Winning the Referendum to Save Sunnyside
A number of proposals were suggested for the future of Sunnyside Acres but Save Our Sunnyside was the principal force for preservation of the woodland. The SOS campaign climaxed in a referendum attached to the 1988 municipal election. Voters were asked to say whether or not they favored preservation of Sunnyside Acres by dedicating the woodland as an “Urban Forest Park.” It would be “set aside in perpetuity” for its “intrinsic and heritage values to provide long-term and non-consumptive benefits for the general public”. Voter turn-out was 44% and gave an overwhelming 86.5% “yes” in answer to the question. This was a very gratifying result for SOS members.
This message was much too significant to be ignored and Council proceeded to formal dedication in December 1988. Having succeeded in its goal, SOS disbanded and returned as the Sunnyside Aces Heritage Society. This reconstituted group continues fund-raising, carries on guided walks in the Forest, cleans up garbage and publicizes the Forest. In 1993, with the help of the City of Surrey, the Society created a parking lot, erected a small kiosk with an interpretive map of the Acres, and surfaced some trails to improve footing and to minimize erosion. In addition, the all access Walley Ross trail was created, providing an obstacle free path for visitors with limited mobility to enjoy the forest.