In brief

  • Peter Maarsman, past president of the Society, passed away June 1
  • Walking tours (relaxed and no-stress) back and running, er, walking. Next one tomorrow (Sat Jun 20)
  • Painted turtle infestation
  • BC Hydro plans for upgrades crossing Fraser Highway
  • Update on bark stripping
  • Contact info to report litter, vandalism, etc
  • SNAP’s 20th season under way
  • Green Timbers in the news
  • City Green Fund may be used for budget deficit

Lots of things going on!

Peter Maarsman, past-president of the Green Timbers Heritage Sociey has passed away

Peter was active with the Green Timbers Heritage Society for many years, and instrumental in a number of initiatives, including getting the forest to the North and West of the RCMP E-Division set aside as park, creating the Surrey Natural Areas Partnershipr, unning it for its early years, and innumerable other activities. He will be missed.
The Surrey Now-Leader has a good article on him:

Surrey loses ‘invaluable’ community leader

Peter Maarsman, 83, of Newton died of cancer on June 1

His contribution to this city was considerable. Maarsman served as president of the Foundation for the Coalition Against No-Fault in B.C., as executive director of the Surrey Crime Prevention Society, as president of the Green Timbers Heritage Society, and chairman of the Surrey Board of Trade, the latter being from 1994-95.


Walks in Green Timbers

Our next walk is June 20 at 10 am. Meet at the parking lot off 100th Avenue. This will be a relaxed and convivial walk around Green Timbers, probably about an hour at a gentle pace. We’ll decide where we’re going when we meet up.
Find walks and what-not on Meetup:

Painted turtle infestation

Pamela Zevit, a Biodiversity Conservation Planner with the City sent the following note:

During the City Nature Challenge local naturalist Frank Lin noted the presence of what appeared to be a Midland Painted Turtle Chrysemys picta marginata) at Green Timbers Lake (picture above, turtle second from the right).

I have since had Kym Welstead, the Provincial Western Painted Turtle Recovery Team Chair review the photo and it is likely a Midland. The Midland subspecies is native to eastern Canada. Its illegal release here has resulted in hybridization with the remaining small populations of Western Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta belli – Coastal pop.) found on the South Coast. Given the Endangered status and vulnerabilities of our remaining coastal Western Painted Turtles, interbreeding and the reduction in population fitness it creates needs to be addressed as part of recovery objectives.


BC Hydro power line upgrades

BC Hydro is supporting TransLink’s proposed Surrey Langley SkyTrain project by making changes to some of the power lines crossing Fraser Highway to ensure there’s enough space between them and the proposed SkyTrain guideway and cars.

In Green Timbers the lines cross over along the greenway, between the 96th Avenue and 144 Street lights.

The project will modify structures on four existing overhead transmission lines to ensure the safe construction and operation of the SkyTrain beneath them. The structures will moved away from highway and two wood structures removed. Construction is currently slated for summer 2021-2022

Effects will be kept to a minimum, and entirely within the right-of-way

For more information email

Update on vandalized trees

Remember someone was stripping bark on trees in the section north of 100th Avenue?

Daniel Brouwer, a Natural Areas Technician with the City notes that temporary informative signage was posted and no bark stripping or peeling has been observed since then. They will continue to monitor the site.

However someone has been piling up sticks/logs in the area. These will be dispersed. Bylaws recently attended an encampment in the area, which has also now been vacated. The log piling activity may be tied to the campers as it was close by and could very well be related to the bark peeling.

More people seems to mean more littering

Lots of people are using the park, what with the COVID-19 thing and all. Unfortunately, a lot of people are also pigs, and there’s a lot more litter as well.

When you notice stuff that’s wrong

If you do notice things like the vandalism noted above the best people to notify the City. They have a pretty good notification system online, and through their “My Surrey” app. Go to the “Online Services” button, then “Report a problem”. If you’re at home the URL is:

Please feel free to send a note to too. We like to be kept informed as to what’s going on in the park!


Surrey Natural Areas Partnership (SNAP) running

The SNAP program is up-and-running! It’s a smaller group of people this year because of the need to keep people apart.

SNAP has employed over 215 students over the past 20 years, educating over 185,000 residents through community outreach and removing 3,421 m3 of invasive plants from eight hectares of parkland and restored over 4,646 tree wells.

Green Timbers in the news:

COVID-19: Surrey city council approves plan for post-pandemic economic recovery

Among the plan’s key points are a 90-day extension on late payment penalties for residential and commercial property tax. The July 3 payment deadline has now been pushed to Oct. 1, 2020.

Jennifer Saltman, May 6, 2020

The Green Timbers housing facility will also accommodate another 130 people.

[mention later removed]


Surrey loses ‘invaluable’ community leader

Peter Maarsman, 83, of Newton died of cancer on June 1

by Tom Zytaruk Jun. 9, 2020

Surrey has lost a man who gave so much of his energy to this community.

Peter Maarsman, 83, died of cancer on June 1. It wasn’t a long fight – he only learned about it in April.

His contribution to this city was considerable. Maarsman served as president of the Foundation for the Coalition Against No-Fault in B.C., as executive director of the Surrey Crime Prevention Society, as president of the Green Timbers Heritage Society, and chairman of the Surrey Board of Trade, the latter being from 1994-95.


25 years of summer employment opportunities for youth that also help the environment

by Rattan Mall, June 16, 2020

CITY of Surrey’s Salmon Habitat Restoration Program (SHaRP) and Surrey’s Natural Areas Partnership (SNAP) are celebrating notable anniversaries in offering summer youth employment opportunities that build awareness and training in environmental stewardship.  Collectively, the programs have employed over 880 students, who have received training in environmental restoration practices such as removing invasive plants, installing instream complexing features in waterways, and planting.


Two new supportive housing buildings on way for Surrey, province announces

Construction on Guildford facility to begin in July; land identified in Newton for third project

by Beau Simpson, Jun. 10, 2020

Two more supportive housing projects will soon provide more than 100 rooms in Surrey for the homeless or those on the edge of homelessness, the province announced Wednesday morning.

The City of Surrey and the provincial government are also building a six-storey supportive housing facility in Green Timbers, a project that has been years in the making.

In May 2019, the city approved the 60-year lease with the province for the housing, which will include 100 supportive housing units and 30 transitional accommodation spaces. It will also include support services such as counselling, health and food services, laundry facilities, a dining lounge and recreation and outdoor open space.

RainCity Housing and Support Society plans to operate the Green Timbers Way Housing Facility, located north of the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre.

Construction began in November and is expected to be complete by late 2021.

City’s Green fund may be used for monetary shortfalls

COVID-19 has created money problems for the City. To mitigate this the City will be delaying projects, shuttering community centres and dipping into funds earmarked for things like snow removal. One of those funds is the Green City fund. When developers cut down trees they pay a fee that ostensibly goes into paying for new trees. Now it will be used for … whatever the City needs to pay for. A good overview is here:

Deb Jack, president of Surrey Environmental Partners, notes “I will be writing a letter opposing the use of money from the Green City Fund to defray the budget deficit, reckoned to be $40 Million. There is no indication that the money would be returned to the fund. If you are inclined, please write to Mayor and Council opposing use of the Green City Fund which is intended to be used to acquire trees only, to begin to restore the destroyed parts of the City Tree Canopy due to development.”

Interesting pictures?

Thanks to Kristina R. for sharing the picture and video of the beaver in April. We posted it on our Facebook Page:

If you’ve managed to get a picture of it, or any other nifty shot you’d like to share, let me know! We’ll feature it in our next newsletter. Or, if you instagram, don’t forget to use the hashtags #greentimbers #greentimbersurbanforest and maybe even #surreybc!

Stay safe everyone!