Scott Perry

Far from their goal

Langley Township residents have unable to find $3 million to buy Glen Valley property

A hastily-organized fundraising campaign by residents has failed to find $3 million to buy 25 acres of Township-owned land in Glen Valley to prevent its sale to developers.

With only a few days to go before a Dec. 17 Township deadline, the residents are far from their goal of preserving McLellan forest, Scott Perry, the chair of the newly-formed Watchers of Langley Forests (WOLF) told Township council Monday night.

While the group has found “passionate support” for preserving the forest located near 84 Avenue and 260 Street, that support has only produced “a small amount of donations to WOLF as well as a small amount of pledges,” Perry said.

Part of the challenge, Perry said, was convincing prospective donors to pay “full market value in 60 days for land that is already publicly owned.”

He described the amount raised to date as “miniscule.”

Council approved selling the 25 acres to raise money to buy the Aldergrove Elementary School site to build a new community centre, swimming pool and ice rink.

It agreed to postpone the sale to give residents time to come up with the necessary money.

Perry said an expert on fundraising has told WOLF that raising the $3 million would be a matter of two or three years, not months.

He urged council to cancel the sale and find the money for the community centre elsewhere.

The same message was delivered by other residents who spoke at the evening council session, many telling council that more than one prospective donor has objected to paying for property already owned by the public.

“You don’t have to buy those wetlands, you already own them,” is how Hillary Ruffini put it.

Some said the Township could find the money elsewhere.

“There are likely other properties the Township could sell,” Susan McCaslin said.

Mark Haddock said recent assessments of the land show it has “high ecological value” and should be preserved.

He cited a biologist’s letter which said the area has “high to moderate suitability” for endangered species like the Pacific Water Shrew, Oregon Spotted Frog and Great Blue Heron.

“One option for you is to sell some other parcel of land that doesn’t have as much ecological value,” Haddock said.

“There’s lots of options to pursue here.”

Councillor Charlie Fox suggested that could mean selling one of two much larger wilderness properties in the same area owned by the Township, one of 110 acres and the other 120 acres to generate the needed funds for the Aldergrove project.

“As they say in the business, show me the money,” Fox said.

Petrina Arnason said while most of the government agencies approached by WOLF agree the site should be preserved, none had the money to do so and one, Metro Vancouver, has a policy against buying property for parks when the land is publicly owned.

“That’s kind of a problem,” Arnason said, because individuals have also been reluctant to donate to buy public lands.

Council has postponed a decision on the sale until the next regular meeting on Jan. 21.

Brendan Perry

Brendan Perry, 7, couldn’t remember what he wanted to say about the controversial sale of the Glen Valley property Monday night at Langley Township council. But his dad says he’s against it.

Dan FERGUSON/Langley Times

 

Just Posted

Langley pioneers remember heritage buildings

Ahead of November’s Douglas Day banquet, Fred Pepin speaks to importance of preserving local history

Turkeys avoid dinner plate at Thanksgiving meal in Aldergrove

Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary planned a vegan potluck dinner Sunday

Soroptimists of the Langleys host women’s health forum

Topics covered include medical assistance in dying, accessing medical cannabis, and a healthy brain

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: Carson Crimeni’s dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

Langley couple bring back medals from 55+ games

A gold and a silver for Brookswood residents

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands, with home support

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

BC Ferries filling up fast with post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Monday anticipated to be busiest day of the weekend

The one with the ‘Friends’ photoshoot: Kelowna group recreates TV show intro

A friend’s departure prompted them to create something that really says, “I’ll be there for you”

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

Most Read