Opinion

Editorial — Glen Valley forest is already ours

It should not come as a great surprise to anyone that a hastily-formed citizens’ group has been unable to raise $3 million to buy Langley’s McLellan forest from the Township.

WOLF (Watchers of Langley’s Forests) was given very little time to come up with the money to purchase the 25-acre forest located near 84 Avenue and 260 Street, with council initially setting a 30-day deadline of Nov. 17, then agreeing to an extension until Dec. 17.

The delay didn’t make much difference.

At the Monday, Dec.10 meeting of Langley Township council, WOLF chair Scott Perry told the mayor and councillors that while they have found “passionate support” for preserving the land, precious little of it has translated into actual dollars.

“Miniscule” was the word Perry used to describe the amount donated to date.

One expert on fund-raising has told WOLF that a more realistic schedule would allow two to three years, not months, to find that kind of money.

It didn’t help their cause that the fledgling group was trying to generate donations to buy land the public already owns, through the Township.

Speakers told council that more than one would-be donor raised exactly that question with WOLF as it hunted for financial supporters.

“Why buy something you already own?” one person asked.

It’s a good question.

Council does not seem to have an answer, beyond insisting it needs the money to buy the Aldergrove Elementary School site on which it plans to build a new community centre, swimming pool and ice rink.

Which begs another question; if Township finances are that tight, where is the municipality planning to find the rest of the money it must have in order to pay for the construction of the Aldergrove recreation centre, as well as staffing and maintaining it?

Again, there doesn’t seem to be a good answer. Perhaps it’s time to consider alternatives. Why not a joint arrangement with nearby Abbotsford to share the cost of a facility that would serve both communities?

It’s worth considering.

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