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Friends of Bear Creek Park fighting ‘David versus Goliath’ war against city over road project

The citizens’ group is trying to raise funds as court costs mount up
Friends of Bear Creek Park prepare to pack boxes containing 800 pairs of jeans into MCC Thrift Shop van Nov. 19 as part of fundraising drive to pay for court battle with City of Surrey over expansion of 84th Avenue. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

The Friends of Bear Creek Park is characterizing its court fight against the City of Surrey over the expansion of 84 Avenue at the southern end of Bear Creek Park as a classic example of a David-versus-Goliath battle,

In the Bible, the little guy wins. In an attempt to duplicate that outcome, the citizens’ group has being pursuing creative means of funding its legal bills as it tries to stop the city’s plan to join 140 Street with King George Boulevard by building a new stretch of 84 Avenue.

The Force of Nature Society, and Surrey resident Sebastian Sajda and Annie Kaps filed a petition with the B.C. Supreme Court against the City of Surrey in July asking the court to declare as parkland properties impacted by the 84th Avenue project. They are still awaiting the judge’s decision.

“While the city has an unlimited source of funds in the form of taxpayers, we’ve had to fundraise every dollar we’ve spent,” said Sajda, an organizer with Friends of Bear Creek Park. “Our original budget was $50,000, but the City of Surrey has managed to balloon that by dragging us to court unnecessarily on a number of occasions.”

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And so, the group is trying to fund its legal costs by way of door-to-door canvassing, online donations, a GoFundMe campaign and a bottle drive that has to date collected 8,222 donated items and counting.

Recently, volunteer Ram Bains, a Surrey resident who has an import business, donated 800 pairs of women’s jeans – 25 big boxes worth – which Kaps bought during an online silent auction for $1,500. Volunteers on Friday packed them into a truck destined for the MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) Thrift Shop at 10653 King George Blvd. in Surrey.

“If MCC sells these brand-new jeans for $10 that’s $8,000 for at very good cause,” Kaps told the Now-Leader.

Said Donna Hanson, an organizer with Friends of Bear Creek Park, “It costs money to pursue this legal avenue and to save our beloved park from this unnecessary road.

“It cost additional funds when the City of Surrey appealed – and lost – a Supreme Court judge’s stop-work order.”

The Safe Surrey Coalition majority on council decided to fast-track the road project in February.

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About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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