Court extends injunction to halt construction of road through Surrey's Bear Creek Park

·2 min read
Protesters fighting the expansion of a road through Bear Creek Park in Surrey, B.C., gather outside city hall on May 31, 2021. (Facebook/Friends of Bear Creek Park - image credit)
Protesters fighting the expansion of a road through Bear Creek Park in Surrey, B.C., gather outside city hall on May 31, 2021. (Facebook/Friends of Bear Creek Park - image credit)

The B.C. Supreme Court has extended an interim injunction that ordered a pause in construction of a road through Bear Creek Park in Surrey until Aug. 19.

The extension will be in place until mid-October when a full hearing and final decision is expected.

The judge found the injunction was warranted due to the potential for irreparable harm if the road construction was allowed to proceed in the meantime.

The new road would connect 84th Avenue, which currently stops for several blocks at the south end of the park. The project is expected to cost around $18 million.

The matter was brought before the B.C. Supreme Court by the Force of Nature Society, a grassroots movement that has protested against the road extension since February.

President Sebastian Sajda, who is also an organizer of Friends of Bear Creek Park, maintains the roadway will do more harm than good.

"It's completely unnecessary and it damages Surrey's green infrastructure network."

Rob Costanzo, the GM of corporate services with the City of Surrey said the city will respect and fully comply with the interim ruling but declined to comment further as the matter is now before the courts.

The injunction permits Surrey to continue to use the temporary access road that was built on the trail at the southern end of the park to install a culvert in King Creek. The caveat was included in order to comply with the "fish window," a period of time during the year when work being carried out has the lowest risk to fish in the area.

No additional trees can be cut down until the hearing.

Alternative solutions

The road is expected to ease traffic congestion in the surrounding area, particularly on 88th Avenue.

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has said road safety is the main reason for the project. An engineering report presented to council in June said the new roadway would lead to 130 fewer crashes on the roads around the park over a five-year period.

According to Sajda, however, there are other solutions.

"It's possible to upgrade safety at the intersection, do public awareness campaigns, even reduce the speed limit in order to make it not necessary to have a road go through the park."

Sajda added that a fully protected left turn signal at the intersection of 88th Avenue and King George Boulevard would provide additional safety.

The road was initially approved by council in late May, with construction expected to be completed September 2022. The full hearing will take place on Oct. 14 and 15.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting