Rezoning is a windfall for developers, but is it a windfall for Surrey?: Councillor Linda Annis
Surrey, BC (July 26, 2021): Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis says she and the community have a lot of questions when it comes to adding some 600 acres to the Campbell Heights South Local Area plan that would increase the size of the existing business and industrial park.
“There’s no question that the Campbell Heights business park has been a tremendous success that has created jobs and business growth for our city,” noted Annis. “But it’s clear the neighbours have real concerns, there are serious and sensitive environmental issues, and we also have other industrial land and zoning options in Surrey.”
The proposed plan before city council today includes rural land that is outside of the agricultural land reserve, sits above the Brookswood Aquifer, and interacts with the Little Campbell River and other local aquifers. Annis said she “wholeheartedly” supports the creation of new jobs and businesses that allow Surrey residents to work where they live without commuting to other municipalities but has serious questions when it comes to “chipping away” at Surrey’s rural and agricultural lands. Annis said she has heard from a growing number of local residents and landowners who believe the “the proposal and plan are rushed and there hasn’t been adequate consultation or information.”
Annis said “rezoning means an overnight windfall for developers” but she wants to know if it will also be a windfall for Surrey?
“Leveraging our land to create employment makes good sense, but we need to make sure we’re really listening to both sides,” added Annis. “ We also need to ensure environmental issues aren’t ignored or compromised, and this particular area is definitely sensitive.”
Annis said she wants to refer the proposed plan back to city staff “with instructions to carry out proper consultation” with the community and environmental groups, particularly around the Brookswood aquifer, Hazelmere watershed and Little Campbell River. At the same time, she wants more clarity around the 130 acres of city owned land that are included in the 600-acre plan.
“I do not believe that we should be selling off city lands, and that we should be leveraging them through leasing, the same way UBC manages its lands,” explained Annis. “Once we sell off land owned by the city, it’s gone forever. Leasing, rather than selling, should be the way we put our city lands to work for Surrey.”
Councillor Linda Annis