Monday, July 8, 2024

Hazelmere Rural Lands Once Again Under Threat in Surrey

In 2018, the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board denied an application to allow the development of 145 single-detached houses on 23.7 hectares of rural land, known as Hazelmere in Surrey.

Hazelmere lands are the subject properties in red. Select the image to enlarge.

People can build housing on rural land, but if they do, that housing needs to be at a density low enough not to require regional water and sewer services.

As part of the original 2018 application from the City of Surrey, they proposed extending the Urban Containment Boundary to the Hazelmere Lands. This proposed boundary extension would also make the area eligible for regional water and sewer service and generally contribute to sprawl, as it would be near impossible to service with transit.

The makeup of the Regional Board changed in 2022 due to the local government elections, so the City of Surrey has again submitted this application to the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board. This application is unchanged from 2018. Because this is such a serious change to our Regional Growth Strategy, it requires a 2/3rds weight vote of the Regional District Board. Each municipality in Metro Vancouver is assigned votes based on population, and each municipality appoints Directors to the Metro Vancouver Board.

Metro Vancouver staff are recommending that the Board deny this application because:

  • Recent provincial housing legislation may result in higher permissible housing density than initially proposed.
  • It will create urban sprawl and increase traffic congestion.
  • The housing created in this proposal is not expected to support regional affordable housing goals.
  • It will impact adjacent rural and agricultural lands.
  • It could impact the Little Campbell River watershed.

The Board will consider giving this proposal its first and second readings at its July 26 meeting. If it proceeds past the first and second readings, it must undergo a regional public engagement process.

While there have been previous examples of rural land conversion since the 2022 local government elections that have created a reason for pause, this is the first application in which Metro Vancouver staff has explicitly recommended that a proposal be denied since that election. This proposed application will be the first test of our region's locally elected representatives' resolve to preserve rural land in Metro Vancouver.

1 comment:

fredinno said...

Make it an extension of the Campbell Heights and South Surrey Industrial yards instead.

That would not impact Metro Van’s targets negatively much.