Despite the protests of many citizens from the Township, Langley Township Council recently approved the Parklane development on the former Interfor lands. While attending thepublic meeting last week, I listened to a number of Fort Langley citizens who spoke passionately about their concerns regarding increased traffic, illegal suites, visual disturbances for current property owners and the noise from frequent train traffic. While I agree that all of these are major concerns, I am surprised that very little attention has been paid to the very real threat of flooding in the area. I am wondering how many others question the wisdom of placing hundreds of new homes on a recognized floodplain?
While on Council, I referenced all of my decisions regarding the appropriateness of development on management guidelines based on the “WestwaterResearch Centre” report prepared for the Township. Reference to that comprehensive report indicates that the lowlands around Fort Langley have floodplain status and that construction should be avoided due to potential flooding problems.
The view concurs with the findings of The Fraser Basin Council which has published information regarding the risks associated with development in the floodplain of the Lower Fraser River. They point out that while there have been no catastrophic flood events on the Fraser River since 1948 that the risk of “the Big One” remains. Their report refers to a one-in-three chance that a Fraser River flood of record will re-occur within the next 50 years and that given the “significant development” in recent years within the Lower Fraser floodplain that a flood of this magnitude could be catastrophic.
They advise that the most effective method to reduce this risk is to have local governments take into account flood risks and to regulate development on the floodplain in order to ensure that development occurs on the least hazardous lands to ensure public safety and protection of property(1).
Based on this criteria alone, why did Council support this development? When the inevitable happens, who will be left to pick up the pieces and pay the price? Parklane? The Municipality? The Provincial Government? In a worst case scenario, I believe that we would all be left holding the bag as a result of the failure of our local government to deny development on lands which are not suitable. I believe that we all deserve better.
Sincerely, Muriel Arnason
Muriel Arnason was Langley Township's longest serving Councillor and in December 2005 decided to take a break from Council. She cares very much about the people and now shares her thoughts in LFP regularily.
(1)The Fraser Basin Council