Tuesday, July 15, 2014

More Suburbanization in Salmon River Uplands

When people think of suburbia, Langley often comes to mind. In fact, many people think that Willoughby is suburban. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The density in Willoughby is actually higher than some parts of Vancouver (which contains a far bit of single-family housing in its southern portions.) Willoughby contains commercial and industrial buildings, single-family houses, row-houses, and apartments. The areas is also seeing more mixed-use buildings.

When I think of suburbia, I think of the Salmon River Uplands areas in the Township of Langley.

This area contains single-family housing on ½ and 1 acre lots. Within the Salmon River Uplands area, some land is in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). Because of the fragmented nature of those lots, it makes it tricky to actually have viable farming operations. As a result, the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) generally allows land to be subdivided and excluded in the area with full knowledge that it will be used for suburban housing.

The Township of Langley has also built water and sewer lines in the area which further opens up the opportunity for development in the area.

One of the challenges with Salmon River Uplands is that it isn't a complete community. You need to drive everywhere with the only local shopping being the Otter Co-op.

Salmon River Upland has turned into a suburban neighbourhood with very little community services because there is no vision for the area. In fact, the Salmon River Uplands “plan” is contain within the Langley Rural Plan which states it be “maintained for rural residential and agricultural uses.” That’s it.

At yesterday’s Township of Langley afternoon council meeting, there was an application to subdivide a 3 acre lots in the Salmon River Uplands areas into 3, 1 acre lots. This land is in the ALR, so it needs the blessing of the ALC for the subdivision to occur. If approved, it will allow the further suburbanization of the area.

Map of rural Langley with Salmon River Uplands area in grey. The subject site for subdivision is at 24907 52 Avenue.

It seems that no one really wants to look at the long-term vision for Salmon River Uplands, even as a suburban community. Metro Vancouver has designated the area as “rural” in the regional growth strategy and the ALC seems willing to allow suburban housing in the area. No one want to upset the ad-hoc system that has allowed the suburbanization of the area.

The Salmon River Uplands is a fairly large area in the Township of Langley, so at some point a plan will need to be developed to address the vision for the community, including what development should be allowed, what municipal services should be provided, and how or if the community can be accessible.

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