Letter: Looking to council to make the right decision on James Hill development

Editor: On Sept. 17, the Township of Langley council will have the opportunity to rise above the ordinary as they review the bylaw for Sandhill developments, which will allow more development and smaller lots.

This wilderness area, which is highly uncommon in this neighbourhood, is slated for development. The property is covered with large cedar and hemlock, it is not just a stand of cottonwood trees.

Reviewing the 1979 (amended 1988) Official Community Plan, it is worth noting it states the Murrayville area would accommodate a population or 9,700 but the current population already exceeds 11,000 according to the Township web site, and more are being added in several major developments. This development already exceeds the OCP in numbers. The OCP also states the lot size will be at a minimum 10,010 square feet. Reducing the size of the lots also contravenes the OCP.It also states that careful consideration (be given) to retain as many trees as possible. In this case almost none will be spared. Here is the opportunity to save them all.

READ MORE: Murrayville residents lobby to save small forest from development

There are a host of reasons for stopping this development, they are obvious to anyone who has visited the site. There is a curved road, with limited visibility, increased noise, added traffic in a school zone.

To the community at large, there is virtually no upside to this housing. Sandhill development wins and the Township gets a few tax dollars. The community loses. The school loses. We lose a place for kids to free-play and learn, people to walk their dogs, and a refuge from the sun and weather, as well as a place for wildlife to flourish.

The climate has changed significantly since 1988 when the OCP was written and so have our needs. Exposure to direct sunlight is no longer appropriate for young children or seniors with sensitivity to light. The demand for places like this will only intensify, we should provide shade and a place for kids to learn about tree species and plant identification. The school does hold classes in natural science in these woods.

Development is easy, irreversible and, in this case, unnecessary. I hope that council will view this development through the eyes of the community and make the right choice in rejecting this housing expansion and then taking the steps to hold it in its natural state as parkland.

We are looking for council to overwhelmingly vote this bylaw down

On Sept. 17, we will take note to see which councillors support this development, and who on this council has vision and the courage to make a difference.

Yes, there will be obstacles. That is what we expect our elected officials are able to overcome. After all October is just around the corner.

John and Susan Bookless,

Murrayville

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