A Surrey farmer is crying foul following the removal of several large cedars along roads in the Grandview Heights area this week - something that's expected to continue throughout the coming weeks.
Carl Thielemann, who lives and owns a farm in the area, said several large cedar trees along 192nd Street and 32nd Avenue have been cut down to make way for wider roads and industrialization, and he's fed up with it.
"Those trees were the only thing that made that area halfway decent looking," said Thielemann, who's lived in the area since 1973.
The past few years have seen drastic changes for the Grandview Heights area, as the once largely agriculture-based region has seen farmland and crops replaced with industry and warehouses, with more development planned for the future.
As for the trees cut down this past week, those were due to the development of the Campbell Heights North Business Park, which will offer 250 acres of industrial land once it's completed in the coming years.
The project is being headed up by the Surrey City Development Corporation and according to president Jim Cox, the tree removal is part of the first phase of development. That phase is expected to be completed before the year's end.
"On 32nd Avenue the trees being removed there will be to facilitate road widening," said Cox.
According to Cox, the trees along 32nd Avenue will be replaced with smaller "boulevard trees" once the road widening is completed. As for the trees on 192nd Street, he said those are being removed for other reasons.
"First of all, they're not in very good shape," he said. "Second of all, they are going to build a pedestrian walkway along there and it wouldn't be very safe with all those trees because it's more of a hedge, it's sort of a continuous wall of trees so they're going to be taken out."
Finally, Cox also said there were also survey towers in the area that needed to be made more visible on the street.
But while a handful of trees have already been removed on 192nd Street, Cox pointed out that not all the trees would be removed along the development site.
"We had a tree survey done to identify the healthy trees and so we're going to be keeping the bigger ones down the road," he said. "The only ones we'll be removing are those at the south end of 192nd, near 32nd."
But for Thielemann, any tree removal is just another nail in the coffin of what he considered to be one of the greatest parts of Surrey, and he's blaming Surrey city council for allowing development to consume the area.
"It took 50 years to grow all that," said Thielemann.
"You can't start talking about landscaping and put little stick trees in the ground. Are we going to wait another 50 years for those to grow? It'll never grow as beautiful as those cedars."
Mayor Dianne Watts is on vacation and a request to speak to the acting mayor of Surrey was not returned by press time.
"We used to have a moose living across the road here living in the forest before they started all this development," said Thielemann.
"He was the last living moose in the area and that was about seven, eight years ago. He actually lived a healthy life in that forest and people were amazed there was still a moose living in Surrey. Then they went in there with the chainsaws."
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