Surrey’s Hawthorne Park. (Photo: Surrey.ca)

Surrey’s Hawthorne Park petitioners want Surrey to extend window to collect signatures

Group’s leader says it’s within the City’s power

A group of Surrey residents trying to stop the City’s plan to build two roads through Hawthorne Park is asking city council to extend the window they’ve been given to collect the 30,372 signatures needed on special forms to stop the civic government from proceeding with the project.

“They can give us 45, or 50 or 60 days if they wanted to, if they really want to hear from the people,” said Steven Pettigrew, of Save Hawthorne Rotary Park.

Pettigrew noted that provincial guidelines governing the so-called “Alternative Approval Process” states that “local governments may consider establishing a longer that 30-day timeframe for an AAP when it is held during a holiday season or time when a high percentage of the electorate are absent from the community.”

The campaigners have until Sept. 22 to get their signatures collected. “We have only 18 post-holiday days to collect the signatures,” Pettigrew told the Now-Leader.

“If it’s held during the holiday season, or when people are away, it’s not really supposed to be held during this time.”

“It should actually be started in the fall, when everyone’s back from vacation,” he said.

Surrey City Councillor Tom Gill, who was acting as mayor while Linda Hepner was away, said councill needs to be “open-minded” on this.

“I think if there’s community concern that they need more time, certainly I think that we need to be open-minded to look at that,” Gill told the Now-Leader. “I think that given the timeframes that we’re dealing with, in terms of some initiatives, I think that that’s an issue, but certainly I think that council did keep that in mind in terms of the direction that they are currently going with; they did permit additional times for in excess of that 30 days, just given the holiday season, and I think that really is just to ensure that the community’s voice is heard.”

Meantime, a Save Hawthorne Park rally will be held on Thursday, August 17, from 6:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Our Lady of Good Counsel’s school auditorium, at 10504 139th St.

Speakers will discuss the City of Surrey’s plan for the park and at the end there will be a question-and-answer period. Tables will be set up where the Electors Response Form can be filled out. For more information, check out https://www.facebook.com/groups/443005682741874/

tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com