Stephen Pettigrew, left, and Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner. (Now-Leader file photos)

LETTERS: Hawthorne Park debacle demonstrates Surrey’s ineptitude

Three readers sound off on city council’s decision to put a road through park despite community opposition

The Editor,

Re: “Emotions high after Surrey approves controversial road through Hawthorne Park,” the Now-Leader online.

This should not be a SkyTrain versus light rail transit battle, rather it is bad – very bad – transit planning by the City of Surrey and TransLink.

Let me explain.

Part of the success of modern LRT and, in fact, properly designed transit, is “traffic calming.” Traffic calming is part of the push-pull theory of transit, where a new transit line is built to both “pull” new customers to transit and, because of new congestion caused by transit, “push” people onto transit.


SkyTrain, because it is grade-separated, does not use the push-pull theory – and because of this, mode share by auto in the Metro Vancouver region has remained unchanged for almost 25 years.

The Hawthorne Park debacle (and a debacle it is) demonstrates the City of Surrey’s and TransLink’s vast ineptitude planning for LRT. Building a road through Hawthorne Park is tantamount to admitting that the $2.5-billion-plus LRT project is a failure because it will not attract the motorist, getting him or her out of the car.

In essence, what the City of Surrey and TransLink has done is to design LRT, not as light rail, but a poor man’s SkyTrain, offering none of the advantages of modern light rail, yet adding all the expensive baggage of the proprietary SkyTrain light-metro!

Did not the 2015 TransLink plebiscite teach TransLink, the metro mayors and the provincial government anything?

Obviously not!

D. Malcolm Johnston, Delta

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The Editor,

Re: “Emotions high after Surrey approves controversial road through Hawthorne Park,” the Now-Leader online.

We were called bullies at the council meeting Monday night. If writing emails regarding the issue of the 105 Avenue connector is being a bully, then I confess.

I have been writing emails since I received my letter in March. I have attended the city’s one information session (and yes, I say information session because there was no consultation). I took with me a three-page list of statements and questions, which I handed directly to the project manager, and I have yet to receive an answer to anything.

Yes, I have copied my emails to each and every council member, my MPs, news outlets and others in order to get the word out. I hear back from my friends, some news outlets and have had one actual email from an MP but it is like this is an issue no one wants to deal with.

I understand that there is to be another information session in the near future but I fully expect that there will be yet another biased survey, no opportunity for any actual input from the people of the community and yet another chance to bully us into their way of thinking!

Sorry, but your destruction of the ecosystem within our park is never going to be alright with us.

Being surrounded by roads is never going to be alright with us. Trying to pull the wool over our eyes is never going to be alright with us.

Sometimes you have to listen to the people you work for, not the developers.

Tracie Woodhams, Surrey

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The Editor,

Re: “Emotions high after Surrey approves controversial road through Hawthorne Park,” the Now-Leader online.

The city has become unlivable due to non-stop traffic congestion, the loss of tree canopy, the never-ending shootings, garbage-lined streets and out-of-control development.

We want to preserve Hawthorne Park in its entirety and we don’t want LRT.

It’s high time for all of us to do something about it come next election. These people do not deserve to represent us.

Katarzyna Laskowska, Surrey

Hawthorne Park

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