Photo: Amy Reid John McKitrick is one of several residents fighting to stop a proposed development at Eaglequest Surrey Coyote Creek golf course.

Residents plan rally against Surrey golf course development

Locals vow to fight dense housing project at Eaglequest Surrey Coyote Creek golf course to the end

A group of Surrey residents opposed to a development at Eaglequest Surrey Coyote Creek golf course are planning a rally this weekend.

“We are encouraging as many of our neighbours as possible to come out and speak against the Anthem Property proposal to build 325 homes on a large portion of the golf course,” co-chair of the Coyote Creek Action Committee Ken McBain wrote in an email to the Now-Leader.

“Our view is that this is not a fit for the community as it takes legacy greenspace out and replaces it with high density housing,” added McBain. “We have worked hard trying to convince Surrey City Councillors they should turn down this proposal because they are ignoring a bylaw they enacted in 1993. Bylaw 11891 states that the portion Anthem wants to develop should only be used for recreational purposes. We want the City of Surrey to honour that commitment.”

The rally is set for 11:30 a.m. on Saturday (Jan. 13) at the foot of 80th Avenue, just west of 15350 Sequoia Dr.

See also: ‘Once you pave a golf course, it’s gone forever’ says Surrey resident opposed to Anthem development (May. 26, 2017)

Anthem Properties Group seeks to turn a portion of the Coyote Creek course into 341 homes and has submitted a rezoning and development permit application to the City of Surrey. Proposed is a mixed-use development at 7778, 7858 and 7902 152nd Street.

As of last May, the application included 341 homes – including 62 apartments, 48 duplexes and 231 townhouses – as well as an amenity building and about 4,000 square feet of retail space.

Residents say it’s now dropped to 325 homes, but that doesn’t appease their concerns.

The group says density levels should be maintained at existing standards so as to not overstress the roads and local schools which are already overcrowded, and that special habitat home to many species of birds and mammals should be protected.

Another concern of residents is increased traffic along the already busy 152nd Street and another light being installed along the road, which would cause further congestion there.

Last May, Anthem’s communications director Randene Neill told the Now-Leader that the entire site of the proposed development is 24 acres and that “a third of that site, almost eight acres, is going to be public use. So greenspace, pathways, we’re going to put a pond in there.”

She added that all the established trees will remain.

“And we’re planting way, way more. It’s going to be a very pretty development, if we get it approved.”

Neill noted that between the Sequoia community and Anthem’s proposed development, there will be a 33-metre wide greenspace.

“That’s going to be a trail for walking and running and bike riding,” she said at the time.

“And something I think people in the neighbourhood are quite glad about is we’re proposing a new road that will go from Fleetwood to 152nd Street (through the current golf course). I think that’s going to be 77th.”

Meanwhile, Neill said the golf course is going to remain but will be a bit smaller, likely redesigned into either a 12-hole or nine-hole course.

A public information meeting was held last year at Guildford Golf Course, and Neill said it was the third held by the developer to hear what residents were happy about, and not happy about.

“The development team made adjustments based on their feedback (from the first two). This is the third iteration of listening to their concerns of what they liked and didn’t like,” she said. “I understand there’s going to be people who aren’t going to be happy. They had a golf course to overlook.”

According to Neill, the views “won’t be inhibited by our proposed development because they’re on a slope,” adding, “they’ll still have a clear view.”

Neill said Anthem is interested in open dialogue and communication with the neighbours.

“We want people to like us in their neighbourhood, we don’t want people to hate us,” she added.

Last May, local residents contacted the Now-Leader with their concerns.

Many of the people opposing the development live adjacent to the golf course and the project would destroy many of their views, if completed.

But the stress of local infrastructure is a large part of their opposition to the project.

Several residents have already vowed to fight the proposal to the end because they say it just doesn’t fit in their neighbourhood.

“It’s going to affect so many people,” said retired newsman John McKitrick last year, who lives next to the course. “I think the bottom line in all of this is Surrey calls itself the City of Parks. If they start ripping up a golf course, a park-like setting, for housing – that is a very bad step. They won’t be able to call themselves the City of Parks anymore.

“It’s going to affect us very much here,” McKitrick added. “But it’s also going to affect Surrey, for all these families up here (in Fleetwood), what’s going to happen to them with the schools? The traffic, et cetera, so we have a pamphlet we’re going to be handing out eventually to residents in the area beyond our spot, to golfers,” he said, noting the course was praised in a 2017 Vancouver Sun article titled “Surrey shines as Canada’s golf paradise.

The application has yet to go before Surrey city council but residents say they’ve heard it could be considered in February.

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