Fish and trucks WON’T mix (for now) because GG Metro has withdrawn development application 15-0127 to re-zone 77 acres of agricultural land in one of the most ecologically-sensitive areas of the lower mainland. The application would have allowed development of the land for industrial use as a truck park and warehousing. City of Surrey Planning had sent a letter to the developers in September informing them that the file would be closed due to inactivity; GG Metro did not provide any comprehensive plans, reports, or studies required for the application in the year that its proposal sparked community outrage.
Thank you to all of the supporters of FHCV.
You attended meetings, displayed #fishntrucksdontmix signs, wrote letters, engaged with Surrey City Council and Staff, as well as Provincial and Federal officials, and Township of Langley Council and community – all this good work helped put the brakes on the proposed Truck Park. Your efforts helped preserve the Brookswood Aquifer and the Little Campbell River…for now.
Why “for now”?
The withdrawal of the file means that the 77 acres of agricultural land returns to the boundaries of the Hazelmere Valley Local Area Plan (South Campbell LAP). This is cautiously optimistic news.
HOWEVER, the closure of the truck park proposal and the return of the land to the LAP is only the first step to ensuring a sustainable future for Hazelmere Valley, the thousands of people reliant on potable water from the Brookswood Aquifer, the surrounding extensive ecosystem of the Little Campbell River watershed, the Agricultural Land Reserve lands on three sides, and the future of 16th Avenue.
Realistically, despite the withdrawal of the truck park application, nothing has changed since September 2015 when Surrey First Council, at the behest of Councillor Tom Gill, unanimously voted to exempt the 77 acres from the Local Area Plan. The need for truck parking for Surrey truckers remains, but this is a solution that must begin with the Province and not with discussion about one property.
Make no mistake: GG Metro is joining the Local Area Plan table with industrial zoning for the land as its goal. (Word of warning regarding Industrial zoning: anything goes. There may even be talk of Comprehensive Development (CD) rather than Industrial but it is not any better – just ask the neighbours to the Ebco Galvanizing plant which was built on CD-zoned land.) GG Metro’s public relations rep has peppered local media over the last week with ideas of “other options” for the land but reverts to the principle goal of industrial zoning in the Peace Arch News.
FHCV, well-represented at the City’s Local Area Plan table by major stakeholder groups and neighbours in the area, welcomes GG Metro’s representative to the discussion of future land use in Hazelmere Valley. This discussion takes place in with the context of Surrey’s Sustainability Charter and Agricultural policies, with planning professionals and engineers, and is conducted with full public consultation.
FHCV continues to fight for the security of the Aquifer, human health, food security, and the need to work with adjacent jurisdictions regarding water supply and river maintenance in the context of the City of Surrey’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy.
FHCV supports “no industrialization” south of 16th Ave, especially in areas surrounded by the Agricultural Land Reserve.
The FHCV along with landowners in the “South Campbell Valley” Local Area Plan have been meeting with City of Surrey Staff (from Planning, Engineering, Parks, and more) to bring concerns to the table and to craft a draft land use plan for the area. Finally on February 7, 2017, the results of this work was presented to the group. Read all about the proposed plan and be ready to participate with commentary at the open house in April or May 2017. Spoiler alert: the plan area is no longer named “South Campbell Heights.” As we insisted from September 2015 when the matter first came to light, the City has agreed to call it “Hazelmere Valley” …. and this is great because it is how we all identify the area. So, without futher ado, click here to read about the work of the Hazelmere Valley LAP advisory group and how you will be able to comment on the plan soon.