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Wall property remains part of university district

The Wall property does not belong in the Trinity Western University District, Councillor Kim Richter told council Monday night.

She proposed a motion to remove this land from the university district boundaries, on the grounds that residential units do not belong in the middle of farmland.

A subdivision on the Wall property, located at 22415 72 Ave., is seen part of the university’s vision to increase student and staff housing.

Richter’s motion was backed by Councillors David Davis and Michelle Sparrow, who feel that 67 compact residential lots do not belong on the 153 acre parcel. The proposal is for the homes to be on a small portion of the existing farm, with farm activities continuing on the remainder of the land.

The Agricultural Land Commission, in a recent decision, upheld its earlier ruling that the subdivision can go ahead, subject to conditions aimed at achieving agricultural benefits downstream along the Salmon River, and in the Salmon River uplands.

“I don’t support building houses on farmland under the guise that it will be part of the university,” Davis said. “I think we need to call a spade a spade and this application is just slipping in the back door.”

The revised boundaries for the university district were approved by the Agricultural Land Commission and are under consideration by Metro Vancouver. Metro Vancouver has not approved the plan yet, and is opposed to the land southeast of Glover Road being part of the district.

The Land Commission stated that the university district be confined to the existing campus and lands already removed from the land reserve, on the west side of Glover Road. It also backs extension of 80 Avenue east to the Trinity campus.

Sparrow is concerned that the development is market housing and will not be affordable for students or staff. There are also no guarantees that the housing will be restricted for staff or students only and that others may purchase them instead, she said.

“I don’t believe this development has any legitimate ties to the university district,” she said. “In my opinion, I think this a clever way for the developer to ride on the coat tails of the university district.”

Councillor Steve Ferguson felt Richter’s motion is moving backwards and will undo any progress made on the proposal.

“It’s out of order and I won’t be supporting it,” he said.

The motion was defeated with only Richter, Davis and Sparrow in favour.

However, first and second reading were given to a bylaw to amend the Rural Plan to create the Trinity Western University District. The motion was carried with Richter, Davis and Sparrow opposed.

A public hearing on the matter will be held at a later date.

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