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VIDEO: Protesters push to prevent Gloucester rezoning

Proposal before council would damage salmon habitat, they warn (Updated with council vote)

UPDATE: Council defers rezoning

At their Monday June 26 meeting, a majority of Township council voted to approve an amendment to the Official Community Plan for Aldergrove’s Gloucester Estates industrial park, but deferred third and final reading of a rezoning application that would allow building on the last undeveloped portion of the park to have staff look into “required senior government environmental approvals.”

Lynn Perrin, chairperson of the West Creek Awareness Group, said the deferral was already required. “It had to go to the province and Fisheries [and Oceans], anyway,” Perrin commented after the meeting.

She maintained the rezoning also must have First Nations approval.

Perrin said the developer has been cautioned in a lawyer’s letter, from the coalition opposing the development, against carrying out preparatory work before the necessary approvals have been obtained.

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More than 40 people demonstrated in front of the Township of Langley main civic building on Saturday, June 24 to oppose a proposal to develop 37 acres of land in Aldergrove’s Gloucester Estates industrial park.

Among the speakers was Eddie Gardner president, of the Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance who said the site is part of the headwaters of West Creek, a provincially designated sensitive stream, that provides habitat for coho, chinook and chum salmon

“The habitat of our wild salmon are disappearing at an alarming rate and it must stop,” Gardner said.

“We must do something to prevent that from happening.”

Lynn Perrin, chairperson of the West Creek Awareness Group warned that more than salmon would be at risk if development is allowed.

“It’s not just fish,” Perrin told the Langley Advance Times.

‘“There’s migratory birds, there’s amphibians frogs, and you know, they’re looking at 600 trees that I don’t know how many of them are going to be saved or how many of them are going to be cut down, and those are really important to birds.

According to the group, the site is one of the 14 most sensitive creeks in British Columbia.

“Leave it undisturbed forever,” Perrin declared, drawing applause.

Siblings Ruby (left) and Finley Oakes were among the more than 40 protesters who demonstrated on Saturday, June 24, outside the Langley Township main civic building to oppose a proposal that would rezone the last undeveloped section of Gloucester Industrial Estates in Aldergrove. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Siblings Ruby (left) and Finley Oakes were among the more than 40 protesters who demonstrated on Saturday, June 24, outside the Langley Township main civic building to oppose a proposal that would rezone the last undeveloped section of Gloucester Industrial Estates in Aldergrove. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Some protesters wore hoodies that read “wild salmon forever,” some had signs that read “let’s not pave paradise again” and “protect west creek” and some drew a chalk outline of the rivers and fish on the sidewalk outside the civic building.

One of the protest supporters present was Bob Puls, past president of the Langley Field Naturalists, who warned it would be a “breach of trust” if council decided to proceed with the development proposal.

“At the time the Gloucester industrial estate was removed from the land reserve, it was with an important condition,” Puls maintained. “That condition was the green space [in the gold lands] and some other acres be retained as such.”

READ ALSO: Plan to rezone last undeveloped space in Langley industrial site draws opposition

The application to develop the land passed first and second readings at Langley Township council in late May and was expected to come back to council on Monday, June 26.

It would remove 36.79 acres (14.89 hectares) from the site, currently zoned for a golf course lands, which sits near the middle of the industrial park.

If approved, the remaining 55.13 acres (22.3 hectares) would be protected as environmentally sensitive areas, as well as expanded stormwater collection ponds.

More photos of the protest can be viewed online at the Langley Advance Times Facebook page.

READ ALSO: Fish sightings encourage protectors of West Creek


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Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Best recognized for my resemblance to St. Nick, I’m the guy you’ll often see out at community events and happenings around town.
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