Thank you for the important work you're doing in the name of our democracy and for considering my input.
I've been active in community affairs for my entire adult life, including past service as president of the Council of Senior Citizens' Organizations of BC and prior to that as president of the BC Federation of Labour. I should be clear that I make this submission as an individual citizen and not on behalf of any group.
I'm also a longtime resident of Surrey in the east Fleetwood neighbourhood near 84th Avenue and 166th Street. That puts me presently in the Surrey-Tynehead district and I see that your proposed map would place me in Surrey-Cloverdale. This is just fine with me. Despite considering myself part of the greater Fleetwood area, I think my neighbourhood is effectively represented despite falling outside Surrey-Fleetwood proper. Unless I'm mistaken, my area has never been in the Surrey-Fleetwood district, and we seem to be doing alright.
The historical north-south linkages between my neighbourhood and Cloverdale are well-documented. The Great Northern Rail line, completed in 1891, was for a time the only rail link between the USA and Canada west of the Rockies. This right-of-way is partially preserved in the form of Harvie Road. Some historians credit the growth of this area to the 'cementing' of the Pacific Highway (a.k.a. Highway 15 or 176th Street) that brought increased traffic from New Westminster south to the USA via Fleetwood and Cloverdale. With the recent upgrades to the Pacific Highway this north-south linkage is arguably as strong as ever.
I understand that your proposed changes to the Surrey-Fleetwood district to accommodate a much-needed ninth district in the city have some of my fellow residents crying foul. With all due respect, I believe many of these concerns project a vision of what some may like Fleetwood to become as opposed to what it actually is. The debate over Surrey-Fleetwood reminded me of an interesting article I read on The Now newspaper's website early last year. I looked it up again and found that I tend to share the impression Fleetwood Community Association president Rick Hart conveyed at the time: "It’s interesting, because when you want to identify Fleetwood, that has been a big question, even with the city." Mr. Hart is also quoted in the same piece describing Fleetwood as "a little bit urban, and a little bit country." My point is not to suggest that Fleetwood is without an identity, but instead that it's perhaps not as clear cut and rigidly defined as some have suggested it is. We remain in something of a transition zone between the generally more dense west of the city and the generally more rural east and south; I think we fit equally well with both.
You've got a difficult job to do in dividing populations roughly equally across districts while trying to keep core communities together. Other than the somewhat peculiar exclusion of Fleetwood Park Secondary School and Fleetwood Park from the proposed Surrey-Fleetwood district, I think you've done a reasonable job of keeping the urban core of the neighbourhood largely intact. If there's one takeaway message I'd like to deliver, it's that you should stand behind the proposals you've put forward. You haven't fit all of Fleetwood into a tidy package; for a large and diverse area that is impossible to narrowly define, this seems somehow appropriate.
16646- 84 A Avenue