A new 330 hectare Surrey park is finally open after 20 years of toil by volunteers, the City of Surrey and Metro Vancouver.
"Surrey Bend Regional Park offers a tremendous opportunity to protect a unique ecosystem, and to allow residents to experience and understand the historic landscape of the Fraser River floodplain," said Metro Vancouver Board Chair Greg Moore in a release on Saturday.
He was joined by other regional politicians and members of the Katzie First Nation who cut a ribbon to open of the park, which is located in one of the few remaining large sections of the lower Fraser River without dykes, and is owned by both Metro Vancouver and the City of Surrey.
"Through environmental education, nature study, and community stewardship, it is our hope that visitors will understand more clearly than ever the intrinsic value of the region's natural environment and the vital need to protect it," added Moore.
Surrey Bend Regional Park features diverse wildlife species and wetland habitats, including the Fraser Valley's third-largest and relatively undisturbed bog.
"[The park] is truly a natural gem," said Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner. "The completion of this new regional park will provide visitors with access to multi-use trails and a unique wetland habitat that is home to a variety of fish, birds, and other wildlife."
Heather Deal, a Vancouver City councillor and director for Metro Vancouver said the last park the regional government opened was nearly a decade ago. The park is Metro Vancouver's 23rd.
"I encourage everyone to come down and see what the river was like before we started protecting ourselves from floods," she said in an interview with CBC News. "Because this is out on the flood plain and you'll be able to see it in a much more naturalized setting."