August 16, 2017 2:39 pm

Surrey residents take ‘save Hawthorne Park’ campaign to city hall

Fri, Jun 2: Surrey residents are angry that a proposed new road will go through a popular park. Catherine Urquhart reports.

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Surrey is gearing up for a city-wide vote on a proposed new road that has deeply divided the community.

The city plan is to build a new three kilometer road connecting 150th Street in Guildford to Whalley Boulevard.

READ MORE: Residents near Surrey’s Hawthorne Park upset with road proposal

The 105 Avenue Connector would cut through a park, school grounds and some homes’ front yards.

Surrey resident Steven Pettigrew is spearheading the opposition.

“[It’s] more money spent on something that doesn’t need to be done,” Pettigrew said on Wednesday from a booth set up in front of Surrey City Hall.

Pettigrew said the project will destroy Hawthorne Park, described in an online petition as “a beautiful forested area in North Surrey. It is home to countless wildlife species and is an oasis for the community.”

Opponents argue that the park has been designated as an ecologically sensitive area, and that the city is overreaching by using a new bylaw to remove its protected status.

The city is proposing to acquire five acres of land adjacent to the park to offset losses, expand the park’s footprint by one acre and add new trees and amenities.

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“We’ve been told this is for the benefit of the community,” Pettigrew said.

“I’ve talked to the community, I’ve literally talked to hundreds of homes, they don’t want it.”

B.C.’s Community Charter, which governs the City of Surrey, requires assent from the city’s voters to remove land from a park reservation.

READ MORE: Surrey residents concerned about new route planned through popular park

In order for the removal of the park not to proceed, 10 per cent of Surrey voters — more than 30,000 people — must indicate their opposition by September 22 by submitting an Elector Response Form.

The new two-lane road would include separated bicycle lanes and run parallel to 104 Avenue one block to the north.

The city says the need for an east-west connector has been on the books since Surrey’s 1986 Official Community Plan.

It says with the anticipated 2018 start date for Surrey’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) construction the road will be needed to ensure access to Guildford and Surrey City Centre.

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