Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore is the chair of the Metro Vancouver board.

Metro Vancouver loses court appeal to uphold growth limits in Langley

Court ruling in favour of Langley Township not seen as risk to regional district's growth strategy

Metro Vancouver has again lost in court to Langley Township in a legal fight over whether the regional district’s rules to control urban sprawl trump the decisions of the municipality.

The B.C. Court of Appeal rejected Metro’s appeal of its earlier failed attempt to quash a Langley rezoning that allowed much smaller lot sizes so 67 new homes could be built on farmland near Trinity Western University.

All three judges in the appeal found no inconsistency between Langley Township’s Official Community Plan and its commitments under Metro’s growth strategy, rejecting Metro’s position that the rezoning was an illegal amendment.

The ruling also notes the areas slated for development within the A.C.T. Stock Farm owned by Peter Wall are “not suitable for agriculture” and the plans were conditionally approved by the Agricultural Land Commission.

The decision means homes can be built there as proposed, creating a larger university district near Highway 1, as well as on the 11-acre Hendricks farm further south in Langley where Metro also lost on appeal.

But Metro board chair Greg Moore said the regional district does not believe the defeat creates a dangerous precedent that unravels its new regional growth strategy or its future ability to restrain development to protect farmland.

“We obviously wish it had gone in a different direction,” Moore said. “But it isn’t as grand as some people have been making it out that it puts the whole regional growth strategy in question.”

He said the region had been most concerned about the language used by the lower court judge suggesting the regional district has no authority to interfere in local development decisions.

The appeal court’s more narrow ruling appears to have ignored those comments and left the regional district with teeth to enforce growth limits, he said, although there may need to be more explicit wording in regional context statements that cities pass to indicate how they will conform to Metro rules.

Langley Township had not yet adopted its new regional context statement when its council approved the development, so it was governed by Metro’s old 1998 Livable Region Strategic Plan, not the new regional growth strategy adopted in 2011.

Moore said he expects Langley Township will now pass its context statement and comply with the new growth strategy moving forward.

Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese said Moore is wrong to downplay the decision.

“I think this is significant moving forward on how regional districts relate to the member municipalities,” Froese said. “This case will resonate very strongly with the members. The right of locally elected governments to control land use planning is paramount.”

He said Metro is now admitting what the Township has long insisted – it was operating under the old growth strategy.

“They’ve changed their tune because we were right,” Froese said. “This is a nice Christmas present for me.”

Metro has also been at odds with Port Moody over that city’s plan to convert industrial land into higher density mixed uses.

Moore said the region and Port Moody have agreed to try to reach an out-of-court resolution by the end of March on what changes to the local Official Community Plan are acceptable.

Metro Vancouver had sought financial aid from the Union of B.C. Municipalities to fight the appeal against Langley Township, but was rejected on the basis UBCM could not support one of its members in court against another.

Just Posted

White Rock pier-plank purchasers celebrated

Donors received a certificate Sunday marking their purchase of a pier plank

White Rock looking at 3.9% tax increase

Budget discussions are to take place this week

PHOTOS: White Rock Festival of Lights celebrated with a cheer

Hundreds of people gathered in the city Saturday for a Christmas event

Plans for new Surrey hospital to be updated Monday

News conference announced by Premier Horgan and health minister Adrian Dix

Surrey 37 per cent behind in housing supply projections

Of 18 cities in Metro Vancouver, only City of North Vancouver and Richmond met or exceeded projections

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Four men in hospital after early morning Vancouver stabbing

A large group of men was seen fighting in Yaletwon

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Most Read

l -->