Kirk Robertson of WOLF (Watchers of Langley Forests) says trees along the border of the Blaauw eco-forest have been axed.

Fence fight in protected forest

Unhappiness over survey work to install chain link fence along border of Blaauw lands

Complaints about tree-cutting in a newly protected forest have prompted a review of a fence construction project by the Township of Langley.

The complaint about the work in the 25-acre Glen Valley Gray Pit Lands in the McLellan Park Forests on 257A Street comes from Watchers of Langley Forests (WOLF), the residents’ group that fought to preserve the site.

WOLF spokesperson Kirk Robertson said members of the group discovered an excavator had “cut what can only be described as a wide swathe of destruction along a significant part of the border” between the forest preserve and Township-owned land.

“Trees have been knocked down and the ground cut up,” Robertson said.

In response to a Times query on Wednesday, Ramin Seifi, the Township general manager of engineering and community development, said survey work was being carried out by the Township to install a chain link fence between the forest and the Township property, “which is an active area for municipal operations with restricted public access due to liability concerns.”

Seifi said  the necessary right-of-way consent was obtained from adjacent property owners to accommodate the installation.

“I have asked staff to undertake a site review to ensure work is progressing according to plan and with minimal impact to the surrounding area,” Seifi told The Times.

Robertson said the extent of tree-cutting was “way beyond minimal.”

Just over a year ago, money to purchase the land was donated by Ann Blaauw and children John, Janet, and Jennifer, in memory of their late husband and father, Thomas Blaauw, a longtime resident of Langley who passed away in August of 2012.

The $2.5 million deal saw Trinity Western University (TWU) buy the property from the Township, using the donated money from the Blaauw family.

TWU has promised no housing will be built on the site.

The agreement between the university and the Township includes a restrictive covenant which only allows buildings that “enhance the use of the conservation area on the property.”

Under the terms of the covenant, the Township and general public are to have access to the site for environmental research, education, and recreational purposes.

Located near 84 Avenue and 260 Street, the 25 acres were placed on the market by the Township to help fund a new community centre, swimming pool and ice rink in Aldergrove.

It was the Township’s second attempt at selling land in Glen Valley after a plan to market 21 acres of Township-owned forest on 84 Avenue between 252 and 254 Streets was cancelled in July of 2012 because of a campaign by WOLF.

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