March 14, 2014

The End of the Region as we know it – 4

Trouble in this river city: Judge’s ruling upholds Langley rezoning plans.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has dealt a blow to Metro Vancouver’s regional growth strategy after ruling the regional district has no authority to dictate land use in individual municipalities.

The ruling followed an attempt by Metro Vancouver to stop Langley Township’s plans to rezone 13 hectares of agricultural land near Trinity Western University into a 67-lot, single-family subdivision by developer Peter Wall, even though it had received conditional approval by the Agricultural Land Commission. …

Justice Neena Sharma ruled Metro Vancouver “does not have superiority over land use management within the boundaries of a municipality.” She also dismissed a second petition levelled by Metro against landowner Al Hendricks, who wants to develop four hectares in North Murrayville.

While not directly undermining of the Agricultural Land Reserve, it certainly threatens the integrity of the Green Zone – the de facto land-use boundary that has been a foundation of regional plans since the 1980s.  And this is just for residential development.

The pressure to expand the industrial-land base (jobs! economic growth!) may be even more intense.  Combined with other signals that senior governments and agencies will mount their attacks, along with a concerted effort by developers already holding options on farmland near port operations, as well as the recent and proposed infrastructure needed for access – notably the South Fraser Perimeter Road and the Massey Crossing – there will be excruciating pressure to accelerate removals.

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  1. “The regional context statement is also part of the township’s Official Community Plan,” writes the Sun.

    Does Justice Sharma’s ruling confirm that OCPs too are not worth the paper they’re written on?

  2. For what it’s worth, we have similar dramas over here in Melbourne, Australia – a planning Minister who approves anything so long as developers want it. You are right – the catch cry of ‘Jobs! Economic Growth!’ seems to be an international phenomenon. Good ol’ economic rationalism hey.

  3. Perhaps we ought to do away with all these 20+ municipalities in MetroVan and create one, or two ( north and south of Fraser ) or three ( north of Burrard inlet, north of Fraser, south of Fraser) .. We have far too many politicians, planners, bureaucrats, and as such too high a % of our too high taxes goes to administration. London, UK and GTA did just that. Worthy an indepth analysis by the owner of this blog or by the various newspapers in MetroVan.

  4. Well that’s an odd bit of jurisprudence. I’m sure the provincial government is now wondering why their legislation, as it relates to regional planning, is of apparently no importance to the judge.