Eric Woodward Foundation’s boarded-up Fort buildings are now covered with historic photos. (Langley Advance files)

Eric Woodward Foundation’s boarded-up Fort buildings are now covered with historic photos. (Langley Advance files)

Deal to add Fort Langley land to Kwantlen reserve called off

Elders and a land advisory group within the KFN opposed the project

The Kwantlen First Nation will not be absorbing Fort Langley properties owned by the Eric Woodward Foundation into the nation’s reserve lands, the KFN announced Monday.

A press release from the KFN said the chiefs and council were confirming that they would not proceed with the partnership, which was announced in early March this year.

The plan had been to transfer two land assemblies, both in downtown Fort Langley, to the first nation, to be added to Kwantlen land through the Federal Additions to Reserve Process.

“The partnership opportunity with the Foundation is not supported, and this was confirmed through the direction of our main community governing advisory tables within the community – our Elders Advisory and Lands Advisory Committee,” Chief Marilyn Gabriel said in a statement. “We honour and respect this feedback and have directed that our Kwantlen staff and staff of our economic entity, the Seyem’ Qwantlen Business Group… no longer proceed.”

The statement said the Kwantlen chief and council valued their relationship with the Township, local citizens, and the business community, and would continue to explore future land opportunities and partnerships.

A statement from the Eric Woodward Foundation said the initial process had been broken off as early as June 22 this year from the foundation’s side.

The foundation wrote to KFN leadership asking to restart the process, with wider consultation and consideration over a longer period of time.

“However, the foundation received no response to its request for a new process,” the statement said.

Councillor Tumia Knott of the KFN said that there were multiple groups involved in the internal process to make a decision on the Woodward Foundation proposal, and that the Kwantlen council wanted to ensure both the Land Advisory Committee and the Elders Advisory had a chance to review and give direction.

“The Lands Advisory Committee direction came in June and, due to delays in being able to convene our Elders safely as a result of COVID-19, the Elders Advisory direction came in October,” Knott said.

Woodward has been seeking to redevelop two major sites in the downtown for several years, but had come into conflict with the Township over site design, and the projects never came to a vote of the council. Some buildings on the sites are closed and boarded up.

He said the plan now is to continue trying to redevelop the sites under Township auspices.

“The application for development has always been pending with the Township of Langley,” Woodward said. “The same application will continue to advance through the development review process. Any agreement with KFN required approval from the Township of Langley for municipal services: fire, police, water and sewer.”

He said the plan was to pursue simultaneous approval because of the length of time required to transfer lands to a First Nations reserve.

In March, when the plan was first announced, Woodward was asked if the plan to transfer the lands was a way of building what he had planned, without interference from Langley Township, but he said it was not.

Woodward said the foundation could have proceeded with development at any time in a way that was profitable for the foundation, or “waited for the climate to change.”

“Also, I do not see the Township of Langley’s bylaws as ‘interference,’” Woodward said. “We were not subject to ‘bylaws’ but instead a series of political attempts to compromise our private property rights, as we have seen with the refusal to allow us to even remove buildings without any heritage value whatsoever.”

Fort Langley Properties was to have been the leaseholder on the lands, funnelling any profits back to a charitable foundation or local non-profits.

PREVIOUSLY: Controversial Fort downtown sites to become part of Kwantlen reserve

If the land had been transferred, it would no longer have been under the control or jurisdiction of the Township of Langley. Taxes or fees would have flowed to the KFN rather than the Township, and the KFN would have had final say on zoning or building permits.

First NationsFort LangleyIndigenous peoplesLangley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fraser Health has announced another COVID exposure at Brookswood Secondary. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Two elementaries added to Brookswood in latest Langley schools with COVID exposure

Three school alerts Monday follow on the heels of five issued this past weekend

Fort Langley’s proposed new truck route is outlined in red. It would move most truck traffic around the village of Fort Langley. (Langley Township Engineering/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Fort Langley truck route plans to be decided in 2021

Township council will decide on the project during the budget process next year

(Black Press Media files)
A call for Aldergrove Christmas lights

Send in pictures and addresses so others can see your holiday display

Langley Township and City provide garbage receptacles where people can deposit their bags of dog poop instead of tossing the bags into bushes. (Langley Advance Times)
LETTER: Langley letter writer dumps on irresponsible dog owners

People who don’t clean up their dogs poop or who toss the bags in the bushes irk local resident

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

Most Read