The Safe Surrey Coalition says a B.C. Supreme Court decision confirms that the city is “well within its rights to proceed” on a controversial project to extend 84 Avenue through the south end of Bear Creek Park.
In decision released Friday (Dec. 31), Justice Sheila Tucker dismissed a petition from Force of Nature Society, Sebastian Sajda and Annie Kaps that was asking the court to declare as parkland properties impacted by the 84th Avenue project
Sajda, who is also running for city council in 2022 under the Surrey Connect slate, is president of the society and part of the Friends of Bear Creek Park group that has protested on Saturdays at 84 Avenue at King George Boulevard and 140 Street.
Mayor Doug McCallum, in a statement, noted the decision was released Friday (Dec. 31).
“Today, we are finally able to move forward in the best interests of Surrey’s residents and I am proud of the leadership of the Safe Surrey Coalition in getting it done.”
Surrey First Coun. Linda Annis was quick to respond on Twitter.
“The legal decision to allow the 84th Ave. extension chopping right through Bear Creek Park allows the Mayor to ignore residents’ concerns,” she Tweeted Friday morning. “Being accountable to the law is not the same as being accountable to the people. Elected representatives must do both.”
It was in July the Force of Nature Society, Sajda and Kaps filed the petition with the B.C. Supreme Court against the City of Surrey.
Following that, the B.C. Supreme Court granted an interim injunction and then a permanent injunction until the petition hearing back in October.
The B.C. Supreme Court heard the petition on Oct. 14 and 15.
The 84 Avenue extension was approved in July, according to a release from the coalition.
During the July 26 council meeting, the Safe Surrey Coalition majority awarded more than $16.2 million in construction grants, relating to the project.
The statement from McCallum notes the project was “largely ” approved due to the “heavy congestion” at 88 Avenue and King George Boulevard.
“For many years, this has been Surrey’s most dangerous intersection when it comes to motor vehicle collisions. The 84th Avenue extension will provide a safe, convenient and reliable alternative connection between Newton and Fleetwood that will alleviate pressure at the aforementioned junction.”
Meantime, Sajda said he knew this was “going to be an uphill battle from the start.”
But he added it’s his suspicion that the roughly two-and-a-half month wait for the decision could be to do with the intervention of the B.C.’s Attorney General’s office.
“It was essential that we try. We believe this road is bad policy and this position has not changed. We’re continuing to monitor a number of other issues related to this project, such as the unaccounted for raising of BC Hydro towers in the project area which promises to add many millions to the cost of this road.”
Other issues, Sajda said, include the ongoing issues with contaminated soil due to past dumping sites along the planned roadside, the culvert and the upcoming bird-nesting season.
“A single hummingbird stopped the TMX for a few months,” Sajda noted.
– With files from Tom Zytaruk