Construction of a new nature trail in South Surrey’s Campbell Heights neighbourhood got underway Tuesday (Oct. 19) with a ‘shovels in the ground’ ceremony.
According to news releases from the City of Surrey and the SurreyCares Community Foundation, the 500-metre trail is the first phase of enhancements to Keery Park, which is located on the western edge of Campbell Heights. It was “named to recognize the Keery family’s contributions to the community and is a legacy of their place in the history of the City of Surrey.”
The family originated from Ireland and arrived in Surrey in 1890. John Keery – described at surreyhistory.ca as “a kind and generous man with warm compassion for his neighbour” – served on city council for 20 years between 1894 and 1928 and farmed in the Kensington Prairie neighbourhood. His son, Robert – one of three children – also served on council.
Signage at the park explains that the family sold produce in New Westminster and raised horses and pigs for local farms on 30 acres at 168 Street and 40 Avenue. They acquired the land for the park – 17 acres in all, at 188 Street and 28 Avenue – from the Surrey School District in exchange for land near 168 Street and 32 Avenue, the current site of the Kensington Prairie Community Centre.
In 2021, the Keery family established a fund through SurreyCares to contribute towards amenities at the park, including a trail system to allow visitors to see the beauty of the park’s woodlands for themselves. The City of Surrey has matched the family’s donations toward the creation of the first trail loop, and the endowment fund will sustain future park enhancements, the foundation’s news release notes.
The project, scheduled for completion in late fall, is being funded in part by a $25,000 contribution from the Keery family, according to the city’s news release.
Currently, just one acre of the property is cleared, and family representative Marilyn Buchannon said the Keery family “would like to see capital raised toward the development” of the nature trail system and other park amenities or projects.
SurreyCares executive director Christine Buttkus described the opportunity to work in partnership with the family and the city to grow the endowment fund as a “particularly timely” opportunity.
“As the Community re-opens following the pandemic, having more natural spaces where community members can enjoy the health benefits of being outdoors will contribute to community well-being,” Buttkus said.
Board chair John Lawson added that the fund “will continue to enhance this beautiful spot that community members can enjoy for years to come.”
For more information or to donate to the endowment fund, visit www.surreycares.org/keery-park-endowment-fund
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter