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Keep Green Timbers Urban Forest intact

This petition had 833 supporters

The Green Timbers Heritage Society, on behalf of all citizens of Surrey, is calling on Mayor Linda Hepner and Surrey City Council to not widen Fraser Highway through Green Timbers Urban Forest.

The City of Surrey, as part of their proposed Light Rapid Transit plan, is proposing to widen Fraser Highway through Green Timbers Urban Forest in order to accommodate four lanes of motor vehicle traffic, two bike lanes, a pedestrian walkway, and light rail.

If carried out, this plan would increase the width of Fraser Highway through the forest from approximately 7 to 40 metres, and up to 45 metres in some places.

This would mean cutting down hundreds of trees from a protected urban forest, reducing the ability of wildlife to cross from one section of the forest to the other, increase traffic and pollution, and reduce the ability for citizens of Surrey to enjoy a natural area steps from the City Centre.

The citizens of Surrey have twice voted to protect Green Timbers Urban Forest (in 1988 and 1996), and the Green Timbers Heritage Society (created in 1987) has been advocating for the forest ever since.

As the Green Timbers Urban Forest was designated as a protected area for all citizens to enjoy, it behooves the mayor and councillors to take a stand and not allow further development or encroachment of the forest. It is easy to draw lines on a map, but a good city council should have the courage and the foresight to be able to make the tough decisions, the best decisions, for the future of their city and in the best interest of all its citizens, its environment, and future generations.  

The City should recognize the value of Green Timbers Urban Forest as a valuable asset to be preserved and promoted for future generations to enjoy. There are other options for transit corridors, options that won’t damage the integrity of the Green Timbers Urban Forest.

We ask Mayor Hepner and the Councillors of the City of Surrey to reconsider this miguided plan and look to a future where Green Timbers Urban Forest is treated as an untouchable jewel of the city.

Petition FAQ

Who wants to widen Fraser Highway through Green Timbers?

Surrey City Council wants to widen the highway to four lanes of traffic, space for two light rail lines to and from Langley, and a wide pedestrian/bicycle lane.

Who started this petition?

The Green Timbers Heritage Society, the people who saved the forest from development in the first place, is concerned about the continued encroachment on the forest by roadways and development. They believe that since the forest is a protected area it should not be further diminished by these types of projects.

Why is this plan moving forward?

Surrey is growing rapidly. There is pressure to increase roadway capacity.

Why is this a problem?

Green Timbers Urban Forest is split by not one, not two, but three main roads. This fragments the park into small isolated units. It’s bad for the environment, it’s bad for animals, it’s bad for people who want to use the park. Widening Fraser Highway will only make things worse.

  • Fragmented isolated areas impact the movement of water, insects, birds and other animals, making it increasingly unviable as a refuge.
  • When issues of canopy cover and rampant development cutting enormous swaths of timber are top-of-mind for many citizens, allowing the cut of over a mile of road seems wanton and wrong.
  • Isolated areas are more attractive to campers and other people who set up shanties and campsites. This increases danger of fires and illegal acts.
  • Increased traffic increases noise.
  • This section of the highway has been recognized by the City as having historical value. It’s substantially the same view from the 1930s.
  • Fragmentation and increased traffic impair the ability of citizens to enjoy the a natural area right on the edge of the downtown core. Walkers can’t go from the North end to the south end without putting themselves in danger.
  • This area of the forest has been untouched since it was logged in the late 1920s. It has never been farmed, developed, or manipulated by humans. How many areas in Surrey like that are left? Let’s keep what we can!

How wide is Fraser Highway through Green Timbers now, and what is the width of the proposed project?

Fraser Highway is currently 12 metres wide through Green Timbers, shoulder-to-shoulder. After the proposed widening it would be 40 metres wide, 45 in some places. To give you an idea what that looks like, King George Boulevard at 96th Avenue is 45 metres wide (this includes the sidewalks). 

You’ll be able to land a passenger jetliner in Green Timbers.

What’s wrong with widening the highway? I need to get to Fleetwood, Clayton and Langley.

There’s nothing wrong with getting to Fleetwood, Clayton or Langley, but alternatives exist. Increasing the width of this section of road will not decrease travel time, or alleviate the blockages already existing before at 152, Fleetwood Way, 88, 156, 160, 162, etc.

As an experiment, try using 96th and 148 or 152, the Freeway, the South Fraser Perimeter Road, 88th, etc. What difference of time do you notice?

I’ve heard that although the road will be widened, there were land swaps, and there is now more forest saved. Is this true?

Sort of…

When the original referendum was held in 1989, the City at that time took the opportunity to save for itself right-of-ways along 92 Avenue, plus an angled bit cutting through the forest from 92 north to 148th Street, and also widened it’s right-of-way on Fraser Highway.

In the following years, the idea of making 92 Avenue into a major street was abandoned, and along with it the curve through the forest. This area wasn’t logged, and only an experienced surveyor would ever notice that areas had been marked. Few people knew there were areas of Green Timbers that weren’t protected and not part of the original referendum.

The land swap is the City giving up its rights to land it can’t develop, and has no plans of ever developing, and taking more rights along Fraser Highway, up to 45 meters in places. In theory more land will be protected … but it wasn’t in any danger of development in the first place!

How can we put a stop to the encroachment on Green Timbers?

Sign this petition and tell everyone you know to do the same. Write to your city councillors and tell them you oppose this plan.  

  • Barbara Steele, Councillor (604) 591-4623
  • Bruce Hayne, Councillor (604) 591-4025
  • David Woods, Councillor (604) 591-4349
  • Judy Villeneuve, Councillor (604) 591-4625
  • Mary Martin, Councillor (604) 591-4622
  • Michael Starchuk, Councillor (604) 591-4346
  • Tom Gill, Councillor (604) 591-4634
  • Linda Hepner, Mayor (604) 591-4126

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