Official Community Plan passes over objections to Wall farm development

A document which will guide Langley Township as it grows to more than 200,000 people passed council by a 6-3 margin.

The document which will guide the expansion of Langley Township into a community of more than 200,000 people over the next 28 years was approved Monday night, by a 6-3 vote of council.

The new Official Community Plan (OCP) was opposed by Councillors David Davis, Kim Richter and Michelle Sparrow, because of its vision of a much bigger community and the inclusion, in a new university district around Trinity Western University, of the much-criticized Wall project that puts a housing project in the middle of farmland.

The OCP aims to update the existing community plan, which was created back in 1979, with a more modern approach to planning and development.

It projects the near-doubling of the Township population to more than 211,000 by 2041.

That will require 37,000 additional housing units, or an average of 1,300 new homes every year.

Richter was worried about the effect the growth will have on the 19 wells that currently supply half the Township’s drinking water.

“If we’re going to double our population, water won’t stay cheap,” Richter said.

“I don’t feel the need to double the population of Langley,” Davis said. “It’s too rapid.”

Davis called the Wall proposal a “huge issue” for him.

“I can’t support the university district with Wall’s piece of property in there.”

Both Richter and Davis tried to get the wording of the OCP adjusted to address some of those concerns, but couldn’t muster enough support.

Mayor Jack Froese spoke for the majority when he said the new plan might not be perfect, but it represents a big improvement over the old plan and it can be adjusted over the future.

“It does provide us with a road map to get us forward,” Froese said.

“This is a very important document.”

The OCP now goes to Metro Vancouver regional district for review, and hopefully approval, before it comes back to council for one final vote and implementation.

However, the Township and Metro Vancouver are also embroiled in a lawsuit involving the university district, so approval is far from a done deal.

Residents of Forest Green manufactured home park, who staged a protest at the July 10 council meeting, were on hand to speak about the OCP.

Their presentation followed an information meeting for the residents on July 17, attended by most council members.

Details of the residents’ presentation on the OCP are in this separate story.

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