Soil deposit proposal approved, subject to ‘strict monitoring’

Township council will advise the Agricultural Land Commission that it does not oppose a soil deposit application that will raise the level of land by an average of one metre over several acres at 25476 and 25578 – 73 Ave.

At the same time, council decided on Monday that if the ALC approves the application, the Township will closely monitor the project to ensure that the amount of fill is not exceeded, drainage on neighbouring properties is not impacted, and that local roads are not damaged.

Furthermore, council asked staff to monitor the quality of fill brought into the Bezalel and Caravetta properties. Council unanimously approved the permit on April 18.

Over the past few years, council has been plagued by criticism from residents whose properties lie next to those where tens of thousands of truck loads of fill have been deposited, changing the contour of the land and ostensibly making it suitable for farming.

In any given year, the Township receives approximately 75 applications for soil deposit or removal involving a total of about 500,000 cubic metres.

Residents’ concerns range from flooding, contamination, obliterating streams and creeks, damaging private wells and public roads.

They also contend that the Township had failed in the past to enforce the soil removal bylaw.

On Monday, Paul Caravetta explained why he wants to truck in 14,200 cubic metres of soil to his 73 Avenue properties: He wants to create pasture for racehorses.

Caravetta came to Langley from Mission, wanting to live in an area where he would be more welcome, he told council.

“This is my home. This is where I plan to stay,” he said, adding that he plans to leave his property to his grandson, who is only two.

“I’m not doing this for any financial gain,” he told council. “I’m trying to beautify my property.”

He said that his land will retain the same contours.

Asked by Councillor Kim Richter about ensuring water quality was not disturbed, Caravetta said, “I have to drink out of the same water.”

Neighbour Ross Gill’s main concern was the one metre thickness of fill that Caravetta is importing because, he said, the topography does not end at the property line. Gill was also concerned about the potential for toxicity in the soil fill, and urged council to impose more stringent monitoring so that the conditions of soil deposit permits are not abused.

Annabel Young told council that Caravetta has followed due process.

Caravetta “has done everything correctly,” she said. “He has done everything according to the book.”

Aldergrove Star