Editorial — Wall farm inclusion in university district was unnecessary

An urban subdivision in the midst of a farm, physically separated from TWU by river and rail line, is not part of university district.

Langley Township council’s dogged determination to include an urban subdivision on the Wall farm as part of a university district makes no  more sense now, after final approval has been given, than it did when it first came up two years ago.

The university district should apply to properties that are immediately adjacent to Trinity Western University. Several of these are already outside the Agricultural Land Reserve, and are owned by the university.

Expansion of TWU will be good for the Langley and B.C. economies, and the university is a valuable member of the community. Its students and staff live here, spend money here and add to the educational skills this province has. These skills are critical to B.C. having a bright economic future.

There are very few people within Langley who object to a university district that is contiguous to TWU. They are supportive of a vibrant university that has room to expand.

There are other municipal politicians outside Langley who do not think TWU should expand. Some of them are anti-TWU, simply because it is a Christian university. This is discriminatory and has no place in a modern, multicultural Canada.

Others object because the TWU expansion plans don’t fit within the region’s green zone, which is highly questionable in itself. Vancouver and Burnaby politicians shouldn’t be making decisions on land use in Langley Township, just as Township politicians have no business deciding on land use in downtown Vancouver or Metrotown.

Maybe that‘s why Township officials and council added the Wall property to the university district. But the Wall property is very different. It is separated from TWU by a river and busy rail line. There’s no easy access to the campus. It’s within a large farm, located in the ALR, which generally has excellent soil and has been operated as a farm for more than 150 years. And it has no real connection to TWU expansion plans.

The Wall property should never have been added to the university district. Langley Township council would have been wise to listen to Councillor David Davis, who farms a neighbouring property and took the delegation seat to make an impassioned argument against its inclusion.

He knows what he’s talking about.

Unfortunately, the council majority didn’t listen and stuck with the Wall subdivision. This will go down as a bad decision for Langley’s future.