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Legal opinion sought on preventing subdivision over Hopington aquifer

Langley Township council imposed a moratorium on subdividing land above the Hopington in 1995, stipulating that it should remain “until a means of resolving any identified health and environmental concerns is determined.”

Since it was imposed, two attempts to quash the moratorium have failed, and not only have health and environmental concerns accelerated, the level of water in the underground reservoir continues to fall at an alarming rate.

Subdivision does occur above the aquifer when an application meets zoning and subdivision control requirements.

At the last council meeting before the summer break, a majority of council backed Councillor Kim Richter’s motion calling for a legal opinion to see whether the moratorium can be converted to a bylaw, thus ending all subdivisions until the environmental concerns raised in 1995, and issues of the quality and quantity of aquifer water, have been resolved.

In her motion, Richter noted that zoning over the aquifer has been in place for more than 40 years. Attempts in 1998 and 2005 to rezone at lower densities failed.

The highly-used Hopington aquifer is considered the most vulnerable to contamination in the province. Recognizing that, the government made it a groundwater protection area, which means that a groundwater management plan must be approved before development can continue.

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