(Updated) Hoping to raise money to build a new recreation centre, Langley Township council was preparing to sell 10 hectares of municipally-owned land containing a rich forest. The trees are reportedly between 90 and 240 yrs old, with a black cottonwood being one of the oldest. Hiker traffic has increased recently as more people realize the ecological value and beauty of the area.
Local citizens created a group named Watchers of Langley Forest (WOLF) to protect the forest. Langley council offered them two months, later extended an extra month to next Monday, December 17, 2012, to raise $3 million to buy the property and make it a park, but fundraising results to date have been limited.
After hearing citizens speak on Wednesday (see video link from blog), Langley Council decided to defer its decision to January 21, 2013. WOLF and its supporters are overjoyed at the temporary reprieve. Kirk Robertson offers tours of the forest most weekends starting at 2 pm. The last tours for this year are on Saturday and Sunday, Dec 15 and 16.
The land is currently zoned RU-3 on each five-acre lot on land, permitting two dwellings per lot. MetroVanWatch is watching this story in the context of the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy and Regional Context Statement and their influence on land use planning decisions. We’ll report more as info comes in. The efforts of WOLF are a good example of citizens getting organized, studying the issues, and proactively engaging their local government. The fact that Council has been willing to listen is also worthy of praise. Another issue is how municipalities raise funds for community amenities — in this case, for a recreation centre. This story is not over yet. Stay tuned for more.
To learn more:
Facebook: Save McLellan Park
Info on forest tours: http://mclellanpark.blogspot.ca/2012/11/tours-of-forest.html
Poets rally their verse to keep Langley forest from development
Hundreds of poets are putting their verse together to keep a 10-hectare forest slated for development by Langley council intact, and they’re hanging their work from trees with ribbons. By David P. Ball, December 8, 2012
Writers hang poems in trees in bid to save Langley land parcel
Mark Hume, The Globe and Mail,Wednesday, Dec. 05 2012
Robert Bateman Urges Preservation of Forest
Save ‘ecologically unique’ forest, Langley urged –Provincial biologist urges Langley township to spare biologically diverse forest from sale and development
By Larry Pynn, Vancouver Sun December 1, 2012