Tuesday, July 25, 2023

City Concerned About Regional Costs of “Piecemeal” Conversion of Rural Land to Industrial Uses Along Fraser Highway in Township. Surrey Proposes Redesignating Industrial Lands.

As I posted in May, the Township of Langley is seeking approval to convert 4.12 hectares of land at 23699 and 23737 Fraser Highway from the regionally designated Rural land use to Industrial land use from the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board.

Site of proposed regional land use change from rural to industrial. Select the map to enlarge.

In Metro Vancouver, we have an Urban Growth Boundry, which helps create a compact region that is easier and more cost-effective to services with transit, water, and sewer services while preserving rural and agricultural lands and greenspace, which helps preserve the environment.

Because the Urban Growth Boundry is so important if a municipality wants to convert rural or agricultural lands to other uses, it needs the approval, with a 2/3rd weighted vote, of the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board. Langley City, along with all other municipalities in the region, Tsawwassen First Nations, and Electoral Area “A” are part of the board.

Earlier this month, Langley City Council received a letter from the Metro Vancouver Regional District asking for our comments about this conversion of land from Rural to Industrial use. Langley City Council directed our staff to prepare a letter. At last night’s Council meeting, Langley City Council approved sending the letter that staff prepared to the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board.

You can read the full letter on Langley City’s website. I wanted to share an excerpt.

If approved this proposed redesignation will support fragmented or ‘piecemeal’ urbanization outside of the Urban Containment Boundary. This in turn could lead to the need for future sewer and water service extensions, as well as transit service expansion, in areas that do not currently have these services. This will likely result in additional long-term costs for providing and maintaining regional and municipal sewer and water services, and will redirect valuable and finite transit service funding away from areas located along the Major Transit Network and other transit service priority areas within the Urban Containment Boundary.
It is also suggested that further study be undertaken, to identify water and sewer servicing requirements and costs associated with future urbanization along the Fraser Highway corridor and outside of the Urban Containment Boundary, prior to future regional land use amendments being considered by Metro Vancouver.

On another regional matter, Langley City Council received a request from the Metro Vancouver Regional District to comment on the proposed redesignation of 10.2 hectares of Industrial land in Surrey to general urban uses. This land is located within the Urban Growth Boundary.

Council directed City staff to prepare a response letter. Industrial land is in short supply in the region, but according to the Regional District, this 10.2 hectares of land would only be accessible via a residential area which could be problematic.

Proposed regional land use change from Industrial to Rural at 11420 157A Street in Surrey. Select the map to enlarge.

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