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University district public hearing to continue in January

Longtime Langley farmer Hugh Davis spoke Monday about a plan to rezone properties adjacent to Trinity Western University for housing. - Dan Ferguson/Langley Times
Longtime Langley farmer Hugh Davis spoke Monday about a plan to rezone properties adjacent to Trinity Western University for housing.
— image credit: Dan Ferguson/Langley Times

As a Monday night public hearing into the proposed redevelopment of land near Trinity Western University (TWU) was winding down, Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese announced it would not end that evening.

Froese said the hearing was being adjourned to Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. so council could hear from representatives of of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) “in all fairness, to make sure everyone has a chance to make submissions.”

The public hearing was told the proposal to build housing on land across Glover Road from the university has been trimmed by 67 acres to 376 acres, after the ALC ruled that some of the undeveloped land should be preserved for farming.

At the Monday hearing, with the exception of one university representative, all the speakers were against the project. Most said all of the land should have been preserved for farming.

The opponents were concerned about the loss of agricultural land and the potential environmental impact of the proposed “university district”.

Dennis Townsend suggested the university could free up space on its existing site for a housing development by building a parkade.

“There is plenty of room to grow” Townsend said.

He estimated about a third of the TWU land is currently used for parking lots.

Gary Reid, whose family has operated a farm for 35 years on land next to the proposed project, predicted the arrival of housing on their border will eventually bring an end to their business.

“If anything changes in this area, we’re basically out of farming,” Reid said.

He was not happy with the ALC ruling against preserving the site for agricultural use.

“It is very viable farmland,” Reid said.

“I don’t know how it got taken out.”

Another critic, Hugh Davis, said the site was not a good “building spot.”

“There’s more than 20 feet of blue clay in there,” Davis told council.

“Those are really deep gullies.”

Council has already given preliminary approval to the proposal to amend the Rural Plan for the three properties at 7645 and 7679 Glover Road, and 22423 Labonte Cres. to create a “University District” of housing, along with some commercial development to serve the housing.

Metro Vancouver has objected to the proposal, saying it doesn’t fit the regional body’s goal of concentrating development in selected urban areas.

The plan also involves transferring 52 acres adjacent to the Salmon River to the Township for conservation purposes. That land is currently part of the Wall property, located at Highway 10 and 72 Avenue. It is included by the Township in the university district.

The Monday public hearing did not discuss a separate, related application to build 67 compact residential lots on the 153-acre Wall property, located at 22415 72 Ave., which is seen as part of the university’s vision to increase student and staff housing.

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