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Bear Creek Park a victim of Gateway project, critics charge

Opponents of the Gateway project say it's the reason why Surrey Council is considering putting a road through Bear Creek Park -- and why it shouldn't.

Donna Passmore, speaking for the Gateway 40 Citizens Network, cites a message from Surrey councillor Barinder Rasode, posted on the Save Bear Creek Park Facebook site by Noella Moniz. Rasode wrote:

I do believe [that] doing nothing about 88th and King George is not an option - but after much careful contemplation I have decided that tomorrow night, when the corporate report is once more brought before council, I will move that further consideration be given, particularly on one significant issue which I feel has not been sufficiently considered, the impact of the South Perimeter Road on traffic volumes on 88th Avenue.

In the motion I will instruct staff to hire an independent consultant that will work with staff and the community on a full public consultation, taking into consideration the sizable impact of the South Perimeter Road on this route.

In a news release also posted on the Stop Gateway blog, Passmore said this was the opposite of what the Campbell government had promised Surrey residents:

"Citizens were promised that the twinning of Highway 1 and the construction of the South Fraser Perimeter Road, at an upfront cost of more than $5 billion to taxpayers, and thousands of acres of prime farmland and our most sensitive wildlife habitat, was justified because it would take traffic off the streets of Surrey.

"Now that the project has been railroaded through, the truth is even worse than we envisioned. Now the City of Surrey is using the additional traffic volume anticipated from the South Fraser Perimeter Road, to justify putting a road through Bear Creek Park, one of the most popular parks in the Lower Mainland."

The release also says that putting a road through Bear Creek Park "will harm significant salmon habitat and wildlife habitat, elevate local and atmospheric pollutants, diminish property values and quality of life for area residents."

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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