Tracy Holmes photo

Tracy Holmes photo

LETTERS: Surrey residents brace for future

Residents write in how they perceive development in Surrey to be affecting their neighbourhoods


When I relocated my family to Beautiful British Columbia nearly a decade ago, I opted to live on the Peninsula for a number of reasons.

Surrey, as the “City of Parks,” proved particularly attractive given the wonderful environment and large number of trees compared to other areas.

In the following years I have seen numerous academic articles extolling the many benefits of living in such a neighbourhood. These include improved air quality, protected wildlife, increased security and general wellbeing for both physical and mental health.

Furthermore, there is a positive correlation to green areas and higher house values.

Unfortunately, in the following years, I have been shocked to observe widespread devastation of trees on both public and private land.

Development of property is an inevitable consequence of living in a desirable area. However, that must be accomplished in a balanced manner and managed by our political representatives, if we are to avoid a significant further negative shift in the environment that surrounds us.

In the run up to council elections, I will support politicians who protect what makes our surroundings so special and especially our trees. I implore your readers to do the same and encourage people to be vocal about our surroundings.

David Hutchinson, Surrey

• • •

After attending the Oct. 23 open house held by the Surrey School District displaying plans for their proposed development on our street, I am dismayed.

A year’s work comprising many talks and walks through the area proved an empty exercise. All the right words but no action. I could not save one magnificent Douglas fir due to the board’s insistence on keeping the larger rugby field instead of the smaller American field, which would have accommodated it. This was one tree on a property of 2½ acres.

A few trees have been saved by the arborist, but the loss will be huge. The district’s land on our street comprises almost 23 acres.

Firstly, the new Grandview Heights high school should be located on 24 Avenue, not 26 Avenue, a small, beautifully treed rural road. It will, of course, be widened, with the loss of yet more trees. This will be the largest school in Surrey, accommodating 1,500 students, a lot of whom will be driving cars. At the same time, our elementary school just down the road will be enlarged to twice its current size.

Calculations are showing an increase of approximately 2,000 cars daily on 26 Avenue.

It is important to emphasize that we recognize the need for both the new high school and enlargement of our elementary school. The children are being crowded out by the ruthless rate of development in Grandview Heights, and parents are at their wit’s end.

Solution? Forget, if you like, old-timers like myself who have grown used to rural peace and beauty. Things have changed and we must adjust. Do not, however, forget the environment, animal habitat and the benefits that mature trees give us.

The young ones and their children in the future will pay the price for our folly.

As for 26 Avenue, I believe that the focus should on the Pacific Heights Elementary. We have grown fond of them and want the best for them. Give them what they need and want. Their safety must be of utmost importance. One school, developed properly, is all our street can accommodate.

Ask yourself if high-powered cars from the high school driving down 26 Avenue is not risking the safety of little children at an elementary school half a block away. Engineering assured us that 26th Avenue will be open for all. This is not good. Remember, too, the overworked mother, dropping off one child at the elementary school, then driving her second child to another school.

As for the new Grandview Heights high school, it should be located on 24 Avenue. There is room for it. It is a large and impressive piece of architecture, blending in well with the pool already there and should make quite a statement in this new ‘urban centre’ of Surrey.

Sybil Rowe, Surrey

Peace Arch News