Sunbury Neighbourhood Association

the PROVINCE - May 3, 2009

Trees planted in defiance

Delta arborist one of 200 with at-risk homes

By Frank Luba, The ProvinceMay 3, 2009

Brad Major was out planting 1,000 trees yesterday on his Delta property -- even though the trees will likely fall victim to construction of the province's $1 billion South Fraser Perimeter Road.

Major, a firefighter in Burnaby, is also an arborist.

He's one of about 200 property owners that will have their homes bought or expropriated for the road.

The rationale for the project is to make a better connection for truck traffic between the expanded Deltaport and Highway No. 1 in Surrey.

Major was planting the trees with the help of the Wilderness Committee to bring attention to the new road, which environmentalists oppose because it threatens Burns Bog as it skirts the edge of the protected green area.

Major's house is in a ravine by a creek and a bridge for the new road will go over his house.

"I still can't believe it, honestly," said the 33-year-old, who is awaiting two appraisals on his property before its final fate is known.

"It's absolutely beautiful," said Major. "I can't imagine them paving it over."

There's enough unrest to make the road an election issue in Delta South, where long-time Delta councillor Vicki Huntington is running as an independent against Wally Oppal, the Liberals' attorney-general.

"The route they've taken is so destructive and has such an enormous impact on the community, the ALR and the bog," said Huntington.

Oppal said there is support for the SFPR in Delta.

"The polls that were taken indicate over 70 per cent of the public [in Delta] is in favour of the road," he said. "It's going to take all the heavy truck traffic off Highway 17."

The road is scheduled to be finished in 2012.

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