Bite-Sized Musings 

For when you only have a minute.

Protecting Langley's Waters on World Ocean's Day
08/06/2021

Today (June 8th) is World Oceans Day. Our planet’s oceans are life-sustaining ecosystems that need careful stewardship if they are to continue to be healthy as the world’s population continues to grow and its resources continue to be used. Community development plays a huge role in ensuring the oceans are protected, and this is especially true in a community like Langley, which has over 700 creeks, rivers, and streams, which all play a role in the greater marine ecosystem we all depend on. We saw the lowest abundance of Pacific salmon in four decades last year, and with creeks and streams and rivers all serving as spawning grounds as well as habitat for an abundance of creatures, we need to do a better job of protecting and enhancing these watercourses. 

 

On the other hand, we need to accept that generally speaking, developers are building to make money. There are some that put a lot of value in how their developments contribute to the neighbourhood they’re in, as well as how their projects fit into the bigger community picture. It’s unrealistic to expect developers who have land next to watercourses to be altruistic in how they approach watercourse protection, and as long as we depend on private developers for the majority of our housing, the right combination of incentives and disincentives could be used to better protect Langley’s waters. First and foremost, enhancement within setback space from watercourses needs to be strongly enforced and as much as possible, flexing setbacks should be avoided. In exchange for protecting trees and securing as large setbacks from watercourses as possible, developers should be able to move to a denser form of housing (single-family homes to townhomes, townhomes to apartments, etc.). This would enable actual clustering of homes (which the Township supposedly supports, but does very little to encourage), resulting in a smaller total building footprint, protecting more of the natural environment.