Opinion

Township is worst offender

Editor: As a resident of Langley Township, I am sitting at my keyboard almost in a state of disbelief as I keep thinking about the Township’s headlong rush to solve the problem of our diminishing aquifer levels.  Compounding this disbelief is the direction that our council is about to take when deciding that metering our private well water will be front and centre when solving this long and predictable downhill slide regarding the state of these aquifers. 

Then, as if this enormously important decision needs nothing in way of more intelligent input, our council is presently scheduled to ram this through by Dec. 31 of this year.  Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to see what you get when you don’t pay attention to who you vote for at municipal elections. 

If you own a well,  be sure to attend the last open house on this issue, at the Murrayville fire hall from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday (Nov. 29).  You should then try to filter the bafflegab from the reality of what’s about to happen.

 The Nov. 25 Times has a quote from Antigone Dixon-Warren, the Township engineering department’s groundwater specialist.  He states that the water management aim is to establish guidelines for preserving both the quality and quantity of groundwater.  Let’s stop and think for a moment.

Why? Because the Township itself has failed to do this, and continues to fail on a daily basis.  It has allowed poorly-planned development practices to destroy our forest ground cover, which retains our rainfall, which in turn allows clean water to filter into our aquifers.  It has turned a blind eye when development methods have allowed water to go from rooftop to rain gutter, and then to storm sewers and ditches, where it is lost on a fast track to nowhere useful. 

Flash floods in ditches and streams give us strong evidence of this after every heavy rainfall.  Dixon- Warren then goes on to say: “You can’t manage it (water) unless you know who is using it and what is coming in and out.” 

Well exactly, my dear Doctor Watson, but let’s get to the cause of the illness, and that is the Township’s poor planning and engineering practices. Methods of water retention never enter officials’ minds.

Now the Township has chosen to treat the symptom of this ailment (diminishing supply) rather than the very blatant cause which is located at the front end of the supply and consume cycle. Open your eyes, Mr. Mayor and members of council.

Look right across the road from the Township hall behind London Drugs, and you will see enough water wasted with each flash flood to feed every well in the Township for at least a month or more.  It can no longer be  absorbed and held by the vegetation that you have recklessly allowed to be destroyed by the gung-ho development on the south slope of the Willoughby escarpment.  Nice going, guys.

Brad Badelt, the Township manager of water resources, stated very loosely in the same article that the Township “expects” the provincial government to pick up the cost of water meters, estimated at between $1,000 and $2,000.

Hurry up with a firm promise here Brad, because we only have until Dec. 31 before this headlong rush to a huge blunder becomes irreversible. Most private well owners already have $20,000 and more tied up in their water systems and also have maintenance costs added as well.  Charging for additional hardware for the water delivered from these facilities will be adding insult to injury.

Before I go on any further, let’s turn our eyes towards Darth Vader, who lurks menacingly at the source of this messy controversy.  Darth is of course is a symbol of none other that the Ministry of Agriculture. 

Remember them?  You should, because they have already brought us misery via its letter of the law enforcement of the Right to Farm Act. Oh yeah, it is very friendly to the environment. Not! I’ll just remind everyone how it has ignored our environment regularly, each time it confuses industry with real farming.

Readers can assemble their own list.  You might begin with with mushroom composters, and how their leash seems to get longer with every passing day as they are excused for the foul air they create in abundance.

 At this moment, there is every reason for the Township council to slow the process, before starting with the metering of  private wells.  That procedure would be a costly, and a very large and complex program to implement fairly. 

There are far too many contributing factors to the diminishing levels of our water tables, and a fast track will contribute nothing sensible when prioritizing solutions.  Let’s start first with the worst offender among the others, and that is without a doubt the entity that holds the reins of this runaway horse. 

Yes indeed,  it’s the Township itself.  I’m sure that Confucius once said: “Check horse’s mouth before looking up other end for problem.”

Ed Monteith,

Langley

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