The clear-cut behind Parkside School is a wasteland, silent and devoid of life. Our community lost an ecosystem with the razing of this land. It pains me to think of the demise of all the flora and fauna that had homes in this little urban forest.
The biodiversity supported by this little forest will not return to the environment that will replace the forest. The manicured, sterile lawns, the few selected tree species, and ubiquitous concrete will not foster the diverse species that resided in what was.
There is another ecosystem nearby that is now under threat. The land near Sawmill Trail, slated for development, engenders apprehension of impending destruction of this richness. Sawmill Trail borders some wetlands, home to many species, including ducks, geese, hawks, and amphibians, to name a few. In the morning, the sounds of birdsong soothe the soul, the birds so multitudinous, it is nigh impossible to distinguish individual songs in the wondrous melody of musical harmony. In the evening and into the night, the chorus of frogs croaking is marvelous to hear.
The wetlands next to Sawmill Trail drain into the ALR lands abutting 268th Street and subsequently into Bertrand Creek.
The wildlife residing in the ALR lands includes otters, beavers, waterfowl, and amphibians. It is a natural area that requires preservation.
Sawmill Trail has a fringe of trees, both conifers and deciduous. These trees keep the wetland waters cool and are home to birds and insects.
The flowering sour cherry trees, plum trees, and blackberry bushes provide food for native bees and home to native animals.
For biodiversity, we need pockets of wild areas preserved. Through these last vestiges of the wild, we can have a true knowing, feeling of the natural world. If we do not have the opportunity to experience nature, how will we be motivated to preserve it? If we become disconnected from nature, how would we even realize the loss and be incentivized to save what we have never seen? From my childhood, I have memories of summer days and hedgerows humming with bees. I would posit that many have not experienced this delightful buzzing in such abundance and therefore would not realize this loss.
If we callously destroy the homes of flora and fauna that are dependent on wild areas without empathy for those lives lost, we are helping to orchestrate our demise. All life is interconnected, and biodiversity is necessary for our survival.
The Climate Action Strategy put forth by Langley Township has a green space and ecosystems action plan. I want to see the proposed strategies strictly adhered to regarding this proposed development in the Sawmill Trail area. The proposed Biodiversity Conservation Strategy necessitates the preservation of Sawmill Trail and the wetlands abutting the trail. The trail’s preservation will also address the “action” of greenspace proximity to residential homes and the “action” of streamside protection.
The tree canopy preservation will happen when the Township enforces all bylaws and demands preservation of mature trees within the development boundaries.
There is dissonance between the Langley Township’s strategies of; wildlife conservation, community forest preservation, increased forest canopy, and Climate Action Strategy and the destruction that is presently occurring with the permission of Langley Township. Langley Township must meet their obligations and achieve the goals they claim to espouse.
Liz Pahlke, Aldergrove
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