Rezoning of critical West Creek wetlands lacks local government transparency.
The content of this letter may take some residents by surprise regarding the Township of Langley’s recent actions towards changing existing golf course zoning within the headwaters of West Creek.
I am writing as I am extremely concerned that this significant change will go forward through an opaque process without appropriate public awareness based on what has transpired so far:
• No public informational meeting has been held to allow an opportunity to view the proposed plans despite the massive alterations proposed.
Two delegations wishing to speak to the matter were declined by council just prior to first and second reading where the proposal passed without any inquiries to staff or further input prior to the planned public hearing.
• The required signage only went up within days of official consideration even though the application has been under review by staff for many months.
All of this is extremely concerning given the huge detrimental impact industrialization will have on this fragile wetland that has already been compromised by industrial over-development over the last decades.
For those who may be unaware, West Creek is a provincially designated red-coded stream, and Metro Vancouver lists this area as asensitive ecosystem that is one of the most productive salmon spawning and rearing habitats in B.C. From a climate perspective, these wetlands serve to capture carbon, and as a sink that can effectively counter the “heat island effect” caused by the existing thousands of square feet of concrete and asphalt in the area.
In 2019, council unanimously endorsed a Climate Action Strategy which outlines “big moves” designed to address the quantification of the role of “natural assets” as a near-term objective. This recognition is strongly linked to the need to protect our watercourses and to be proactive in addressing climate change, most economically, by avoiding the huge expense of repairing the damage that climate events cause by protecting and preserving existing natural features such as wetlands.
In a time of heightened public awareness of the stresses on our environment due to human activity and the challenges we face in dealing with climate change, we need to set aside antiquated notions of “financial gain” and move progressively towards an approach that will embrace the economic role that nature has to play in the fight.
It is my opinion that in consideration of all of its valuable features, the West Creek wetlands should not only be left completely undeveloped. but as stewards of this land, the TOL should actively engage in protecting and enhancing it for generations to follow.
Linda Lightfoot, Langley
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