A new biodiversity preserve park in Campbell Heights has been approved by Surrey council.
The city announced the approval of the plan, which will protect “more than 82.4 hectares (200 acres) of sensitive riparian ecosystems, mixed forests and grassy meadows.”
According to a news release, a portion of the space will be set aside to “showcase regenerative agricultural practices that will also contributed to biodiversity conservation.”
The adoption of the park plan more than triples the city’s total area of biodiversity preserve parks – going from 40.6 hectares (100.3 acres) to 123 hectares (304 acres).
Other biodiversity parks in Surrey include the Fergus Watershed Biodiversity Preserve Park and Godwin Farm Park in Fleetwood.
Back in 2019, the City of Surrey began purchasing property “with high ecological value” that it planned to set aside for future parkland and biodiversity uses. At the time, the city had amassed close to 150 acres of property, including a large section of land in Campbell Heights that had been earmarked for parkland.
Acquisition of the Campbell Heights land – a 142.48-acre portion of property at 18793 32 Ave. – was approved by Surrey council in December of 2018 and completed in January the following year. According to a staff report submitted at the time, the land is intended for “biodiversity conservation purposes.”
The report also noted that the acquired land offers “high ecological value, a mix of deciduous and coniferous forests and habitat for a variety of animals.”
“We remain committed to preserve, protect, and enhance Surrey’s biodiversity for now and the future,” said Mayor Doug McCallum in this week’s news release.
“These spaces support important natural services for the community like clean water and healthy soils and they are vital in keeping Surrey a thriving, livable and sustainable community.”
The new biodiversity park sits just a few blocks northwest of a piece of land that the City of Surrey has sought to have redesignated for employment use.
On Friday, Jan. 28, Metro Vancouver’s board of directors sent the proposal for expanding industry into the environmentally sensitive South Campbell Heights area back to the drawing board.
The move came despite impassioned pleas from McCallum, who attempted, unsuccessfully to have a motion to refer the matter back to staff ruled out of order.
“If you refer it, it gets stopped unconditionally,” he said.
Proponents of the plan say the development will address an acute shortage of industrial land in Metro Vancouver, while opponents have voiced concerns over potential damage to the underlying Brookswood aquifer and the nearby salmon-bearing Little Campbell River.
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