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Langley council ponders transforming 36 acre site into industrial land

It would be the largest addition to the Gloucester Industrial Estate in years
Langley Township council is pondering changing the use of the indicated plot from agricultural to industrial. The purple lands are existing industrial lands in the Gloucester Industrial Park, and the dark green areas are ravines and rivers, and the light green areas were set aside for a “golf course” that was never built and remain largely natural. (Township of Langley/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Langley Township councillors were reluctant to make a quick decision Monday on whether to add 36 acres of land to the Gloucester Industrial Park.

The eight properties all front the north side of 56th Avenue, between 264th Street and 268th Street. The land on the south side of the road and to the east of the lots is all within the industrial park.

Developer Conwest Group is asking for the westernmost six properties to be rezoned for industrial use as well.

All eight lots have already received conditional approval from the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to be removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), allowing for more intensive development and non-farm use.

That ALR decision came only after a lengthy court battle by the property owners, which in 2017 ordered that the ALC’s decision be overturned and reconsidered. The ALC changed its original ruling in 2020.

Conwest has argued that the rezoning will allow for the creation of “hundreds of full time jobs” once their six-lot portion of the site is rezoned and developed.

With the ALC in favour, the ball is in the Township’s court over what happens to the land.

The official Township’s land use plan currently classifies the 36-acre location as “small farm/country estates,” and much of the land to the north, in the uplands above Glen Valley, is part of the same designation. The land is usually hobby farms and acreages, rather than sizable working farms of any kind.

A report by Metro Vancouver last year identified a “critical shortage” of industrial land in the region.

“Years of steady population and economic growth in the region, ongoing conversion and non-industrial uses of industrial lands, and the constrained geography of the region, have precipitated the challenges facing Metro Vancouver’s industrial land supply,” the report said.

Removing land from agricultural uses has also been controversial, with advocates calling for the protection of local farming capability.

On Monday, council decided not to decide yet.

Councillor Eric Woodward asked that the changes to the official community plan and the rezoning application all be put off for more discussion at an upcoming Council Process Committee meeting.

Council split on the motion, with Councillors Arnason, Margaret Kunst, Bob Long, and Mayor Jack Froese opposed to putting off the decision.

READ MORE: Fate of Gloucester green space up for debate soon at council

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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