Growth in the City of Surrey is determined by many factors: macro-economics and housing demand amongst them, and any greenfield growth (developing on natural  land) involves a loss of green space. Growth is projected by Metro Vancouver and then drilled down at the municipal level. Here, you can see the Metro Vancouver growth strategy plan in brief.  According to this, Grandview Heights has a decidedly urban future. To build you must also destroy, but the way in which smart, sustainable growth is explored is a worthy cause and will be likely discussed at length in member blog submissions on this website in the near future. The City of Surrey has made attempts to protect our sensitive areas in two initiatives.

The City of Surrey Sustainability Charter

In 2007, the City engaged on a process to create a sustainability charter to function as a framework to guide future growth in Surrey. According to this document, the City of Surrey Sustainability Charter,

“Sustainability” means meeting the needs of the present generation in terms of socio-cultural systems, the economy and the environment while promoting a high quality of life but without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”

The charter is a “living document” which means that it will be updated as Surrey grows and changes.

Section EN9 p. 51 Sustainable Land Use Planning and Development Practices

This excerpt is particularly significant to residents, present and future of Grandview Heights:

“The City will promote sustainable land use and development by:

  1. establishing sustainability guidelines and policies in the Official Community Plan and in the development of all new and updated Neighbourhood Concept Plans;
  2. Creating sustainability practices through the development of tools such as “Sustainability Checklists” that will be used in the review and approval of new development;
  3. Working with financial institutions to promote the adoption of sustainability checklist features in development projects;
  4. Working with the development industry to provide information and incentives to promote energy efficient and “green” buildings and developments;
  5. Incorporating Transit-Oriented Development near rapid transit stations, at transit nodes and along transit corridors;
  6. Requiring land use densities and mixes of land use and activities that allow local access to goods and services and support high levels of walking, cycling and transit use for residents and employees;
  7. Formalizing site planning processes that avoid critical habitat and preserve, protect and enhance natural habitat and landscape features; and
  8. Retaining and planting more trees and promoting the use of native and low-impact species of trees and plants in new developments.”

Interested in seeing how Surrey is doing in to maintain a sustainable city? The Sustainability Dashboard allows you to search many aspects of City development and stewardship.

Biodiversity Conservation Strategy

http://www.surrey.ca/files/Surrey_BCS_Report.pdf

This strategy was adopted in 2014 to protect, preserve and enhance Surrey’s habitats and ecosystems, or in other words, its biodiversity.  The strategy includes:

  • Identifying and quantifying current biodiversity and habitat resources in the City;
  • Prioritizing options and establishing management criteria for the Green Infrastructure Network (“GIN”);
  • Specifying management criteria and strategies for urban ecosystems and habitat elements;
  • Setting conservation targets for natural areas and indicator species;
  • Recommending policy and procedures that will support the initiatives in the Strategy; and
  • Providing a long term monitoring program that builds on management objectives, criteria and indicators to measure the success of the strategy.

If you read the report you can see how certain areas in Surrey have been identified for protection. Grandview Heights falls into the Redwood Area. Here is the map of the area http://www.surrey.ca/files/BCS_ManagementAreasMap_8X11.pdf.

Unfortunately for Grandview Heights, currently in splendor with its towering cedars and fir trees, aside from a few select areas, future urban development seems inevitable.  Having observed that, of course there are groves of trees and habitat areas on larger private lots so as the urbanization of Grandview Heights progresses, one must only hope that some small areas, undetectable on this map, are conserved. It will be literally dependent on individuals and community groups to review development applications and promote smart growth strategies which promote biodiversity by balancing density needs and economics with beneficial green space.