Letter: We must conserve what can never be replaced

A nurse tree located in the forest at Tara Farms. Writer Cathleen Chance Vecchiato is asking Langley Township council to create land exchange so that the remaining forested area can be preserved as a passive park.

Editor: Bullying and bulldozing have become synonymous among many Langley residents, with the worst occurrence found in the razing of Tara Farms.

Having known every trail and tree, (we’ve) spent countless hours walking from 76 Avenue, hopping over the ditch that ran into Crush Creek, meandering through the glory of a second-growth forest, its canopy pure.

The trees farther east turned deciduous with maples acting as cover until we found ourselves overlooking Milner Valley, and my daughter would raise her arms in victory, then roll in the grass. Mission accomplished.

In 2003, Langley Conservation Network invited councillors to walk the trail and experience the unusual thick second growth and see the value in preserving it.

(There was) talk of making it a crown jewel park, making it part of a series of trails along the ridge, and the idea of conserving what could never be replaced and its prominence within the community was ripe in the air.

Tara Farms had been part of a study, which mapped areas of Langley, and it was labeled ESA1  (Environmentally Sensitive Area 1), meaning the highest.  It was the area where the Field Naturalists did their annual bird survey, and was part of LEPS’ Wildlife Habitat Study.

In a letter from the Agricultural Land Commission in 2004, concern was expressed about storm drainage impact on the ALR once development occurred, with similar sentiment echoed by Milner residents.

When the trees stood tall, the forest floor was dry, while runoff from the hill down to the Bypass flooded businesses.

The ALC ultimately found that the “current Neighbourhood plan does not meet the criteria … for exclusion of part of the Tara Ridge parcel.”

In 2005, a resident in the area attended an open house for the NE Gordon Estates Plan for the extension of 74B Avenue (and) saw the similarities in the proposed Township roadway and that of the”Tara Ridge Estate Ltd.” arterial road plans.

In light of the information and the drastic effect on the local homeowners, I ask council, planning and administration to create a land exchange, so that the forested area to the west, neatly marked to show the ALR boundary, be retained as a passive park and that a buffer to benefit the new residents be planted so that a forest can grow again.

Cathleen Chance Vecchiato,