Neighbours oppose development of forest

An application to develop 19 acres of land into 61 residential lots in Aldergrove is facing some stiff opposition.

An application to develop 19 acres of land into 61 residential lots in Aldergrove is facing some stiff opposition.

The property is part of the former septic sewage treatment facility, and is owned by Langley Township. The sewage treatment plant was decommissioned in the late 1990s and the land has remained vacant and undeveloped for many years.

Portions of it at the southern side are forested and this is the cause for opposition to development among some neighbours.

Two residents, Angela Wonitowy and Jessica Horst, have collected 300 names on a petition that calls for a down-sizing of the development.

“The notice of this development was posted over the New Year and the public hearing is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 20, so we haven’t had much time but we still collected 300 names, and more are coming in,” Wonitowy told The Star on Friday.

Wonitowy says the Township should develop the northern portion and leave the southern half, on the other side of Bertrand Creek, as it is. The northern half consists of scrub brush, but the other side has a mature forest, two swamps, and Bertrand Creek winds through it.

The application notes that access to the development would be via two new roads off 28 Avenue near 276 Street. A road network would serve the 41 lots on the north side, and a road and bridge would cross a tributary of Bertrand Creek to access the 20 lots on the south side.

The proposed land use notes that 40 per cent of the total property, 7.7 acres, will be left as “environmental-natural open space” to provide setbacks from the creeks and wetland areas, and a trail network would be built along Bertrand Creek and the perimeter of the property. Properties to the south are in the ALR and a buffer would also be established there.

Biologist Mike Pearson has been researching Bertrand Creek for many years and notes that a 25 to 30 metre setback would be required.

“It is identified as critical habitat for the Salish sucker (fish variety),” said Pearson. “I trapped and released several hundred Salish sucker there this summer, along with salmon, and there is beaver and deer there too.”

Among the conditions subject to development is also provision of a “tree management plan” that would allow retention of some trees and replacement of other trees.

The application goes to public hearing Monday evening at Township Hall.

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