Protesters at Cloverdale Fairgrounds show their support for farmers in India. (File photo: Jason Sveinson)

Protesters at Cloverdale Fairgrounds show their support for farmers in India. (File photo: Jason Sveinson)

COLUMN

ZYTARUK: Surrey’s valuable farmland – just like India’s – needs protecting

Now that is a legacy worth voting for

homelessphoto

So let it be written…

Surrey Environmental Partners president Deb Jack held a telling mirror up to city council on Monday, as she typically does during public hearings on land development applications as they relate to Mother Nature.

The lesson was particularly biting, if not embraced.

At issue was Conwest (Bear Creek) GP Ltd.’s application to rezone land from General Agriculture Zone to Business Park 3 Zone to subdivide a site at 6856 152nd Street and 15331-68th Avenue into three industrial lots and build an 8,361 square-metre building.

The application won third-reading approval from council, despite the politicians getting an earful during a public hearing why that wouldn’t be a good idea.

On April 26, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum’s motion asking council to “stand in solidarity” with farmers in India was unanimously passed.

Jack said it’s “interesting” Surrey has been having demonstrations all over the city “with big signs talking about saving agricultural land, and the importance of food and farmers – but here in Surrey we happily take agricultural land, whether or not it’s in the Agricultural Land Reserve, and consider it land waiting to be built upon.

“An interesting contradiction, do you not think?”

READ ALSO: Surrey MP says mayor’s motion to support Indian farmers is his to make

READ ALSO: Surrey mayor’s motion supporting Indian farmers passes without debate

Richard Landale, a Fleetwood resident, noted that roughly 20 years ago the area was all farming.

“Over time, every tree has been stripped off the land as application by application developed the land.

“When is enough, enough?” he asked, noting that the development would kill 432 mature trees.

“That is a clear cut,” he said.

“I’m in such despair.”

McCallum cut him off. The mayor cut off three speakers, all told, during this particular hearing.

Speaker Linda Joyce Ypenburg, also of Fleetwood, said she’s “adamantly” opposed to seeing agricultural land replaced by three industrial lots.

“It will destroy valuable farmland,” she said. “We don’t need another industrial park to be built on this site. You, Mayor McCallum, are in support of farmers in India – how about supporting our own farmers in Surrey? Do they not matter?”

Notably, as council considered an unrelated corporate report during this same council meeting, McCallum remarked that the city will be needing more townhouses, and soon, to accommodate what he says will be a post-pandemic wave of immigration into Surrey.

“We have a big bulge coming,” the mayor prophesied.

“There is, once COVID-19 is over, a huge build-up of immigration that is going to come to Surrey,” McCallum told his fellow council members. “Again, we do not have the supply right now to provide those housing for those people therefore the cost of housing will start to skyrocket.”

It goes without saying that while human heads need a place to rest, human mouths also need to be fed.

Anyone who’s been to their local grocery store lately knows that food is getting more and more expensive. And it won’t be getting any less expensive, or available, if our leaders keep permitting land developers to build business parks on agricultural land.

Surrey council members really should take this to heart, and make it their mission to protect this city’s farmland for today and future generations. Now that is a legacy worth voting for.

So let it be done.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram  and follow Tom on Twitter

City of SurreydevelopmentFarmingSurreyzytaruk column so let it be done

Just Posted

People were lined up around the fields at a drop-in vaccine clinic at Newton Athletic Park on Tuesday (April 27, 2021), which is one of the high-transmission neighbourhoods that are being given vaccine priority. This clinic was one of at least three to open in the city on Tuesday. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s weekly cases continue to drop, push for 80% vaccination rate citywide

BCCDC reports 263 cases for Surrey the week of May 30 to June 5

Friends of Bear Creek Park held a ‘yellow-ribbon event’ on Saturday (June 12, 2021), with protesters at 84th Avenue and King George Boulevard and 84th Avenue and 140th Street. People were asked to tie a yellow ribbon in their yard “to celebrate and to show support for our trees in Bear Creek Park.” (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Protesters hold ‘yellow-ribbon’ event at Surrey’s Bear Creek Park

People asked to tie a yellow ribbon in their yard to ‘show support for our trees’

Fleetwood Park Secondary School’s 2021 commencement ceremonies were held over the course of two days, June 10 and 11. Grads went through a small, distanced ceremony in groups of four, with up to four members of the grad’s household. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s 2021 grads find creative ways to celebrate in another year of COVID-19

This year’s Grade 12 students were unable to have any large-scale events

Hundreds gathered at Surrey’s Holland Park Friday (June 11) in memory of the Muslim family killed in London, Ont. on Sunday (June 6). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Hundreds gather at Surrey park in memory of victims in London attack

Vigil organized by Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians

(Photo: metro creative stock)
Canada India Network Society hosts event on chronic disease

2021 event coincides with International Day of Yoga

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read