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Township continues discussion on stormwater management in Gloucester

Jim Armstrong at a previous Township council meeting in February. On April 10 he returned to council to speak about the importance of an Integrated Stormwater Management Plan for the West Creek watershed. - Langley Times File Photo
Jim Armstrong at a previous Township council meeting in February. On April 10 he returned to council to speak about the importance of an Integrated Stormwater Management Plan for the West Creek watershed.
— image credit: Langley Times File Photo

The president of the Nicomekl Enhancement Society is asking the Township of Langley to take steps to manage development within the West Creek watershed.

Jim Armstrong spoke to council April 10 on behalf of the West Creek community stewardship group about the importance of having an integrated stormwater management plan (ISWMP) for West Creek, especially since the majority of Gloucester Industrial Estates is within that watershed.

"Currently, we don't have an integrated stormwater management plan for West Creek under the Township, and so it's been developed sort of piecemeal," Armstrong said.

"And as areas developed, they sort of do a bit of stormwater management and then move on — it's not connected. Using this development (Gloucester) as an example, if we do an integrated stormwater management plan firsthand, you can actually better your development, reduce your development cost, and for the council, get a better understanding of how you can develop. And you'll have a lot of answers to your questions before those questions arise when the developer comes in and says, 'We want to develop this, and this is what our footprint's going to be and why.'"

The Ministry of Environment requires an ISWMP be created if 20 per cent of land within a watershed is developed.

Currently, Gloucester Industrial Estates has developed 18 per cent of the lands within the headwaters of the West Creek watershed.

Armstrong, who formerly worked as a biologist with both Metro Vancouver and the provincial government, says the best place to start is with an inventory of watercourses, followed by identification of built structures, identification of previous surface area and locations, and identification of what stormwater management structures are already built/natural.

He believes if the plan is tackled in stages, it does not have to be costly. He went through a similar process for Still Creek in Burnaby with a budget of $25,000.

"Where I see the reduced costs (coming) from is, if you know where your watercourses are, what your hydrology is through your inventory, what stormwater management structures you have or infrastructure you already have on the ground, you can link it very quickly,"Armstrong said.

"You can map it, and then you can overlay on that very map what you want your footprint for that development to be and how it's going to either interfere, or how you enhance it. So you've now just saved a bundle of money because you haven't gone out and isolated one piece from another, you've got a whole plan."

Armstrong's delegation was heard just before council was to vote on how they would like staff to proceed with an ISWMP plan for Gloucester — a motion that was originally brought forward by Coun. Petrina Arnason last July.

Arnason said her motion was triggered by the expectation that a developer — Beedie — will be asking for the rezoning of property that may put the area over the 20 per cent threshold.

After Armstrong's delegation, council unanimously decided to refer the motion back to staff for a presentation on their options for the West Creek area.

Coun. Kim Richter also requested that staff report back prior to Beedie's application coming to council.

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