Monday, August 10, 2015

What to do about Langley City's Brydon Lagoon

Around this time last year, there was a lot of pressure to do something with Brydon Lagoon in the City of Langley. The lagoon is located in the Nicomekl Floodplain near 53rd Avenue at the Surrey/Langley border. This old sewage treatment facility was transformed to a “wildlife sanctuary” in the mid-1980s.

Over the years, the lagoon has been slowly filling in due to siltation. Hot weather combined with the slow infilling of the lagoon culminated with between 500-1000 fish dying in the lagoon last August. There was a real push from City of Langley citizens to preserve Brydon Lagoon at that time. Being an election year, City of Langley Council struck up a Brydon Lagoon Task Force to study the issue.

In 2013, a pond management study was produced by Dillion Consulting. Brydon Lagoon was one of the ponds that was included in the study. The consulting team made a number of recommendations about Brydon Lagoon which members of the Park and Environment Advisory Committee, Langley Field Naturalist, and Langley Environmental Partners Society questioned.

For example, the consultants recommended creating a fish passage between Brydon Lagoon and the Nicomekl River. As Brydon Lagoon is populated with invasive fish and provides limited habitat value for local wild salmon, this was a recommendation from the pond study that the Brydon Lagoon Task Force did not support. The consultants also recommended putting lighting into Brydon Lagoon, the task force did not support this recommendation either.

The task force reviewed the Dillion Consulting Pond Management Strategies Study, past reports and documentation, and local knowledge. The task force ended up making the following recommendations with an eye on maintaining the water quality of the lagoon.

Short Term (1-3 years) action items listed by recommended priority:

  • Keep and maintain fountain and aeration system
  • Cover the concrete overflow structure on the southwestern corner
  • Enhanced signage
  • Direct groundwater to Lagoon
  • Repair/improve the outlet structure from the pond
  • Diversify Lagoon shoreline and deepen (further investigation needed)
  • Maintain the current trail system

Mid Term (3-5 years) action items listed by recommended priority:

  • Create habitat features in Lagoon
  • Divert run-off from adjacent catchment areas
  • Develop viewing platform
  • Provide pre-treatment of storm sewer outflows

Long Term (5-10 years) action items listed by recommended priority:

  • Replace invasive with native species
  • Incorporate CPTED security design elements
  • Enhanced public features

Replacing the outlet structure for Brydon Lagoon has already been budgeted for. It will be interesting to see if council will move forward with some of the other short-term recommendations from the task force such as directing groundwater to the lagoon, and diversifying the shoreline and depth of the lagoon. These two items will likely have a significant financial cost. Hopefully, it won’t take until the next election cycle for the full list of short-term action items to be addressed.

The full recommendations of the task force are located in the latest council agenda package starting on page 18.


Lilianne said...

The last I heard was that there was no money in the 2016 budget. However, Council does not realize there is federal money available to them. They just have to ask for it. Being a Federal election year, why don't they approach Mr. Warawa, instead of wringing their collective hands and saying that 'jewels' cost money and saying there is no money!

Unknown said...

Hi Nathan,

Any idea if the Lagoon and the Nicomekl Floodplain would be better served under authority of Metro Vancouver Parks? The whole floodplain seems to be of regional significance and offers many trails and walking paths. Not sure what that process would be but it might lend to the idea of Metro Vancouver expanding their greenway system. All the residents of Langley City contribute to metro Vancouver yet they don't really have much of a presence in our jurisdiction (besides water). Cheers

Nathan Pachal said...

If the City of Langley wanted it, and Metro Vancouver had the funds. It would be possible.