Severe loss of greenspace
The City of Langford needs to protect portions of this parcel as a greenspace park for its citizens. In the Langford Official Community Plan, the City itself has identified that South Langford a special region. Much of this land consists of steep slopes, rare Garry Oak meadows, and two important creeks that feed the Bilston Creek watershed. It’s also home to many species, including the endangered sharp-tailed snake and western painted turtle.
Please ask your Councillors to help protect this land as a park for all to share.
How the current proposal threatens the environment:
1. The provincial and federal government have identified this parcel as critical habitat for the Western Painted Turtle, which is listed in the Species at Risk Act (SARA)(CDC iMap). The environmental assessment done by the developer is only cursory and has not been made available to the public. Further, the presence of Western Painted Turtle has been confirmed at the nearby Olympic View development site and has a terrestrial span of 3km, so there’s a good chance that a full assessment would find it on this parcel. However the rezoning process is moving too fast to perform this due diligence. Ask Council to slow down the rezoning process.
2. The eastern portion of the property has been identified as sharp tailed snake habitat. Sharp tailed snakes are red listed in B.C. and are considered endangered. The environmental assessment done by the developer took place in only one full day, however the Sharp-Tailed snake is nocturnal and would require a nighttime assessment to find. Other species that may be present include the Northern Red-Legged Frog and Northern Pygmy Owl (CRD Web Atlas)
3. The parcel of land is heavily forested and is in the Coastal Douglas fir (CDF) biogeoclimatic zone which is limited to southern Vancouver Island and the mainland and is becoming increasingly rare. There is little of this type of forest represented in protected areas within Langford, especially in older forest condition. (City of Langford OCP, pg. 42). The current proposal asks to maintain only 30% greenspace, most of which will be composed of recreational playing fields and covenanted land in private backyards. Furthermore, there is a clause in the proposal that will allow the developer to clearcut the covenanted land if needed. (Proposal, pg. 10-11)
4. Two creeks – part of Pritchard Creek and the Bilston Creek watershed – run through the land, and are important habitat for fish and other wildlife. (CRD Web Atlas). The current proposal asks to reduce the minimum streamside protection and enhancement area (SPEA) setbacks from 43m to just 15m (Proposal, pg. 6)
5. Several Garry Oak meadows are located near the cliffs on the eastern side of the parcel. These meadows are considered rare and ecologically valuable on Vancouver Island. (City of Langford OCP, pg. 42).
6. The steep slopes of the eastern portion of the land are rated as being at ‘High’ to ‘Extreme’ risk for wildfires. Removing greenspace and building homes in this area increases the risk to humans in the event of a wildfire in our community. (City of Langford OCP, Map 19: Fire Interface Areas)