A proposal for a new seniors care campus in South Surrey was put forward without any consultation with the Semiahmoo First Nation, despite its location “right within the territory of our heritage site.”
Chief Harley Chappell expressed the concern regarding the Isle of Mann Group’s plans to build 39 townhouse units, 77 apartments and a care facility with 86 assisted-living units and 96 care rooms on property at 228 175A St. on Oct. 29, in response to questions posed by Metro Vancouver directors during their board meeting.
“Unfortunately, at this time, we’ve had no inclusion,” Chappell said.
“By all means, this site… is right within the territory of our heritage site,” he added, in response to a question regarding whether archeological matters were an issue.
“Very much, archeological is a huge concern and a high potential in this territory.”
The comments came during the same meeting at which amendments sought by the City of Surrey in connection with its plans for South Campbell Heights were moved forward. Chappell said the SFN were not given an opportunity to properly engage in that conversation either; such efforts, he said, typically take place at “the eleventh hour.”
In explaining the Isle of Mann’s application to the board, City of Surrey staff said the subject site is located west of the agricultural land reserve, and that an Official Community Plan amendment was sought to redesignate it commercial from mixed employment, to facilitate construction of an apartment building on the property’s south side, a care building on its east and townhouses along 175A Street, as well as 1,890 square metres of commercial/office space.
A First Nations arts and culture-themed café is also included in the plan.
City staff said the proposal is anticipated to create approximately 136 permanent jobs – with a jobs-per-acre ratio comparable to that in Campbell Heights – and had the potential to provide placement opportunities for students in Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s faculty of health.
Metro director Jen McCutcheon asked about the redesignation away from mixed employment, considering the discussion immediately prior was around redesignating lands in South Campbell Heights to mixed employment.
City community planner Preet Heer explained the care site is smaller in scale and the context around it is general urban.
Asked if the site is “well-covered by public transit,” Heer said it is not.
The Metro board voted in favour – though not unanimously – of initiating the regional growth strategy amendment process for the redesignating the site to general urban from mixed employment; giving first, second and third readings to the amendment bylaw; and directing staff to notify affected local governments.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter www.peacearchnews.com/newsletters