In October of 2008, Larry Hope spoke at the dedication of the Hope Redwoods Natural Area in Langley Township.
More than 20 years ago, he said, the family determined that its priority was to preserve the 175-acre Redwoods Golf course it owned as a green space, free of development and dedicated to the pioneers who settled the area.
The nature reserve makes up seven acres of the golf course located between 88 Avenue and 96 Avenues east of 216 Street.
Naming and dedicating the seven-acre park was only the start, said Hope, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 84.
“The final chapter will conclude when the entire 175 acres are in a nature park.”
The Hope family sold the course to the Township in 2005 with restrictions that protect the site from development.
Hope had been pushing for preservation since 1965, when he suggested to his father, Alex Hope, a former reeve and councillor of the Township, school trustee and MLA, that Redwoods would make a great park.
The Township, Hope recalled, said that “if I wanted to donate the land, they would be happy to accept it.”
“My feeling was that I would be happy to give Langley a deal, but not donate the land for nothing,” he said.
Under the terms of the $6.652 million deal reached in 2005 (the figure includes the purchase price plus annual payments over 20 years), the Township forfeits property taxes for 20 years and Redwoods retains the right to operate the course for the same length of time.
The Hope family has deep roots in Langley.
Larry Hope’s great grandfather, Alex Mavis, came to Canada in 1887.
By January, 1888, he had bought 185 acres of the Hudson Bay property in Fort Langley.
Hope’s grandfather, Charles Hope, came to Canada from England that year, and worked with a company to survey the Mavis property into lots.
Hope was active in a number of businesses which involved mining, land development and farming. He bought the Redwoods property in 1902, and remained active in Fort Langley and north Langley until his death in 1949.
Larry Hope is survived by his spouse, Hope Mavis, four daughters and four grandchildren.
A public open house and celebration of life is scheduled to take place on Monday, March 21, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Redwoods Golf Course, 22011 88 Ave.