But it’s an environmental hub! Here are the maps

 

Back in 2011 the City of Surrey put out an environmental report that included identification of ecologically important hubs and corridors. There aren’t may of them. I found the appropriate layers on COSMOS and here’s an overview of the (green) ecological hubs and corridors of the area.

large picture of environmental hubs in area

The area just behind Sunnyside is one of those hubs, and the city has approved simply mowing it down. How did that happen?  Here’s where the ecological hub is, right by the school (some of it looks like it was destroyed to build the school grounds).

environmental hub with circle

Other areas slated for development are ecological hubs too. Looks like I have quite a job ahead trying to catch up on all this.

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Next Surrey City Public Hearing on June 9, 7pm (not about Sunnyside but I thought I’d mention it anyway)

There are several land use applications throughout Surrey on the table for Monday’s meeting, including variance requests for four new townhouse developments http://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/AGN_RCLU_CURRENT.pdf. There are several items for South Surrey: 

  • 15516 – 22 Avenue “in order to permit an addition to the existing single family dwelling.” [Sure, go ahead, I’d say]
  • 3616 – Elgin Road and 14389 – Crescent Road “in order to allow subdivision into six (6) single family residential lots and one (1)
    remainder lot.” [I wonder what the plan looks like…how much natural area are they preserving?]
  • 15656/15712/15736/15758 – Mountain View Drive “to vary setbacks to allow for tree retention.” [Yay tree retention!]
  • 1565 – 130 Street “in order to allow subdivision into 49 single family small lots.” [a great opportunity for bringing people and nature together!]

I think there’s a great opportunity to make South Surrey a model of modern development if they have enough public input. The developments could turn this from a widely spaced suburban area into a tight-knit community with nearby parks, nature, stores, playgrounds, the works! But they need detailed and constant input from people who know what they want.

The meetings are broadcast live on the web! Be there! http://www.surrey.ca/city-government/3059.aspx

West of this development is another townhouse group not losing all the trees

Look at this development just to the west of the developments by the school, where not all the trees are being removed http://surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/PLR_7911-0255-00.pdf:

west of the Sunnyside devo area planHere’s the breakdown of their trees:

Species                                Number     Retain    Remove

  • Douglas Fir                     62                27               35
  • W. Red Cedar                40               14               26
  • Bigleaf Maple                 24               4               20
  • W. Hemlock                     16               5               11
  • Alder/Cottonwood     84               3               81
  • Other                                      4               1               3
  • Total                                230               54               176

 

The Whole Development Plan

I finally found the whole plan of development. I love it that Surrey has all these things available online. Though it’s taken me awhile to figure out their system, it’s pretty impressive how much information they have available.

The public introduction, first reading, and second reading of the whole plan was read to City Council on March 11, 2013 (boring hearing it three times, eh?). Three people asked for information about the plan, with one person opposed. The final reading and public hearing was on Apr 8, 2013. The plans can be found on the planning reports page for Mar 11, 2013 http://surrey.ca/city-government/13050.aspxwhole plan overview The first stage will be to build the single family units, and 687 trees will be cut down for that.

Species                                  Number    Retain   Remove

  • Bigleaf Maple                126              0              126
  • Black Cottonwood       34              0              34
  • Black Walnut                       0              0              0
  • Blue Spruce                           2              0              2
  • Cherry/Plum                         7              2              5
  • Cypress                                     2              0              2
  • Deodar Cedar                        1              0              1
  • Douglas Fir                              9              0              9
  • English Oak                              1              0              1
  • Grand Fir                                   1              1              0
  • Locust                                           1              0              1
  • Norway Spruce                       1              0              1
  • Paper Birch                           75              0              75
  • Red Alder                           363              0              363
  • Scots Pine                                3              0              3
  • Sitka Spruce                             5              0              5
  • Walnut                                       1              0              1
  • Western Hemlock            23              0              23
  • Western Redcedar         54              19              35
  • Total                                       709           22           687

A forest isn’t just trees

My daughter told me she saw an owl by the school the other day. I’ve seen hawks and eagles there regularly. There’s so much more to a forest than just trees. I admit I’m a plant-lover, but I really enjoy seeing animals too. There are a lot of animals in a mature forest. This is probably a secondary growth forest, but it has more habitat than a townhouse development. I’m all for development, by the way, I just think we need to consider what people like to see. Lots of people like to see wild animals and birds and remnants of mature forest nearby. It makes them feel happy and peaceful. Let’s leave a little more of it for ourselves.

Wills Creek Townhomes (North of school)

Surrey does a great job of surveying trees, it looks like. They counted all the mature trees on the site and here’s what’ll happen:

Species                    Found       Retain     Remove

  • Bigleaf maple                  6                 0          6
  • Bitter cherry                   1                  0          1
  • Black cottonwood      36               0          36
  • Black walnut                   1                 0          1
  • Douglas fir                      1                  0          1
  • Paper birch                    10                0          10
  • Red alder                        110              0          119
  • Western hemlock      1                   0          1
  • Western redcedar     17                 2          15
  • Total                                  192              2          190

These will be replaced with:

  • Vine Maple                16
  • Autumn Blaze Maple 27
  • Katsura Tree                         16
  • Green Ash                              8
  • Kobushi Magnolia                 14
  • Snow Goose Cherry              15
  • Columnar Sargent Cherry      26
  • Chanticleer Flowering Pear   46
  • Japanese Stewartia               12
  • Japanese Snowbell                12
  • Fragrant Snowbell                  8
  • Eastern Hemlock                    6

 

Preliminary investigations — Wills Brook okay, the rest of the trees will go

Pages from plans for south of the schoolNorth of the school will be Wills Brook Townhomes. It looks like Wills Brook is the name of the area to the east of the school. I’m glad it’s labeled as a vegetated area. Unfortunately, according to the development plans( http://surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/PLR_7913-0089-00.pdf ) 192 trees will be cut down north of the school, two cedars will be saved, and 226 replacement trees will be planted.

But that’s the problem, isn’t it? Replacing trees that you cut down is a great thing, and I’m all for it. But the ambiance is completely different, you have to agree. Compare this highland by southridge

to this

More townhouses all around

 

and you see what I mean. I want them to leave a corridor of natural area around the new townhouses.

But since I missed ALL reading for this proposal, I probably won’t have much say in it. It took me awhile to find all this information, too. If only I’d’ve known earlier! Well, even back in February when they had the final reading at City Council, it would’ve been hard for me to catch up on everything enough to suggest some changes. All I can do is now document the changes as they happen.

I’m also going to try to lay out good information about future developments in another blog, and expose what they’re going to look like, and when people can have their say.

 

People need forests too