Environmentalists concerned over Willoughby development plans

A Langley group has weighed in on the Williams neighbourhood plan.

Langley environmentalists are calling for stronger stream protections as the last neighbourhood plan in Willoughby goes up for public debate Monday night.

The Salmon River Enhancement Society (SRES) sent a letter to Township council, raising concerns about runoff from the Williams area impacting the stream.

“Increased flooding downstream is inevitable due to massive increases in hard surfaces such as roofs, driveways, sidewalks, roads and even lawns,” said the letter from the SRES board of directors.

The Williams neighbourhood, located between 212th Street and 216th, and from the Trans Canada Highway in the north down to 76th Avenue in the south, is expected to house about 4,600 people eventually.

READ MORE: Willoughby neighbourhood plan moves to public hearing

A commercial node is planned for the area around 216th Street and 80th Avenue, and a light industrial section close to the new highway interchange now under construction at 216th Street.

The development as a whole concerns the SRES. The letter to the Township said increased runoff could damage salmon spawning areas in the Salmon River, which flows into the Fraser River near Fort Langley.

“SRES also has concerns about water quality particularly since a large part of the neighbourhood will be industrial,” said the letter. “The risk of chemical and other pollution is high. Even the large amounts of salt used for ice control in industrial areas can be toxic to salmon eggs overwintering in the stream.”

The Township council has already heard concerns from the owners of Willoughby’s other commercial plaza that a grocery store in Williams could damage their business.

The public hearing will be held as part of the council meeting Monday, April 23. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Township Civic Facility.

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