Please email Mayor and Council and request that the full 27ha known as Horne Pit be designated as a park.
Simply send an email to all of the addresses below asking for the park and please feel free to copy and paste any of the reasons below that you feel strongly about, but keep it short. The most important thing is to send a letter!
Letters should be in by Monday, April 10th to make sure they are in the agenda but the absolute end for submitting an email is April 17 when it comes before council.
Emails to copy and paste below (please send to all of the councilors as well as the "mayorcoucil" email so it is included in the agenda package):
What is ‘Horne Pit’ in the Township of Langley and why should everyone care?
The 27 ha (~80 acres) of the former gravel pit known as Horne Pit remains a significant site for biodiversity and can be restored to a forest despite the degradation of fill over the past 20+ years. The site is UNIQUELY situated bordering the Little Campbell River (see map below) with coho and chinook salmon spawning sites in the river. Within the Horne site there are three significant wetlands connected to the river. This is a site that cannot be replicated elsewhere by, for example, simply buying some compensatory lands.
The Little Campbell River is listed as an endangered river in BC.
All lands adjacent to this river that are in public (or private) ownership are important to the health of the river given there is now a 2km stretch, just east of the Horne Pit wetland site connection to the river, that is going dry each year in late summer and fall.
(This former gravel pit is located in the Fernridge Neighbourhood between 24th and 28th Ave and bordered east by 200 St and west by 196th Street; see map below)
Graphic courtesy of Myles Lamont (presentation to ToL tree protection advisory committee) showing one of three wetlands at Horne Pit, map from draft Fernridge neighbourhood plan. Note the Green shown at Horne Pit site is now gravelled, levelled and prepped for housing lots and sewers have been installed although the Neighbourhood plan as NOT been presented or approved by ToL council. Two of the ponds shown on this graphic have been filled in but 3 large wetlands remain.
It is NOT too late to change the fate of Horne Pit
The draft neighbourhood plans for Brookswood/Rinn/ and Fernridge have still not been officially presented to, reviewed, or approved by council. However, very concerning is the fact that ToL has contracted the installation of sewers, sewer connections, and roadbeds (not paved yet) on this site while the neighbourhood plan (including intensive housing on Horne Pit lands) has never been approved by council.
Construction, and expenditure of tax payers dollars without official approval of a neighbourhood plan by the council and public is a precedent that is not acceptable
On April 17, Council will be hearing a presentation from ToL staff about the current status of Horne Pit. Between now and then, please contact Mayor and Council and tell them your concerns.
Contact them via Phone, Email, Zoom, Social Media as soon as possible so they hear from the public prior to the 17 April.
Why is ‘Horne Pit’ needed as a forested Park?
1. Biodiversity Preservation
As the Langley Field Naturalists recognized decades ago, and conducted biological surveys at the site, there are many significant species utilizing the ‘Horne Pit’ site. As recently as March 2023, a river otter was spotted on the site. Previous surveys found:
2. Water quality and volume to the Little Campbell River
and Brookswood Aquifer.
A Rocha Canada monitors the Little Campbell River water volumes each year. There is a 2km stretch that is annually ‘going dry’ in late summer and fall. This stretch starts just east of the wetlands at Horne Pit. We need to enhance the water volume into the river no decrease the flow. In the draft neighbourhood plan for Fernridge, the ToL plans to preserve the wetlands and develop all of the upland habitat except for a small riparian fringe around the wetlands. A trail on the edge of the wetland and another one through the housing development is proposed. This is not adequate to protect the water volume and quality into the river, wetlands and aquifer. Forested habitat surrounding this river and wetlands at Horne Pit is necessary to maintain slow and cleansing infiltration of water into the river and the Brookswood aquifer. This movement of water across permeable forest floor will maintain water quality and volume. The movement of water across impervious surfaces associated with housing development, roads will not surface this function for this sensitive ecosystem.
3. Human Health OPPORTUNITY and Biodiversity connectivity
The draft Fernridge neighbourhood plan shows high density urban development (townhouses, shopping) planned at 24th and 200 St and 32nd and 200 St. This is actually a great opportunity to provide access to trails/forested green space access that will enhance the quality of life in this neighbourhood.
Yes, ToL needs housing, but it also needs livable neighbourhoods.
Horne Pit is also directly adjacent to Latimer Park/trails in Surrey so ToL residents (people and wildlife) get double the benefits of green space connectivity with forest and trails through Horne Pit lands into another park.
4. PUBLIC OWNERSHIP.
This land is owned by ToL. No need to ask private interests to give up land. ToL (and its constituents) have the ability to define the vision for the site.
5. A PARK IS NEEDED IN FERNRIDGE
High density housing at 24th and 32nd and 200th
The neighbourhood plan does not designate enough new natural parks.
And the parks proposed are sparse and ill defined in the draft neighbourhood plan (a plan still not reviewed or approved by council). As the map below shows, intensive housing development is proposed for Horne Pit lands.
6. This Park is affordable: LEVY Developers to Pay for a PARK
Developers that will fill this neighbourhood with homes should be levied to pay for costs associated with the park development. This is typical in municipalities.
7. BROOKSWOOD/FERNRIDGE/RINN ARE TREE SENSITIVE NEIGHBOURHOODS
A forested park establishment on this public land demonstrates, that the ToL is committed to tree planting and habitat restoration …in a community highly sensitive to tree loss.
And with the developments planned in the area there will be tree loss.
8. FULFILLS DIRECTIVES WITHIN TOL URBAN FOREST MANAGEMENT STRATEGY, CLIMATE ACTION STRATEGY, WILDLIFE HABITAT CONSERVATION STRATEGY.
For example, ToL committed to 30% tree canopy in the Urban Forest strategy…but North Langley has only 5% canopy. This is an opportunity to plant trees, and to re establish and forest canopy that once occurred here and achieve ToL goals.
Preservation of key biodiversity areas is consistent with the Wildlife Habitat Strategy.
More Forests on Public Land: Its fundamental to addressing the Climate Crisis!
Horne Pit looks like a construction site, will it ever be a green park?
The Lower Mainland is full of examples of parks that perhaps didn’t look like parks to many but those who had vision saw the potential in:
· Aldergrove Regional Park (mined out gravel pit is Aldergrove Bowl)
· Brookswood Park (old quarry)
· Queen Elizabeth Park (old quarry) Vancouver
· Everett Crowley Park (garbage landfill) Vancouver
· Trout Lake (industrial site) Vancouver
· Barnet Marine Park, Burnaby (Ship Building, Lumber and Coal terminal) Vancouver
· Hastings Park –The Sanctuary (was roads, parking lots, vacant buildings) Vancouver
· Vancouver is now developing a new park “East Park” on a site that requires a lot of restoration (https://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/east-park-and-creekside-park-south.aspx).
Horne Pit is also uniquely situated on the river and has large wetlands within it. And in this day and age that is RARE. It has the potential to be a showpiece site in Langley.
What about Campbell Valley Regional Park?
Won’t that be enough for south Langley?
· Horne Pit/ ‘the future Fernridge Park’ could be/ is easy walking and disabled accessible distance to all the urban/high density development proposed for 24th and 32nd Ave @ 200St. Campbell Valley Park is 2km distant from 24th Ave and walking means travel along busy 200 St.
· Fernridge Park/Horne Pit will be relatively flat with slopes to the wetland. The trails can be potentially highly accessible to all persons of all abilities. And it is adjacent to Latimer Park Surrey (on 196 St) trails creating a large connected green space for people and wildlife.
· Current draft of neighbourhood plans do not identify any new natural parks in Fernridge despite identification of Horne Pit and at least two other significant natural habitats in this area that could be suitable parks. Horne Pit is the only one with ToL full ownership.
· Metro Vancouver parks is concerned that Campbell Valley Park is already being impacted with current use levels and projected population growth in this area. It is a regional park while each new neighbourhood plan in ToL deserves significant new green space.