Land use loopholes may cause a problem in the future
Editor: This is in response to the story in The Times (March 18) headlined “Township wins fight over university district.” While I believe that Justice Neena Sharma is correct in her ruling and subsequent interpretation of Langley Township’s right to determine its own course of action with regard to the land development areas surrounding and near Trinity Western University, I am troubled with the implications that this may have set a precedent where individual municipalities can find loopholes in the law.
Whether this is in transitionary periods or some other form of “escape” clause, it allows the local community governments to overpower the plans and the outlook of the regional planners. I think this needs to be further brought to light and discussed both by those in the electorate, as well as the population and society at large.
I think transportation, parking issues, environmental concerns and long-term stability of all these “mini-developments” within the Lower Mainland are cause for concern.
Local municipal governments can get around the agreed-upon arrangements (and even laws), whereby they move forward with developments that have short-term economic benefits and sound good for the long term.
If history is any teacher at all, it would remind us that such plans have been developed before (see Willoughby today; Port Mann Bridge of yesterday). There are many examples of short-sighted agreements that talk up the benefits but don’t ever give credence to the potential (and likely) downsides.
Should not policy and community planners put forth such a list of the positive and the negative, and should the courts not take into account the greater importance of the spirit of the law, with regard to setting precedents that may unduly damage future developments and civic relationships?