The City of Surrey is planning a safety review of Bakerview Park following an assault Aug. 27 that left an 18-year-old (inset) with multiple injuries. (Tracy Holmes/Contributed photo)

Assault prompts safety review at South Surrey park

‘Any action we can take… we’re going to do’: parks manager

The City of Surrey is reviewing safety at Bakerview Park following an assault Monday night that left an 18-year-old with multiple injuries, including a dislocated shoulder.

“It’s very important to us to have the park safe,” parks manager Laurie Cavan said Thursday afternoon, in response to Peace Arch News’s request for information about after-hours lighting following the Aug. 27 incident at the 1845 154 St. park.

“I haven’t been having concerns brought forward, but certainly, if there is some improvements we can make, we’ll take a hard look at that and see what we can do to implement any changes.”

Police confirmed Wednesday that an assault in a park in the 1800-block of 154 Street was reported around 11:30 p.m. Aug. 27, but shared no other details, citing the ongoing investigation.

Cheryl Wilcox told PAN earlier Wednesday that her son had been “jumped and badly beaten” while on his way home through the park. He hasn’t felt safe since, she said, but on Friday – following response to going public with his story – was feeling “that the light at the end of the tunnel is looking brighter and brighter.”

READ MORE: South Surrey park attack ‘could’ve been so much worse’

Wilcox said police have been in regular contact regarding the assault, and that she saw officers patrolling the park on foot overnight Thursday. The latter is something she has requested “many” times in recent years without success, she said.

“The RCMP were in there on foot twice, with flashlights,” she said. “I have never heard my area so quiet – in years. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop last night.”

Sgt. Chad Greig confirmed patrols were conducted in the park “at a few different times throughout the evening.”

Now, Wilcox and Cavan are planning to meet next week to discuss Wilcox’s concerns. The mom has said in addition to increased police monitoring, she believes after-hours lighting in the park will help curb problems.

Cavan told PAN that such lighting is “typically not” recommended as a means of increasing park safety.

“It actually, in an outdoor environment, can actually lead to some negative impacts,” Cavan said.

But she wants to meet with Wilcox to “hear what her concerns are with the park, in general.”

Describing Bakerview as “a park that we do pay close attention to,” Cavan said Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design-certified staff will also be visiting the site “in the coming weeks” to ensure that steps taken over the years to improve safety – including measures to improve sightlines – have been properly maintained.

“Any action we can take… we’re going to do,” she said.

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