Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Letters

The Vanishing Creek

Residential housing project set to take another bite out of Luckakuck Creek

Submitted by Eddy Mejuholm, Chilliwack/Google image

 

ayor, Council and City Staff:

 

I write you today to bring several matters to your attention regarding the proposed rezoning of 6524 and 6536 Dogwood Drive. Firstly, I am not entirely opposed to the proposed rezoning but I do have two very serious concerns about the proposed development afforded by the rezoning.

 

These concerns include:

Negative environmental impacts to the current headwaters of Luckakuck Creek which is a vital habitat for various birds, amphibians, plants, trees, and fish, including the Salish Sucker. This habitat is not currently protected under the City’s watercourse classification nor is it appropriately protected or addressed in the proposed redevelopment.

The creek is classified as a ‘Class A’ stream but the current classification stops at Stevenson Road, despite the fact that the creek currently exists for more than 100 metres past Stevenson Road and, in the past, has existed for much further.

Unfortunately, a prior development at Blackwood Lane has paved over the former creek and interrupted its natural flow. Apparently, this has proven to be a problem for many residents of Blackwood Lane, due to current foundation water ingress issues.

Additionally, according to long-time residents, the property at 6550 Dogwood Drive had a large amount of fill deposited onto it in the past, filling in a pond which of course had dire impacts on the creek’s natural flow. What's more, according to long-time residents, the creek extended much further with increased water volume in the past and many fish have been present and may still be present. It seems that we ignore the natural state of things to our own detriment.

I propose that a full and thorough environmental study be completed by Qualified Environmental Professionals, at the developer’s expense, on the entire length of Luckakuck Creek from Stevenson Road through to the edge of the property at 6449 Blackwood Lane. This environmental study should ascertain:

i) Will any critical habitat be lost for plant or animal life including, species at risk such as the Salish Sucker?
ii) Are there are ways to rehabilitate some of the habitat lost in prior developments through the proposed redevelopment?
iii) Are there any additional environmental considerations that should be factored into any future development?

2. Increased traffic and the attending negative safety impacts on Dogwood Drive and Stevenson Road, which is the main road for vehicle and pedestrian access for the students and staff of Sardis Secondary School, from September through June. Currently, Dogwood Drive has 13 driveways with approximately 20 vehicles coming and going throughout the day via the intersection at Stevenson Road. Even with currently very low traffic levels, at the beginning and end of each school day, it can be difficult to safely navigate a vehicle onto Stevenson Road while keeping all of the pedestrians, cyclists and motorists safe. This difficulty is largely because of the volume of traffic using the limited capacity of Stevenson Road at the intersection with Vedder Road.

To prevent future mishaps, I propose a thorough vehicle traffic and pedestrian study be completed, during the school year, from which city staff can make recommendations for potential mitigating measures, to be completed by the developer, to keep current and future residents of Dogwood Drive safe and to keep the large volume of vehicles and pedestrians who use Stevenson Road safe. I believe that these recommendations should, at a minimum, include:

i) Pedestrian improvements to Dogwood Drive including the introduction of a sidewalk on at least one side of the road with concurrent cosmetic upgrades.
ii) Pedestrian and cycling access improvements to Stevenson Road to improve the safety and flow of pedestrian and bicycle traffic on Stevenson Road.
iii) Improvements to the eastbound left and right hand turn movements from Stevenson Road onto Vedder Road to provide accommodation the volume of pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
 

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