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Gateway: the tip of the iceberg

December 14, 2008

Don’t believe the hype. The South Fraser Perimeter Road is not about “relieving traffic congestion” or “taking trucks off residential streets”. It’s about more roads, more trucks, and the rapid industrialization of the region. And it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The SFPR is not a line on a map. It's the tip of the iceberg of reckless "development".

A home for sale in Surrey near the proposed South Fraser Perimeter Road alignment. The realtor confirms that if the SFPR is built, the whole area will be zoned industrial. This particular neighbourhood successfully resisted a 1970s plan to relocate it en masse to make room for trucks and industrial "development". Back then they actually tried to spin these kinds of nonsense plans as "urban renewal"!

At least 500 properties must be acquired to build the SFPR, including at least 200 residential homes. But that is just the beginning. Homeowners nearby are being pressured to sell to Gateway, even if indirectly. Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon says these properties (already devalued by the threat of the freeway) will later be sold at a profit. How will this be possible, unless they are converted to industrial uses?

Follow the money. Buried deep in the mountains of documents generated in the “Environmental Assessment” is a report from Colliers which found that the SFPR would result in massively expanded industrial development across the South Fraser region. Build it and they will come. And yet more roads will follow. Meanwhile, renters get the boot, homeowners lose their equity, and big property developers get even richer.

Until now, little attention has been paid to the networks of new and wider “access” roads planned for areas surrounding the proposed SFPR alignment, like the truck road planned to carve directly through the community ballpark in Surrey’s Bolivar Heights neighbourhood. Building a freeway like the SFPR just encourages building more roads… and encourages “development” of sensitive areas that were previously inaccessible. The SFPR is just the first step of a much larger process. Add it all up, and we’re not just talking one new freeway. We’re talking new blacktop crisscrossing practically every which way, over neighbourhoods, parks, forests, streams, and farms. Recent events have shown that our parks, farms, and even lands in Metro Vancouver’s Green Zone are not as safe from development as we might have thought.

At this rate, before too long, our supposedly livable region will be a concrete jungle virtually indistinguishable from any other smogopolis in North America. Who here wants that to happen?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 15, 2008 8:47 am

    Very very scary. It is pretty worrisome about the industrial development following the road.

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