Surrey council approves controversial road through Hawthorne Park
A controversial new road that would cut through Surrey’s Hawthorne Park looks like it will be going ahead.
Surrey city council voted to approve the proposed 105 Avenue Connector on Monday at a raucous meeting packed by project opponents.
The unanimous vote by council means crews now have the green light to proceed with construction on the three kilometre road that will link Guildford with Surrey City Centre.
The city says the road is needed to alleviate congestion once work gets underway in 2018 for a new light rail transit (LRT) project.
“we’re trying to minimize the impact to that park, we’re trying to minimize the impact to individuals and individual homeowners,” says Councillor Tom Gill.
WATCH: Plans for new road irk Surrey residents
The vote was met by jeers from opponents in the council chambers, and chants of “No road!”
Councillors walked out of the chamber in response.
The new road will cut through Hawthorne Park, some front yards and the grounds of Hjorth Road Elementary School.
Opponents have argued that the construction will irreversibly damage the park, which has been designated as ecologically sensitive.
WATCH: Surrey residents rally against proposed road through Hawthorne Park
Outside council chambers Steve Pettigrew told supporters he’ll stand in front of bulldozers if necessary.
“I need to know which of you we can call upon if we have to go in front of them, give me a show of hands, which of you are willing to stand with my family and me if the tractors come, okay so we’ve got about 20 or 30 people fine, okay.”
Tracy Woodhams vows the fight isn’t over.
“I’ll stand in front of the bulldozers, I’ll chain myself to a tree, this is my park.”
Some protesters were near tears.
“I’m most mad about the fact that that those people, those people that are supposed to represent all of us are not listening to us; I love the green space and uh it’s really sad; I was really disappointed I thought council may take pause and consider the community’s input looking for different options.”
Before the vote, Mayor Linda Hepner took time to address the dozens of protesters.
“I was a little upset with some of the language I heard that was actually downright bullying frankly and honestly there seems to be a social licence that being threatened or being bullied that has gained traction in our whole world today and that is not part of our this council’s decision-making process.”
Nov. 3: Surrey city council to vote on controversial road through Hawthorne Park
However, the city will be adding five acres to the park and planting 500 replacement trees and will relocate Hjorth Elementary’s school yard.
Back in September, project opponents launched a petition campaign to block the road, but only managed to collect about one third of the 30,000 signatures needed to derail it.
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.