Thursday, July 23, 2015

Land-use planning in Township of Langley controversial at local and regional level

The Township of Langley has the tensest relationship with Metro Vancouver among all 21 municipalities and the Tsawwassen First Nation. While the Township of Langley has no problem with the conservation, recreation, water, sewer, and waste services that the region provides, the Township of Langley seems to butt heads with Metro Vancouver when it comes to land-use planning.

Beside the whole Trinity Western University district affair, the Township of Langley has the dubious distinction of being the only local government in the region that had its Regional Context Statements rejected. Metro Vancouver and the Township are currently going through a dispute resolution process. Lions Bay is the only other municipality without accepted Regional Context Statements. Lions Bay will be submitting its Regional Context Statements in the fall of this year.

Regional Context Statements are what link a local government’s official community plan to the regional growth strategy. It short, they bind a local government to following the regional growth strategy which includes land-use designations.

South of Fraser regional land-use map. Rural areas in yellow. Select map to enlarge.

If there is one thing I’ve learned about land-use planning in the Township of Langley, it is that it can be very explosive and controversial. Brookswood, Trinity Western, and the upcoming fight over Tall Timbers come to mind. Is it this highly charged atmosphere around local land-use planning that causes spill over controversy at the regional level?

Could it be that many people in the Township just really hate anything with the word Vancouver in it? Do they feel that regional land-use designations are just a way for the Burnaby NDP to punish the Township for being conservative? I know this sounds crazy, but more than one person has told me this is why they don't like regional land-use planning.

Some people might think it is because of the rural and agricultural nature of the community, but that is not the case. Delta, Surrey, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and Richmond all contain rural and agricultural areas, and they seem to be able to work with Metro Vancouver on land-use planning.

Rural Density By Municipality (2014). Select table to enlarge.

The Township of Langley has another dubious distinction. It is the only municipality in the region to see an increase in density in rural areas. People in Salmon River Uplands should hope to goodness that the Township of Langley is brought in line with the regional land-use plan. It will protected their community from massive urban development.

The status of the general urban land-use designation (2014). Shows the remaining land, and land developed between 2011 and 2014. Select map to enlarge.

The Township of Langley contains 32% of Metro Vancouver's urban zoned land that is under or undeveloped. The Township of Langley will continue to be ground zero when it comes to controversy around land-use decisions at the local and regional level.

2014 Annual Report, Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping Our Future

No comments: