I read about the opening of the Mufford Overpass with a great deal of interest. Permit me to mention a few pertinent details.
The well-guarded plans, concocted during Kurt Alberts’ final term as mayor, for the Mufford Overpass came to light in the fall of 2008, due to diligent efforts by the late Eric Bysouth. Since that time I have followed and documented the progress of the bypass in detail. I now have a file folder 1 7/16” thick on this project alone.
The development-driven design for the overpass and road network connected with it would have cut right through the old Hudson Bay Farm property. It would have destroyed 30 acres of farm land and rendered the rest of the property largely unfarmable.
There was another and far better design proposed, the so-called J-option, but it was rejected by council, as it evidently did not fit into their plans. When I attended at the Agricultural Land Commission’s office in Burnaby some time after Bysouth’s discovery, I showed them a copy of the original J-option drawings. As it turned out, the commission had never seen this document and it became apparent that the J-option drawings the Township for some reason had included with its application had been crudely altered, to the extent it bore only a vague resemblance to the original.
The commission would have had no choice but to turn down the altered version it had received. Quite a curious state of affairs.
Notwithstanding very strong opposition to Township council’s preferred design, when it came to a vote, the so-called sixpack of Councillors Fox, Ward, Bateman, Ferguson, Long and Dornan voted in favour. Mayor Green and Councillors Richter and Kositsky were opposed, and for that they all deserve credit.
That however is not what put an end to this sorry chapter.
In order to level the playing field, four private individuals, Jacob deRaadt, Roy Mufford, Lee Lockwood and Rick Green, decided it was necessary to make the Agricultural Land Commission aware of some pertinent facts. The commission soon realized things pertaining to the Mufford Overpass were not quite as they had been presented to them by the Township.
The commission therefore decided to hold its own public hearing, which was attended by some 300 people. Less than five speakers were in favour of the proposed design, with the rest of the many speakers were opposed. Some time after the public hearing, the commission rejected the design proposed by the Township.
Ultimately, were it not for the intervention of the four individuals, instead of recently celebrating the opening of the new Mufford Overpass, we might have had to endure the opening of an ill-conceived monstrosity. For that these gentlemen deserve a lot of credit.
The new overpass is a little better than what we had before, but the fact still remains, it is in the wrong place. It should have been built on the Langley Bypass, but that did not suit then-mayor Peter Fassbender of Langley City. The irony is that there are already loud rumblings about more overpasses being needed, including one on the Langley Bypass at Glover Road, where the real problem was to begin with, and at 200 Street.
Not if, but when these additional overpasses are built, it is worth noting that they are both in the City of Langley and the upheaval of the construction, and the costs, will only affect us (Township residents), to a lesser degree.
The J-option is looking better and better as time passes.
T. Braaten, Aldergrove