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Surrey residents warn traffic would be ‘squeezed through funnel’ if council OKs development

117-unit townhouse development coming to Surrey city council for public hearing on April 11
Fleetwood residents (from left) Richard Lyell, Gary Milne and Dave Gladwell are some of the residents spearheading an effort to have Surrey city council rethink a proposed development for their neighbourhood. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Some Fleetwood residents say their neighbourhood will be a more dangerous place to live if a 117-unit townhouse development gets the green light.

And they’re hoping to sway council’s mind during a public hearing on Monday (April 11).

On Saturday (April 2), a few dozen people hosted a community forum where the development would be located at 16483 and 16487 89 Ave. They say access to the development could be described as a “funnel.”

Gary Milne, who lives in the neighbourhood, says to get to the 117-unit development, you have to drive through a quiet neighbourhood that has only two access points into the community off of 88 Avenue. He also pointed to the narrow access into the proposed development.

“It’s literally squeezed through a funnel,” Milne said. “I mean if you could imagine what is a laneway – not a roadway – but a laneway.”

He said the community’s main concern is safety, specifically for children, because of what he calls “restricted” access.

“Already, traffic congestion on 88 Avenue is insane,” Milne said.

At the community meeting, the residents had invited councillors to come see exactly where the development would be and how it could potentially affect their community.

Coun. Linda Annis was the lone council member to attend.

“In my opinion, this certainly is not the right thing for the neighbourhood on many many fronts,” Annis told the group. “I think there’s a point to be made to council. Planning was not in favour of this development.”

She said the narrow access in and out for vehicles is “fundamentally wrong.” Annis added she doesn’t think 117 townhouse units can fit within this single-family development neighbourhood.

“We do need to grow in Surrey, but we need to do it smartly.”

During the March 28 land-use meeting, council passed first and second reading for a 117-unit townhouse development at 16483 and 16487 89 Ave. Only councillors Linda Annis and Brenda Locke voted against the readings.

“I am really concerned about the neighbours in the housing around there, the single-family housing around there. They’re just going to be inundated with traffic flow,” Locke said during the meeting.

The proposal came to council for a zoning amendment and official community plan amendment. A report to council notes the properties are currently designated as suburban and agricultural and would need to be amended to urban to allow for the new density.

The report also notes the subject site was included in the recent Fleetwood plan which was approved by council on March 7, as well as it’s “in close proximity to the Surrey-Langley Skytrain Corridor.” It’s about 1.7 kilometres from a future SkyTrain station at Fraser Highway and 160 Street.

However, city staff added an addendum to the motion that the development should “dedicate the existing 9-metre-wide panhandle portion of the site to the City as road and provide a financial contribution to the City in the amount of $600,000 to cover the cost of ultimate road construction and interim maintenance costs.”

But Coun. Laurie Guerra suggested that since this development is within the recently approved Fleetwood land-use plan, she would “like to see it go forward through to the public hearing as is,” rejecting the additional recommendation.

“I’m not saying that we shouldn’t look at some kind of a compromise but to insist the developer put up another $600,000 at the 11th hour is just too much to ask in my opinion.”

Council then passed a motion to remove the addition, with Locke and Annis voting against.

Monday’s public hearing starts at 7 p.m.

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Fleetwood residents speak to Coun. Linda Annis, foreground, on Saturday (April 2, 2022) about their concerns for a 117-unit development proposed for the area. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Residents of the Fleetwood neighbourhood are concerned about the impacts of a proposed 112-unit development. On Saturday (April 2, 2022), a group of residents held their own meeting by the development. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
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