Missing words force second water survey

A vote on whether to offer water service to 52 Avenue residents will be taken again.

Two missing words on a Langley Township document have forced a second survey to see if there is enough support to run a municipal water line to residents of 52 Avenue between 237 and 240 Streets.

Council approved the do-over on Monday (July 15) after administrator Mark Bakken said for “some unknown reason” the Township “notice of proposed water local service area” told property owners the petition voting forms must be filed “before June 12, 2013,” not “on or before,” the usual wording.

That survey narrowly approved the water line hookups, but five of the responses were filed on or after the deadline date.

The date issue was raised by residents Shelley Murphy and Ray Murphy, who get their water from a well and don’t want to be forced to pay for a municipal hookup.

They came to council July 8 to argue it was unfair to force them to make an expensive connection they don’t need, based on a questionable survey.

“It’s going to cost me $30,000 on my taxes over 20 years,” Shelley Murphy told council.

“You’re messing with people’s finances here.”

Following the council vote to throw out the first survey results and order a second, Murphy was disappointed.

She thinks the proposal should have simply been declared defeated.

“I do take part of it as a victory,” Murphy told The Times, “but I think it really should be [ruled] a failed petition.”

The added cost of a second survey will be minor, staff estimate, just postage and time spent adding up the results and reporting them to council.

As well, a staff report to council on the issue by Township public works director Roeland Zwaag promises there will be an information meeting with 52 Avenue residents to “outline the process, discuss costing details, and respond to any outstanding questions.”

Township staff have also launched a review of all bylaws and policies covering local area service requests like the 52 Avenue water hookups, to make sure the wording is consistent in the future.

The 52 Avenue water service proposal would connect homeowners to the East Langley Water Supply line when it arrives in the neighbourhood later this year.

The $33.5 million East Langley Water Supply project to bring Metro Vancouver water to Aldergrove and Gloucester is the biggest project ever undertaken by the Township of Langley’s engineering department, with 14 kilometres of water main and a booster pump station.

Work on phase 1 started in May.

It will run a one-metre diameter steel water main between Willoughby and Murrayville following 72 Avenue, 210 Street, Worrell Crescent, 216 Street, 56 Avenue, and 224 Street.

East Langley’s water currently comes from seven groundwater wells.

Because of that, during peak usage periods in the summer, water restrictions have to be enforced.

The Township projects increased demand for water in Aldergrove, with the population in the area growing from 12,000 to 20,000 people within 30 years.