A group a Langley residents is trying to stop the City from destroying stairs that give them direct access to a trail along Brydon Lagoon.
Several homeowners on 197A Street have staircases at the back of their properties leading to a trail along the lagoon.
When a new neighbour installed a fence, blocking access to a set of stairs that used to be shared by residents, the group complained to the City of Langley but the response was not what they had hoped.
The City delivered notices on May 26, informing residents that their own flights of stairs would be removed, because they are on City property and pose an issue of liability.
Rhys Griffiths, 90, said he and his wife Annabelle bought their home 21 years ago because of the lagoon. He said they had stairs built at the back of their garden when mobility became more of an issue for them.
Removal of the stairs would mean fewer trips to the lagoon, he said.
“At my age, it would be a perilous walk down there. I would not enjoy it. In fact, I wouldn’t risk it. I would end by having to walk a quarter of a mile to go all the way around,” he said. “I would have to get in my car [and drive], then go for a walk.”
Griffiths addressed City council along with one of his neighbours, Gwen Myles, who used to use the flight of stairs, which is now behind a neighbour’s new fence.
The two spoke on behalf of a small group of neighbours who were also in attendance at the council meeting.
“Most of us have done work around Brydon Lagoon and consider ourselves unofficial wardens and keepers of an area often referred to as ‘the jewel of the community,’” said Myles.
Myles called the situation “a great irony.”
“Residents came to the City for help because our safe access was blocked when a neighbour appropriated City land on April 2, nearly doubling the size of their yard,” she said.
Mayor Ted Schaffer told the Times that City staff was working on finding a potential solution, which he anticipated would be brought before council at its next meeting on June 13.
“I foresee a positive solution here,” said Schaffer.