Housing Authority to change Brookhaven’s beloved pond

LANGLEY — City planner Larry Cort caused quite a splash last week when he told city council about plans to convert the pond at Brookhaven back to the stream it once was.

A proposal has been submitted to city hall by the Island County Housing Authority, the owners of the Brookhaven neighborhood. But word of possible changes to the beloved waterway sent ripples through the Langley community.

Wayne Boddie told the city council at its meeting Wednesday that he opposed the project, saying that it could do away with picturesque pond cherished by many.

“I am opposed to that and I am sure many Brookhaven residents would be opposed, too,” he said.

Even so, the dammed pond also brings complaints.

Rick Hill, Langley’s public works director, said that while the pond is pretty to look at, it’s also a breeding ground for pesky insects.

“A lot of Brookhaven people call us complaining about mosquitos,” Hill said.

And the slow-flowing water also causes the pond to silt up.

The creek was dammed in the 1980s through a joint project of the South Whidbey Rotary and the Department of Fish and Wildlife to create a salmon rearing pond, said Steve Gulliford, the executive director of the Housing Authority of Island County.

After several years, the creek filled with silt and the project was abandoned, he added.

The housing authority was left with a murky creek full of noxious weeds.

Last year, the housing authority hired Scott Pascoe, a Langley environmental consultant, and the Adopt-a-Stream Foundation to come up with alternatives for restoring the area.

“The main reason is, it’s silted up,” Gulliford said. “Residents have complained and the city has complained.”

The plan is to remove the dam and create a meandering creek with a couple of small ponds through a replanted wooded area.

Gulliford estimates the work will take about a month and is scheduled to start in September

The housing authority has submitted a permit application to the city of Langley and state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Cort said even though it isn’t approved yet, the project is likely to happen as funding is guaranteed and the only obstacles are the pending permits.

Boddie has reviewed the housing authority’s plans since last week and has changed his mind about the project.

Others who have reviewed the plans are also happy with the proposed changes.

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