Art Knapp Articles
Hawthorn Park Road Project and Tree Protectionin
Surrey’s Hawthorne Park has, over the previous few weeks, seen a flurry of activity: both works with chainsaws and heavy equipment removing trees from the park, and a group of protesters who do not agree with the construction of a new road through the park.
Protesters have been standing dutifully outside the construction fencing day-by-day with the hope of convincing the city to stop work on the 105 Avenue Connector which cuts through the park, linking Whalley Boulevard to 150th Street.
The two-lane road, which has been part of the city’s official community plan since 1986 is finally in the works as part of the advance work for a light-line rail that will run up 104th avenue. Additionally, it will allow for underground services to be relocated and help with neighbourhood connectivity, says the city.
A citizen group, Save Hawthorne Park, tried to stop the project but ultimately did not collect enough petition signatures. They have since been organizing protests at the park. The project has been delayed once already when a court case argues that the road project would cause damage to an endangered shrew species, which could have been present in the park. A judge dismissed the case, and work was put back on.
The project has approximately 450 trees slated to be removed from the park – an area that Surrey’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy identifies as a large protected forested natural areas which includes lakes, as well as both the Bonaccord and Hawthorne Creeks. The road will cut through a high-use park which contains a busy playground and water park – the park is a host for the city and school-based ecological and physical activity programs and events.
The first phase alone of the project is expected to cost the city over $11 million.