Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Is it really us vs. them? The Township of Langley and regional land-use

Metro Vancouver and the Township of Langley are not seeing eye-to-eye at the moment when it comes to regional land-use. Metro Vancouver recently rejected the Township of Langley’s proposal to allow housing in the Agricultural Land Reserve. It also rejects the Township request to remove land from the regional Mixed-Employment zone. At the same time, Metro Vancouver and the Township of Langley are in court over the proposed University District. It appears that the region is taking a firm stand on the urban growth boundary and regional zoning which is part of the latest regional growth strategy.

One of the complaints I’ve heard from some people in the Township is that the Vancouver/Burnaby axis of evil is trying to snuff out the economic potential of Langley, and bullying the Township via Metro Vancouver. I had a look at voting record from the Metro Vancouver Agricultural and Regional Planning Committee meeting on October 4th were they recommended denying the Township’s request to update the regional growth strategy. Surrey, Richmond, Delta, the Township, Maple Ridge, and Pitt Meadows all contain a large amount of land that is in the Agricultural Land Reserve. Delta, Surrey, and the Township also have a large amount of land that is in the Industrial/Mixed-Employment regional zones.

Beside the Township, the only other municipality that supported the Township's request to add housing within the Agricultural Land Reserve was Delta. No municipality supported the removal of land from the mixed-employment zone. Delta has been pretty outspoken about regional governance and TransLink, and is working on putting housing in the Agricultural Land Reserve. It's no surprise that Delta supported the Township. It is interesting that Richmond and Surrey, which both have large sections of their municipalities in the Agricultural Land Reserve, did not support the Township of Langley. While some people would like to make this a Vancouver vs. South of Fraser issue, this is not the case. It really is a matter of sticking to the regional growth strategy that all municipalities in the region agreed to which support the livable region.

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