A controversial re-designation of a Langley Township mobile home park has been rejected by the Metro Vancouver regional authority, which voted down the proposed change to the Forest Green Estates mobile home park on Friday, Oct. 12.
The Township wanted to change the designation of the 23-hectare site which includes the 160-home, 55-and-over gated park at 9080 198 St. from industrial “mixed use” to “general urban.”
The proposal alarmed some Forest Green residents, who staged a protest at Langley Township hall in July to warn the change could lead to their wholesale eviction because it would make it easier to redevelop the property for condominiums.
At a town-hall-style meeting with council and senior Township staff held after the protest, residents were told the change to an urban designation would improve their protection because it would mean any rezoning application would have to have input from the residents, something that would not be required for an industrial property.
However, when the Township proposal went to Metro for approval, staff at the regional authority opposed the application, warning it would allow the urbanization of the industrial part of the land and put more pressure on scarce industrial land elsewhere in the region.
Township Mayor Jack Froese told the Friday meeting that redevelopment of the site, which also includes an industrial warehouse, could allow the property to accommodate more housing units and more jobs.
“We’re talking [about the loss of] one warehouse, not thousands of acres of farmland,” Froese said.
Richmond Councillor Harold Steves said Metro must be just as firm in preserving industrial land as it is in saving farmland.
“I am very concerned every time we take industrial land and convert it to urban or to mixed use because that means there’s a run on farmland somewhere else,” Steves said.
Surrey Councillor Linda Hepner said the proposal would add to the slow erosion of industrial land and noted its strategic location near the Port Kells industrial area, the South Fraser Perimeter Road, Highway 1 and railway yards.