Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Eastern half of Aldergrove Regional Park planned to be “sold” back to Metro Vancouver

The provincial government created regional districts back in the 1960s as a way to help municipal governments better coordinate the delivery of services such as water, sewer, parks, and garbage collection; and, as a way to help improve the delivery of services to rural areas. In the Lower Mainland, there were originally four regional districts: Greater Vancouver, Dewdney-Alouette, Central Fraser Valley, and Fraser-Cheam.

Historical Regional Districts in the Lower Mainland. Select map to enlarge.

Langley City, Langley Township, Matsqui, and Abbotsford were part of the Central Fraser Valley Regional District. In the 1990s, Langley City and Township became part of the Greater Vancouver (now Metro Vancouver) Regional District, and the merged municipalities of Matsqui and Abbotsford became part of what is now the Fraser Valley Regional District.

Aldergrove Regional Park straddles the Langley Township/Abbotsford border. When this park was created, both communities were part of the Vancouver-Fraser Park District which became the parks division of the Metro Vancouver Regional District. This meant that while Abbotsford became part of the Fraser Valley Regional District, it was also part of the Metro Vancouver Regional District for parks purposes.

An aerial map of Aldergrove Regional Park. Select image to enlarge.

Around a year ago, Metro Vancouver and Abbotsford jointly agreed to transfer Metro Vancouver parks within Abbotsford to that municipality, resulting in Abbotsford no longer being a member of Metro Vancouver for any purpose. This was a clean-cut except for Aldergrove Regional Park.

As part of Abbotsford taking over all Metro Vancouver parks within its borders, the eastern half of Aldergrove Regional Park was also transfer to the City of Abbotsford. Metro Vancouver was planning to operate that section of the park until the end of this year, before transferring all operations to Abbotsford. It looks like this will no longer be the case.

A staff report in the May 15th agenda of the Metro Vancouver Regional Parks Committee noted that “the Provincial Government recently indicated that as a result of the unique circumstances that originally led to Aldergrove Regional Park stretching over two different regional districts, and the understanding that the [Metro Vancouver Regional District (MVRD)] has a long term plan in place to operate the Aldergrove Regional Park, a targeted exception to section 334(4) of the Local Government Act may be feasible to enable the MVRD to own and operate that portion of Aldergrove Park located within the municipal boundary of Abbotsford and without the City of Abbotsford having to be a participant in MVRD’s Regional Parks service.”

What this means is that the eastern portion of Aldergrove Regional Park will likely be transferred back to the Metro Vancouver Regional District to own and operate. This make senses as the park has been planned and operated as one unit since its creation. This park provides an important service to Langley and Metro Vancouver residents.

Even though Abbotsford is no longer a part of Metro Vancouver, there will likely still be a Metro Vancouver park within its border.

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