Thursday, May 17, 2012

Metro Vancouver Board set to sue Township of Langley

My jaw almost drop out of its socket when I heard news that Metro Vancouver was gearing up to start legal proceedings against the Township of Langley over the proposed Trinity Western University District.

Consistency of Township of Langley Regional Context Statement with Official Community Plan Amendments

“That the Board direct staff to proceed with filing of a quashing motion pertaining to the OCP Amendment and Rezoning Application No. 100084 (Trinity Western University/Township of Langley) Bylaw No. 4900 prior to the expiry of the quashing period, subject to the results of the Township of Langley’s special council meeting of May 16, 2012.

That the Board Chair establish a Task Force to provide instructions to counsel with respect to the proceedings regarding the Township of Langley’s proposed amendments to its Official Community Plan.”

Siting of Proposed Trinity Western University District

I have an issue with one of the developments near the proposed Trinity Western University and some other developments in rural parts of Langley, but I haven't taken an exception to the expansion of Trinity Western University itself. The University District was in the Agricultural Land Reserve, but the area was so unsuitable for farming that the Agricultural Land Commission requested that Trinity Western "pursues exclusion of additional lands as they are steep riparian areas not suitable for agricultural use".

This action from Metro Vancouver comes from out of left field as the University District has been on the books for a while now. In fact the land for the University District is part of a special study area in Metro's regional growth strategy meaning any change in land use is considered a "Minor Amendments to the Regional Growth Strategy" and only requires a two-thirds weighted vote and regional public hearing.

With regional politics already strained, actions like this further reinforce the stereotype that Vancouver and the north of the river people don't want to work with the South of Fraser; they just want to impose things on us. If Metro Vancouver's board was looking to further destabilize regional politics, this is certainly the way to do it.

If Metro Vancouver really wanted to work with Langley, it should have sent a letter expressing their concerns about this project when it first landed on Township Council's desk for rezoning in January and worked with the Township to address the concerns instead of passing an 11th hour quashing motion.

The icing on the cake for me is that while all this is going on UBC is allowed to do whatever it wants as it isn't part of Metro Vancouver and SFU has been allowed to cut down half of the top of Burnaby Mountain for a "sustainable" community.

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