The city wants more money for a “Water Management System Improvement Bond” and letters to — and editorials from — this newspaper point to the need to repair our city’s failing infrastructure. This is a red herring. I don’t know of anybody who is opposed to fixing what is broken in the city. Indeed, for decades, my neighborhood in East Langley has complained about the unwillingness of the city to provide the stormwater services we pay for every other month, let alone pave Edgecliff Drive. But rather than secure smaller grants to fix our ailing infrastructure, as it has repeatedly done for the downtown core, the city has opted to sell us a major sewer expansion project packaged up as a “water management system improvement.”
The reason our neighborhood has long opposed sewer expansion is because of the increased burden on the bluff that housing density delivers.
Extending the sewer automatically increases the zoning density in most of our neighborhood and with that increased density comes more impermeable surfaces, fewer trees and bushes and less transpiration, hence more ground water going over and through the bluff.
Over the decades, Edgecliff Drive has experienced severe bluff failures, at several different places. Why does the city risk encouraging more?
It makes no sense to increase housing density in the critical and environmentally-sensitive area of East Langley. We can easily meet our commitments to the GMA without undertaking this sort of spending spree — yet another red herring. In addition, the city is currently entertaining a large, 40 acre, 100-plus housing development on Coles Road, right next to the sewer treatment plant, where development and increased sewer utilization will be paid for by the developer.
In introducing sewers to East Langley, the city threatens to take one of the most affordable housing areas in the city, e.g. along Decker and Furman, and impose a significant economic burden on its homeowners. The increased costs include servicing the bond, hooking our individual houses up to the sewer line. Neighbors, expect $20,000-plus and monthly sewer fees. So long affordable housing.
I urge residents of Langley to vote “No” on the forthcoming bond issue. We need to get our city to focus its attention on fixing what is broken, rather than trying to grow beyond our means. Doing so will keep our bluffs safe, our neighborhoods affordable and our taxes to a minimum.