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Metro board set to sue Langley

The Metro Vancouver board of directors wants to quash a bylaw that rezoned land for Trinity Western University's 'university district.'

"We believe that the bylaw doesn't conform to the Regional Growth Strategy and the bylaw does not comply with Langley's own regional context statement," Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan told The Times.

The bylaw, adopted last month, amends the Rural Plan by adding provisions for a 'university district' at 7645 and 7679 Glover Rd., and 22423 Labonte Cres.

In these three properties, which lie on the west side of Glover Road opposite the university, 23.4 acres will be used by Trinity to develop a university district, while another 48 acres will remain in the ALR.

The rezoning and amendment allows Trinity to expand its campus for "learning, recreational, cultural, employment and housing opportunities."

Housing, a food store and coffee shop geared to the university community, are planned.

At the public hearing last November, Councillor Bev Dornan called the proposal "a great economic generator for our community," while Councillor Kim Richter called the university district "very forward thinking and progressive for Langley. I think it could leave a very strong legacy for the future."

The Metro board disagrees, and on May 15 issued a statement that it had directed staff to "proceed with filing of a quashing motion pertaining to the OCP Amendment and Rezoning Application No. 100084 (Trinity Western University/Township of Langley) Bylaw No. 4900 prior to the expiry of the quashing period, subject to the results of the Township of Langley’s special council meeting of May 16, 2012."

The board statement also revealed that it has asked Corrigan, who chairs the regional planning and agriculture committee, to set up a task force that will instruct Metro's legal team to probe the proceedings of the Township's amendments of the Official Community Plan.

Following a special council meeting on Wednesday, Township Mayor Jack Froese said that council has agreed to rescind fourth reading of the two bylaws dealing with the university district. Council passed a motion asking staff to engage in more consultation with Metro Vancouver, and look at other methods of dispute resolution to deal with the matter.

However, Froese said he "not happy" with how Metro has aggressively gone after the Township over the Township's regional context statement, which he said is still being prepared.

"Sometimes, we have to work on these issues," he said. "It might take a judge to sort out this problem."

Richter, who voted against the motion to rescind fourth reading, said "I refuse to be bullied by Metro Vancouver. We should have let it go to court. They're just bullying us."

Both Richter and Froese agreed that Metro's tactics will not endear it to Township residents. There is already significant interest among many Township residents in leaving Metro Vancouver and TransLink, and  setting up a new regional district. The Township is exploring its options in that regard.

Trinity Western University is disappointed at Metro Vancouver’s attempt to quash the Township of Langley’s recent zoning decision.

"We believe that the Township of Langley went through the appropriate public consultation processes, and we are surprised that that was not respected. At this time, the university is working with the Township and the Provincial Government to better understand the matter." said Derek Dawson, senior vice-president of business affairs.

"We believe, as do other qualified professionals who have reviewed the matter, that the proposed amendments are consistent with Township’s Regional Context Statement, which in turn supports the regional goals of building complete communities, achieving compact metropolitan areas, increasing transportation choice, and protecting the Green Zone."

TWU annually enrols over 4,000 students, with 19 per cent from the Langley, Fort Langley and Aldergrove area. Sixty-five per cent are residents of B.C., with the remaining 35 per cent coming to Langley from other parts of Canada and abroad.

 

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