Tuesday, March 6, 2018

March 5, 2018 Council Meeting Notes: Langley Urban Agricultural Demonstration Project Not Moving Forward

The Langley City council chamber was packed on Monday night as council navigated a dense agenda which included three development related items, a report from TransLink, and the final report about the Langley Urban Agricultural Demonstration Project along the BC Hydro right-of-way.

The idea of investigating urban agricultural along the BC Hydro right-of-way was part of the 2009/11 City Strategic Plan. At the end of 2011, the City and Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) completed a preliminary plan for the concept. Based on this early work, KPU and the City were awarded $50,000 from Metro Vancouver’s Sustainability Innovation Fund to refine the earlier concept into a detail site and project plan.

Between February 2017 and 2018, the project team worked on creating the project plan. This included hosting a series of community open houses. What became clear as the project moved forward was that there was limited support for this project from residents in the area.

Based on the feedback received from the community, the project team refined the plan which included setting aside 76% of the land for non-food production uses such as a pollinator corridor, buffer planting areas, and habitat restoration.

The follow image shows the site plan that was ultimately suggested by the project team.

Langley Urban Agriculture Demonstration Project Proposed Site Plan. Select image to enlarge.

One of the elements of the plan that intrigued me was the pollinator corridor. As stated in the plan, “the pollinator corridor is specifically designed to attract and support a diversity of wild pollinators including; bees, butterflies, birds, and insects. These garden areas would be planted with a mix of native and non-native species.”

Rendering of proposed micro food production plots and tool storage area along BC Hydro right-of-way. Select image to enlarge.

This 23 acres plan would require around $1,000,000 to built out, and around $100,000 per year in annual operating support. The food production components would need to be managed by a non-profit agency, and by people from the community.

As I stated earlier, it was made clear to council that there was no desire by residents in the area to move forward with this plan. Council voted to receive the report for information, but to not move forward with the next steps as identified in the plan.

From a regional perspective, this plan could provide guidance to other communities that might be interested in exploring small-scale, local food production and education.

Throughout this week, I will be posting about Monday night’s Langley City council meeting.

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