a petition has been launched calling on Minister of Education Mike Bernier and all of city council to “suspend all new developments in Surrey until the BC government funds new schools at pace.”

Will city hall answer that call and stop approving new developments in the affected neighbourhoods?

(They’re Grandview/South Surrey, South Newton and Clayton, by the way.)

Time will tell.

Amy Reid is staff writer with the Now. She can be reached at amy.reid@thenownewspaper.com

Just Posted

55-year-old man taken to hospital after fire at Surrey RV park

Firefighters find man suffering from smoke inhalation, burns to face and hands: battalion chief

South Surrey parking ticket perplexes, frustrates

Theresa Delaney predicts more people will be wrongly ticketed

OUR VIEW: Let’s find Surrey pellet-gun punks

Those who do have information – if they are also possessed of a conscience – must contact police

Coldest Night an event for warm hearts

Sources’ White Rock event one of 130 walkathons across Canada on Feb. 23

VIDEO: A new Hive climbing/fitness facility coming to Surrey in 20,000-sq.-ft. space

‘Bouldering’ and other activities planned at site near Pattullo Bridge

VIDEO: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Flying squirrels found to glow pink in the dark, including two from B.C.

Squirrels from Hope and Abbotsford were included in the biologists’ database

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Wilson-Raybould resignation stokes anger, frustration within veterans community

Liberals have had three veterans-affairs ministers — Kent Hehr, Seamus O’Regan and Wilson-Raybould

No Center of Gravity festival in Kelowna this summer: organizers

COG organizers said the hope is to return to the Okanagan in 2020

Most Read