The Agricultural Land Commission will not allow further expansion of Trinity Western University’s university district, beyond those lands which it excluded from the ALR several years ago.
These approved lands lie on the west side of Glover Road, opposite the campus.
The ALC concluded that “most of the land proposed for non-farm designation has agricultural capability and is appropriately designated as ALR.”
The lands which the ALC has not approved for a university district of retail/commercial and educational facilities, lie adjacent to Highway 1, west of the Glover Road overpass.
In an Oct. 16 letter to the Township, the ALC concluded further that:
• Most of the land proposed for non-farm designation is suitable for agricultural use;
• The proposed re-designation will adversely impact agriculture, and
• Except where the commission has allowed exclusion or non-farm use through the application process, the proposed re-designation is inconsistent with the objective of the Agricultural Land Commission Act to preserve agricultural land.
The ALC endorsed that part of the proposed university district consisting of the original campus bounded by Glover Road, Highway 1 and the Roberts Bank (CP) railway.
The ALC confirmed its earlier decision to support the eastward extension of 80 Avenue to Trinity, and to allow limited non-farm university use of TWU land immediately south of the railway land.
But the ALC said it is not prepared to commit those lands to permanent non-farm use within a university district.
The letter went on to say: “The commission noted that substantial areas of ALR land within the proposed university district have been left treed or are underutilized, possibly leading to a misconception that the land is of limited agricultural potential, and to the proposal that the land be substantially converted over time for non-farm uses.”
The ALC also stood by its decision to allow a specific and limited form of residential subdivision of the parcel south of Trinity, subject to conditions aimed at achieving agricultural benefits downstream along the Salmon River and in the Salmon River uplands.
But the ALC stated it “did not intend that non-farm use or subdivision should proceed under the aegis of a university district if those conditions cannot be met.”
The residential subdivision is for 13.5 acres on the northeast corner of Glover Road and Highway 10, at 22415 72 Ave. Wall Financial has applied to rezone land to develop 67 residential lots, 18 of which would have coach houses.
This decision has pitted the Township against Metro over the issue of who has control: Both claim that it has authority over land use.
Metro has asked the Township to submit an OCP amendment to them, either under the existing Regional Context Statement or by submitting a new RCS with the OCP amendment included.
The Township “will do that if legally required, but at this time does not see a legal requirement to do so,” Mayor Jack Froese said on Friday.
The Township is “very much in favour of assisting Trinity in establishing a university district to allow for their and other learning institutions’ desire to expand/locate in an area that would have all the amenities to support their efforts,” Froese said.
The rezoning application for the Wall property currently sits at third reading.
Doug McFee, an environmental watchdog in the Township and director of the Salmon River Enhancement Society, said that the municipality should accept what Metro and the ALC have already allowed for the university expansion on the west side of Glover Road.
The Wall rezoning, which drew a great deal of opposition at a public hearing earlier this year, “constitutes spot zoning of the worst kind” and should be halted, McFee said.
If the Township flexes its muscles with Metro, it will be private property owners, including the Walls, who will benefit the most.
If the issue is decided in court, taxpayers will bear the brunt for legal costs. And, McFee said, Trinity could lose its expansion if the Township loses out to Metro.