Public meeting 7pm tonight, YMCA lounge,hosted by developer of 5750 Panorama Drive

***UPDATED IN COMMENTS BELOW POST-FULL REPORT ON LAST NIGHTS MEETING*

On the heels of more headlines on how bad the impact is in overcrowded schools last week (playground time is rationed out for young children in some schools), a community meeting hosted by a developer tonight in the Sullivan area of South Newton promises to be contentious.

The 15 acre property in question, located at 5750 Panorama Drive  was sold by the government as a ‘surplus’ property to help them balance their budget. Zoned and intended for institutional use originally, it was held for future healthcare expansion in the growing south Newton/ South Surrey area. At the time it went up for sale, I blogged about it and called into question the shortsighted nature of the sale because of the unchecked growth in the area and the need for new schools. https://lailayuile.com/2014/01/03/bc-liberal-property-fire-sale-begins-in-surrey/

Seeing the complete lack of thought on both the provinces part for selling this property,I sent emails to all of city council at that time, asking for their comment on the sale,hoping the city would advocate for it to be held for future healthcare or school facilities:

“I asked for comment from the mayor and several councillors who were available.

The only person to respond was Marvin Hunt, who did not resign from city council when he won the riding of Surrey Panorama, which is where this property is located. He said it was bought for medical use… and the city built Jimmy Pattison instead, inferring it wasn’t needed.

Now, I told him he was in conflict on this issue since he both represents the riding for the BC Liberals, who are selling this property…. and he remains representing the needs of all Surrey residents as a councillor.

Whose interests is he representing? Is the sale of this property in the best interests of Surrey residents, in particular in a high growth, high density neighbourhood with already overcrowded facilities? Or is it in the best interests of the BC Liberals to sell the property?

I asked him if he thought it should be kept for a future school or other, and he said that wasn’t a city decision but a school board decision. True, but the city must have an opinion on what is the best use of this land in the neighbourhood community plan.

This is why holding two roles leads to conflict. There is absolutely no assurance that Marvin Hunt will take into consideration his constituents in the Sullivan/Panorama area when it is his Liberal government selling the land.

Very disappointed to see no councillor take a stance on the sale of this property,other than the one that sits in conflict on this issue.”

So again, even back then you can see how the city and the province just point fingers back and forth as to who is responsible for ensuring the communities needs for critical infrastructure is met.

South Newton is now in a crisis point when it comes to school overcrowding, for two reasons. There has been no effort to slow down or reduce the density in any new development,nor has the cumulative impact of repeated amendments to the Neighbourhood Concept Plan been considered. Applications are rubberstamped as residents pleas go ignored. And then the city points to the province as the bad guy when in fact they are creating their own problems by ignoring their own plans.

Which leads me back to this development and tonight’s meeting.

Parents in South Newton consider this massive development to be the last straw. This property is  the last big tract of land that could be used for a large school or healthcare. This notice was distributed to the Parents Advisory Councils and parents in the area catchments:

South Newton Community Braces for Large Development

Where Will Our Children Go To School?

Developer, Redekop, will unveil a development plan of 181 townhouses, 106 rental apartment units, plus commercial
space to the South Newton Community on May 9th. This property has been a contentious conversation since the Liberal government sold it off in 2014 to Fairborne and Fairborne sold to Redekop. This parcel of land was originally earmarked as institutional land in the Neighbourhood Concept Plan, thereby not being accounted for when it comes to infrastructures, especially schools.

The catchment school for this development is Sullivan Elementary.

Further, the townhouses will not have parking pads which means people will be forced to park in their garages or use the street for parking.

In light of Laurae McNally’s recent motion unanimously voted through by the Surrey School District Trustees, and the complete disregard of this motion by the Mayor, we ask residents to apply pressure to the City and Province while we wait for Capital Funding by coming and having a voice. We have engaged media and have confirmed at least one source of media in attendance.

The most effective way to get development changed or stopped is to show up:

DATE: May 9, 2016

LOCATION: Tong Louie YMCA

Current capacities for elementary schools:

Sullivan Elementary: 134%

Cambridge Elementary: 117%

Goldstone Park: 93% (but this will be at capacity, if not over, 2016/2017)

Ecole Woodard Hill: 127%

About The South Newton Community: The South Newton Community is a group comprised of parents concerned for the education of the commmunity’s children

http://www.southnewtoncommunity.weebly.com

https://www.facebook.com/groups/SouthNewtonCommunity/

I would hope that MLA Marvin Hunt, who did not speak against the sale of this property and did not think it was a city council issue when I asked him, would attend and speak to concerned residents. I would hope that city council members would attend as well, although I am not holding my breathe since they don’t feel they are accountable for the growth in the area at all.

The developer? I think he is going to have his hands full. And I suspect he’ll be pointing fingers to both the city and the province when the hard questions start. Just once, I would like to see all three parties think of what makes a livable community,instead of what lines their pockets.

meetingymca

https://lailayuile.com/2016/04/25/petition-to-support-the-extraordinary-request-of-surrey-school-district-trustees/

Local parent group is ramping up the pressure with the addition of this lawn sign you can purchase to show your support to process and planning at every level of government on this issue.
lawnsign

7 thoughts on “Public meeting 7pm tonight, YMCA lounge,hosted by developer of 5750 Panorama Drive

  1. nonconfidencevote

    Unfortunately these “public hearings” are usually a placebo offered to the masses to give the false illusion that the elected officials actually care.
    Nothing could be further from the truth. They care about money and political contributions . The rest is smoke and mirrors.
    The appearance of “democracy” and “hearing what you have to say” is a sham.
    They’ve already made up their minds and will ram through whatever they want.
    “Democracy” for the masses of the great unwashed happens at election time when you throw them out to be replaced by another self serving, greedy politician in someone elses back pocket……

    Cynical enough for ya? 🙂

    Like

    1. Laila Yuile

      Sure, but it wasn’t a public hearing hosted by politicians ,nor did any attend that I saw. Here is the update on last nights meeting.

      The meeting was packed. There was a huge lineup down the upper hallway and a long wait if you wanted to ‘register’ If you notice on the invite in the post above it was hosted by Redekop and Pacific Land Resource Group, with Brent Telfords name listed.

      They are big guns in the land use and planning strategy business and Brent? Brent is a specialist http://www.pacificlandgroup.ca/about-us/ From his bio on that page: ” Brent is a creative problem solver and skilled Project Manager with 20 years’ experience in land development and 10 years’ experience in consulting. He is an expert in obtaining challenging approvals from municipal, provincial and federal regulators.”

      According to some who attended, Brent was hardly Mr.Charismatic last night and seemed on edge. Faced with that group of well educated and well researched residents, no wonder.

      Another point of note was Kirk McLean,who stuck out like a sore thumb standing and chatting with a group including the VP of Brook Pooni. What do they do? Also big guns in managing the message for developers trying to get to YES…. http://www.brookpooni.com/what-we-do/

      “Our 360-degree approach to development combines our cutting-edge knowledge of project management, development planning, and communications to create the best possible outcome for your project.

      In other words, we don’t just “get it done” for you in the short term. We make sure that the process unfolds to maximize both your short-term and your long-term success. We specialize in creating and executing tailored consultation and communications strategies throughout the approvals process. We are equally prepared to help you to articulate your project’s identity to stakeholders from behind the scenes or to represent your project as its public face.
      Public Consultation and Engagement

      Engagement Strategy and Execution
      Engagement Events Management

      Planning Communications

      Key Messaging
      Graphics and Communications Material

      Which is what last nights meeting was, a tactical,strategic session because of the situation in the are and how this property was sold by govt.

      Ex hockey player Kirk McLean is their Community Relations man, which apparently as far as last night goes,he stands around, chats to people about how amazing this development is and why he supports it. http://www.brookpooni.com/team/

      Frankly, from the people I spoke to last night after,no one really cared he was there other than taking a pic to say they saw him.That the developer or Brook Pooni team though that his presence would have an impact on people concerned about overcrowding in over capacity local schools, is laughable.

      This development could bring up to 200 children to a school that is already at 137% capacity. There are not enough washrooms for the current group of children,let alone 200 more, which would mean up to 6 portables I’m guessing,and a loss of a field.

      The developer doesn’t have enough parking, so the street that is currently a no parking zone for good reason,would need to be changed to allow parking.

      Another issue became apparent yesterday as well. Many of the people who live immediately across from the lot did not receive notification, which was allegedly mailed out prior to the event. The developer said he had a team of people going door to door Saturday, yet many people who were home said no one knocked.The local community association was notified.

      My guess is they didn’t want a big turnout,because city staff attend to ” view” the meeting and report back to city council and the planning department.

      What needs to be made crystal clear is that this property was always zoned for institutional use only in our NCP. It was never counted on for residential use. To build the townhomes and apartment building and commercial, it needed to be amended, which amends our NCP…. which is what has lead to this over crowding everywhere.

      The mayor has said ” We have a plan, its public, I don’t know why everyone is surprised”. Well madame mayor,we HAD a plan. Council has amended that Neighbourhood Concept Plan to allow higher densities beyond the original plan and in this case to change institutional land which has no impact on local schools under that zoning, to mixed use residential/comprehensive, which greatly impacts the area.

      The issue is partly provinces funding model.That doesn’t work for Surrey. But the entire issue begins and ends with city council making continual amendments to the NCP that cripple the neighbourhood.

      In this case, it was the tipping point for local parents,many who moved here to have and raise their kids based on the plan at the time they bought. What has happened over recent years, is insane.

      City Council needs to consider the cumulative impact of all these amendments to the Official community plan as well as the Neighbourhood concept plans. They rubberstamped and approved another change at council last night to allow redevelopment of a portion of forest next to Green Timbers.

      I’ll post the next council meeting date for this proposal. It should be interesting based on the overwhelming opposition last night

      Also, you can now buy a lovely bright red lawn sign to show your concern for the overcrowded schools by contacting Cindy Dalglish here: https://twitter.com/CindyDalglish/status/729803309154897920

      And follow this site for frequent updates and how local parents and residents can and should, get involved. http://www.southnewtoncommunity.com/upcoming-dates.html

      Like

      1. nonconfidencevote

        Well. Sounds like you’re up on the goings on in those public meetings even when you’re NOT there!
        Well done!
        I’m amazed that the turn out was that big. I figured(as probably the developers expected) a low turn out due to the day (Monday) and the time(7-8pm).
        As for Kirk MacLean….I wouldnt lknow him if I tripped over him.
        Another Canuck in a long line of Canucks that didnt win the Stanley Cup……yawn.

        Like

        1. Laila Yuile

          I’m sure he’s a lovely fellow and all,but yeah,not much of an influence in my books-didn’t seem to work on many others either,more of a headshake thing more than anything.

          Like

  2. Pingback: Things that make you go Hmmmmm, Mike Bernier vs VSB edition – Laila Yuile on people, politics and life in B.C.

  3. Pingback: Why not much will ever really change in the oligarchy of Surrey…until the council does – Laila Yuile on people, politics and life in B.C.

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