LETTER: ALC ruling on Langley church land application lacked common sense

Local letter writer supports Southgate Church plan which still included an agricultural component.

Dear Editor,

The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) continues to make decisions that contradict its own goals of fostering the farm-related use of ALR land, while also making life more difficult for farmers and non-farmers alike.

In the July 24 print edition of the Langley Advance Times the ALC’s rejection of Southgate’s development permit proposal was reported on.

The goal of the proposal was to build “a usable centre for performing arts, which would also be a space for the church… a facility for the whole community” on five acres, and then they’d facilitate the farming of the remaining 10 acres, likely with help from the Young Agrarians organization.

The ALC has not helped British Columbia by making this decision. This land remains unused. Furthermore, the rejection of this proposal has not in any way protected farming in B.C.

The proposal was rejected because the ALC found that the land “contained prime agricultural capability,” though pastor Dave McTaggart said it has not been farmed in 60 years.

There are many smart and innovative non-farm uses that the ALC has permitted in the past, but the tightening of regulations and introduction of new ones in 2019 has made it harder to utilize the vast swath of land that is the Township of Langley.

The land currently sits unused, except for a house that is rented out.

You don’t need to be a Southgate congregation member to empathize with their disappointment. My support for Southgate’s idea comes from an entirely utilitarian approach – using the land is better than not using the land.

We need change in government that will put the focus back on people, not serving specific interest groups.

Alex Joehl, Murrayville

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