(Flickr photo)

David Suzuki joins fight for Lower Mainland park

World-renowned environmentalist will attend rally opposing plans to build road through park

David Suzuki is joining the fight to stop a road from being build through a Surrey park.

The well-known enviromentalist will be the featured guest of a rally next month organized by a group called “Save Hawthorne Park.”

After delivering a 5,000-name petition to city council last month, opponents were given until Sept. 22 to collect more than 30,000 names in order to halt the project.

Suzuki is set to speak to the importance of environmental rights, as well as the council’s “failure to live up to its commitments to the Blue Dot movement,” a release states.

The city signed a declaration last year recognizing residents’ “Right to a Healthy Environment” after hearing from the Surrey Blue Dot group the previous summer.

Led by the David Suzuki Foundation, the Blue Dot movement is a national effort to amend the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to include the right to a healthy environment. The group focuses on getting municipalities to pass declarations respecting the right of their citizens to live in a healthy environment.

Grant Rice with “Save Hawthorne Park” said he could “draw up a better plan on the back of a napkin in 15 minutes” than what the city is proposing.

“And despite what the Mayor says, this is not just about Hawthorne Park,” Rice added. “If council is successful in using the AAP to remove park dedications, it can do it anywhere. If all of Surrey doesn’t send a strong message to council and sign these forms, we’ve not only lost the battle – we’ve lost the war.”

The group claims the Alternate Approval Process being used in Hawthorne Park contradicts the city’s commitment to the environment.

Mayor Linda Hepner last month defended the project in a letter to the Surrey Now-Leader, saying there has been misinformation.

Since a meeting in June to collect information from the public, the city says it has made changes to the proposal.

amy.reid@surreynowleader.com