Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The slow suburbanization of Salmon River Uplands

One of the things that some people don’t realize about Willoughby in the Township of Langley is that it is a first generation suburban community that is being transformed into an urban community. The old Willoughby actually reminds me of another area in the Township called Salmon River Uplands. As you can see on the following map, it is a fairly large section of the Township.

Map of the Township of Langley, Salmon River Uplands in grey.

Salmon River Uplands started its path towards suburbanized before the introduction of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and as a result has a mix of lot sizes from small to farmable. Oddly, the only planning guidance for Salmon River Uplands is to “maintained [it] for rural residential and agricultural uses and indicates that a detailed plan for the area is required to set out policies for future growth, subdivision and agriculture.” No such detailed plan has ever been adopted since this sentence was adopted over 20 years ago. The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) has also written off the area for the most part, and has allowed further subdivision within the ALR. Currently, the Township will allow lot sizes down to about 1 acre which is perfect for large format housing. The scaring thing about the whole process is that if this is allowed to continue, in another 20 years will Salmon River Uplands become the next Willoughby? 1 acre and smaller lots will make it impossible for agriculture.

23886 52 Avenue

On Monday, Township Council was presented with the option to recommend to the ALC to allow a 4.7 acre lot at 23886 52 Avenue to be subdivided into four 1.17 acre lots.

I think Township Council has stayed away for coming up with a detailed plan for the area as the process would open up a can of worm about addressing the future of the area and what the meaning of rural is in Langley. So as it stands now, Salmon River Uplands is being slowly transformed into a laissez-faire suburban community.


Brad Richert said...

Apart from one section of the Yorkson community, on the backs of 1 or 2 developers, I wouldn't consider Willoughby moving from suburban to urban. Over the last 6-9 years (with the same municipal government, more or less), Willoughby has been the epitome of suburban sprawl. The three Willoughby neighbourhoods that have been developed in this time - Routley, Southwest Gordon and Northeast Gordon are all vehicle-based neighbourhoods with a admitted focus on having people drive to the big boxes and shopping centre in Willowbrook.

Yorkson itself is positioned to be a vehicle-based neighbourhood, as most people looking to purchase in the area are those who want quick (re: driving) access to the highway to get to employment across the river.

As for Salmon River Uplands, expect to see many more Lavender Home/Morgan Creek/Highland Estate-type multi-million dollar estate developments trying to squeeze through.

Nathan Pachal said...

When talk about urban/suburban in this post, I mean lot size and residential density, not if a place is walkable.