A Langley Township forest that was going to be sold to raise money for a new Aldergrove recreation centre will now be preserved as a “Municipal Natural Park.”
Mayor Jack Froese announced the decision at the Monday night meeting of council, saying it was decided earlier in the day during a closed-door meeting,
The designation of Glen Valley’s McLellan Forest West municipal parkland covers 25.75 acres of wooded land on 84 Avenue between 252 and 254 Streets, a site that includes 80 to 100-year-old conifer trees.
“We’re kind of closing a chapter,” Froese said.
The forest was part of nearly 50 acres of Township-owned land that went on the market in 2012 to pay for construction of a new recreation centre on the five-acre site of the former Aldergrove Elementary School on Fraser Highway.
News the forest could be redeveloped for housing drew immediate opposition and produced drawn-out and often-heated debates in council chambers. 0The move prompted the formation of Watchers of Langley Forests (WOLF).
McLellan Forest West was taken off the market a few months after the sale plans were made public.
The remaining forested lands, the Gray Pit Lands between 257A Street and 260 Street, remained on the market until it was purchased by Trinity Western University this year, with the assistance of a $2.5 million donation from the family of the late Thomas Blaauw.
A press release issued by the mayor on Tuesday noted Langley Township is also home to 4,665 acres or 7.3 square miles of municipal and Metro Vancouver parkland.
“We have a lot to be proud of,” Froese said in the release.