An impromptu presentation by Langley Township Councillor David Davis failed to convince his colleagues to ditch a controversial plan to build 67 compact residential lots on the 153-acre Wall property located at 22415 72 Ave.
Davis used an overhead projector usually reserved for visiting delegations to argue that the project is being built on the site of a former lake and that could be a violation of federal fisheries and oceans regulations.
“I believe this was man-made, but it is [fish] habitat,” Davis said, using the projector to show photos of the lake he recalled using as a teenager.
He went on to argue allowing a subdivision in the middle of farmland will set a precedent that will encourage developers to build on agricultural land.
“I ran for council to save farmland,” Davis said.
“I’m actually dumbfounded [that this is going to be approved].”
Davis, along with Councillors Kim Richter and Michelle Sparrow, said the project should have been separated from a proposal to create a “university district” of housing and related commercial development near Trinity Western University (TWU) on three properties at 7645 and 7679 Glover Road, and 22423 Labonte Crescent.
All three said they support the university district but not with the Wall project added on.
“Unfortunately, this has been lumped together,” said Sparrow.
“This is exactly spot zoning.”
Richter predicted the Wall project will “wind up in a legal challenge” if the Township failed to delay approval so the lake concerns could be investigated by staff.
The rest of council voted to approve the university district and Wall projects.
Councillor Charlie Fox dismissed the lake issue, saying the subdivision will not go where the lake was so there was no possible problem with fisheries and oceans regulations.
Councillor Grant Ward called the lake a “man-made pond” and Councillor Steve Ferguson said the project would put housing on a “small area not useable for farmland.”
Councillors Bob Long, Bev Dornan and Mayor Jack Froese also voted yes.
Following the vote, the mayor issued a written statement hailing the decision as something that would allow TWU to “grow and serve the needs of future students and the community as a whole.”
“The University District will give Langley students the chance to get an excellent foundation close to home, bring in international students looking for a high quality education, provide employment, and strengthen our economy,” Froese said.
“We are very proud of the opportunity this presents and look forward to seeing Trinity reach its full potential in the years to come.”
The press release did not mention the Wall project.