A controversial proposal that will permit 67 residential lots on a 13.5 acre parcel of protected farmland within Langley Township has been granted final approval, but the project still has some hurdles to overcome.
The development of a portion of the 153-acre Wall property located at 22415 72 Ave. was approved by a 6-3 vote, after Councillor David Davis made a last attempt at talking the rest of council into turning it down.
“I can’t vote for this,” Davis said.
Davis and other critics of the proposal have said building a subdivision in the middle of farmland will set a precedent that will encourage developers to build on agricultural land.
“If you want to support agriculture in the municipality of Langley, this [voting the Wall project down] is the first step,” Davis said.
Davis had the support of Councillors Kim Richter and Michelle Sparrow.
The rest voted for the project.
The approval by Township council still leaves the project with legal and regulatory issues.
The regional Metro Vancouver authority is appealing a B.C. Supreme Court decision that said the Township had the right to approve the Wall project and a nearby university district, despite Metro opposition.
The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), the provincial agency that regulates protected farmland, gave conditional approval to the project on condition that ALC concerns about downstream flooding have been addressed.
As well, the approval by the Township forbids construction until several conditions are met, including the flooding issue, road improvements and a legally binding commitment has been obtained that guarantees no further residential development of the farm beyond the 67 lots.
Roughly a third of the site, where the Salmon River runs, will be transferred to the Township for conservation purposes.
The developer has also agreed to build a trail connecting the proposed development across the Salmon River to Trinity Western University, where the Township has approved a separate university district of housing and related commercial development on three properties at 7645 and 7679 Glover Road, and 22423 Labonte Crescent.
Davis, Richter and Sparrow have said the Wall project should have been separated from the university district proposal, which all three have said they support, but not with the Wall project added on.