Editorial - Project is out of place

There is a worrying trend in Langley Township — one of allowing applications for urban uses within the Agricultural Land Reserve to proceed at least to the public hearing stage.

This is particularly ironic, given that some applications within designated urban areas often languish for years within the planning department.

The most recent proposal for urban use within a long-established agricultural area is for 13.5 acres on the Wall farm property, located at the northeast corner of Glover Road and Springbrook Road (Highway 10).

While this is not the first urban use proposal for this land, which the Wall family has owned since the 1960s, it is completely out of character for the land and for the entire area. There are no urban subdivisions within miles of this  site. Two intensive farm operations are located across Springbrook Road.

There is no sewer system to connect to. Roads in the area, other than Highway 10, are narrow country roads with no sidewalks or street lights.

It makes no sense from a planning perspective to permit 67 homes, 21 of them with coach houses (additional suites), to be built in this area. Most of the Wall farm is top quality agricultural land, and it could be put to many potential uses.

Many of those uses will be severely restricted in the future, should a housing development be placed on two separate sections of the existing farm.

The Agricultural Land Commission’s call for the remainder of the farm to remain in agricultural use, and another portion of the property to be given to the Township for environmental purposes, isn’t a realistic quid pro quo. The environmental reserve will never be anything other than a flooding overflow area. It cannot be used for either agriculture or outdoor recreation.

These 67 homes belong in Willoughby, in an area that is planned for urban.

There the residents would at least have a chance of accessing transit, and of making use of facilities like the Langley Events Centre and local schools.

Township council should turn down this proposal, and ensure that the Wall farm remains available for full agricultural use.

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