Monday, April 10, 2006

Vecchiato's Voice - April 10, 2006 - HIGH POINT OR LOW POINT?

An open house held for the High Point Development Thursday evening brought mostly homeowners in the Brookswood/Fernridge area who are afraid the impact of sewer will allow massive rezoning, and “Willoughby-ize” an area that is unique with its forested lots.

Consultants from Aplin Martin, the consulting firm said that the sewer was inevitable, whether high point is constructed or not. The tie-in with High Point is that the developer must pay for sewer down 200th, and will be reimbursed over 20 years as businesses and home hook up to the sewer. There was a feeling that if staying on septic allows the neighborhood to stay the same, and then septic it is. The pro-sewer people—usually who have bought property on speculation or people whose septic fields are nearing their end—did not appear to be in attendance.

The development itself extends from Zero Avenue to Eighth Avenue and from 196th Street along Surrey’s border to approximately 205th. The lots are large and surrounded by trails for equestrian use. The plans looked like an ideal community, or at least for those who can afford million dollar homes. Personally, the development isn’t one that will allow total clearing as we’ve seen in Willoughby. Sidewalks are not part of the development plan, and with Brookswood’s excellent drainage, re-infiltration is planned for any storm water run-off. Please remember that one of the worst offenders to streams is storm-water sewers that spew road pollutant water into salmon-bearing streams.

A little brake dust on your salmon tonight, sir?

Comment sheets were available for attendees, as were individual petitions for voters to halt the project. These must be signed and hand delivered (no faxes) to township hall by April 20, 2006. They can be obtained through the township. I am not thorough enough to know if the form can be downloaded from the internet if you are adamant about the development not going through.

Several astute followers of local politics were available, and the main argument against the development was that the Planning directive, written in 1995 by our former planner and current mayor, recommends development in one area at a time. This is far more financially prudent than allowing road construction, sewer and water lines, police stations, street lights, and the rest of the servicing that comes in a development package in more than one place. servicing is expensive, and the DCC's from High Point are in place to cover the sewer...for now.

My own personal concern is that $20 million is a lot for a developer to shell out for sewer, so it will encourage hook up along 200th and throughout Brookswood and Fernridge sooner than most residents would like it. I would like a guarantee that any new development is far different than what we are seeing in Willoughby and throughout Surrey.

Cathleen Vecchiato has been an outspoken environmentalist for the past 5-1/2 years. She is a very well recognized champion of the environment and a community activist in Langley as well as in other adjoining communities. Cathleen formed and leads the Langley Conservation Network. Editor-LFP....

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