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New deal struck on farmland

Sheep stand  in a pasture on a farm near the Langley airport. A new agreement between the Township and the Agricultural Land Commission suggests protected farmland near the airport could be used for development. - Dan FERGUSON/Langley Times
Sheep stand in a pasture on a farm near the Langley airport. A new agreement between the Township and the Agricultural Land Commission suggests protected farmland near the airport could be used for development.
— image credit: Dan FERGUSON/Langley Times

A new agreement between the Township of Langley and the provincial Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) talks about using protected farmland to help development near the Aldergrove border crossing, local airport and Trinity Western University.

The eight-page memorandum of understanding on the Agricultural Land Reserve in Langley was signed on July 20 of this year at a special closed-door meeting of council but wasn’t made public until the Nov. 23 evening meeting.

Among other things, the document suggests land could be removed from the ALR to “accommodate economic development at the international border crossing at Aldergrove, the Langley Regional Airport and appropriate areas of the TOL’s (Township of Langley’s) University District (next to Trinity Western University).”

As approved by the Township, the university district is to be developed on  23.4 acres on the west side of Glover Road opposite the university, while another 48 acres is to remain protected farmland.

“The objective (of permitting development in the three mentioned areas) is continued protection of the ALR while also ensuring continued success of each area as key economic drivers in (Langley Township) and within the region,” the memorandum states.

A need for a “defensible and durable urban/ALR edge” to form a buffer between farms and residential neighbourhoods is mentioned as well.

The section says the Township and ALC will consider “adjustments” to the municipality’s official community plan and the ALR “to ensure creation of a well-defined permanent edge for urban communities within a permanent rural setting.”

In addition, the document talks about the “need to move from a reactive model of responding to issues and challenges to proactive and more collaborative planning approach” in the future.

In response to a question from Coun. Kim Richter at the November meeting, the agreement was described by Township CAO Mark Bakken as a “high-level … statement of intent” that is not “directly binding” on either the Township or the ALC.

The protected farmland in the Agricultural Land Reserve makes up roughly three-quarters of Langley’s 316 square kilometres.

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