What REALTORS® need to know about Surrey’s Green Infrastructure Network

One of our members learned an interesting lesson about conservation in the City of Surrey lately. She suggested we share the information with other REALTORS®. Let’s call her Jane.

In January, Jane listed a property in Surrey and shortly afterward a potential buyer’s Realtor contacted her and asked if she knew about the City’s Green Infrastructure Network (GIN).  She did not.

The buyer’s Realtor knew about the GIN because he had a client who lived on the same street. Jane quickly went to the City’s website and was surprised that something so significant to a potential buyer was not more prominently advertised.

It turns out that her client’s property was sitting on part of the City’s GIN and as such was subject to an environmental assessment and special conditions that had to be met prior to any development—at the cost of the owner.

Biodiversity

Scientists have long recognized that wildlife and human populations both require biodiversity in functional ecosystems because we rely on these natural systems to provide us with food and water that eventually comes to our table.

So, in conjunction with the City of Surrey’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (2014), the City created a Green Infrastructure Network (GIN) which serves as a conservation map by which some of the municipality’s habitat and migration corridors are protected.

Looking ahead

The Surrey GIN has identified about 10,200 acres (4,130 hectares) of land that will be needed just to maintain the City’s biodiversity.

This will be achieved by reserving large core habitat areas, ensuring the physical connection between habitat areas necessary to support wildlife, and providing a diversity of habitat features throughout the City.

Therefore, any land identified as necessary by the GIN requires property owners of those lands to hire an environmental consultant to prepare an ecosystem development plan based on existing buildings, vegetation, mature trees, wildlife, watercourses, GIN corridors, protective fencing, soils, etc.

The City of Surrey’s online COSMOS mapping system is a tool that provides infrastructure data about properties with a full range of features, from water courses to covenants, to roads and setbacks, and much more. There are numerous videos on the City’s public website that teach viewers how to use COSMOS.

The map has a Biodiversity tab to indicate if a property crosses the boundary of the GIN. You can find the Green Infrastructure Network Map here and if you have questions about the map, you can contact the City of Surrey’s Environmental Planner Angela Doiron at 604-591-4399.