TWU/Wall development timeline

1) Discussion about development around Trinity Western University (TWU) began around 2007.

2) SRES met with Township Manager Mark Bakken and asked to have the community (including the society and Fort Langley Community Association) involved in any planning for this area. The township manager promised more open communication but nothing was forthcoming for subsequent months and years.

3) In 2010, the Township of Langley (ToL) and TWU approached the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) with a complicated land swap to remove just under 20 acres from the Agricultural Land Reserve for expansion of TWU. The ALC approved the removal.

4) Metro Vancouver created a special study area west of TWU including the 20 acres and a larger area west (behind) those properties. The special study area designation was needed because these lands are outside the growth boundary. There was tacit understanding that if the ALC allowed these properties out, Metro would give an exemption to the growth boundary.

5) From the end of 2011 to February 2012, instead of going ahead with the deal given them by the ALC and Metro Vancouver, the Township added the 50 acres from the Wall farm into an expanded development called the University District. Part of the Wall property was approved by the ALC for development before the ALC realized it lies outside the growth boundary.

6) Metro Vancouver cried foul over this last-minute change to the agreement.

7) ToL claimed it could do what it wants and that Metro Vancouver has no jurisdiction (despite ToL negotiating the special study area with Metro and despite ToL signing onto Metro Vancouver’s Regional Grown Strategy in Feb 2012).

8) In the summer of 2012, Metro Vancouver threatened to sue ToL. ToL withdrew approval for the University District and Wall farm development in a special meeting but brought the proposal back later. Incredibly, the University District was even larger now with substantial acreage added east of TWU. Despite initially withdrawing the approval, ToL once again claimed that it can do what it wants and ignore Metro Vancouver.

9) The Metro board (a committee of municipal mayors, not a group of bureaucrats) voted against what ToL was doing.

10) In October 2012, the ALC notified ToL that, having given approval for removal of land from the ALR along Glover, it did not intend to allow removal of land in the rest of the special study area (to the west of Glover) nor did it have any intention of allowing removal of land east of TWU. This land is all prime agricultural land.

11) The ALC is stuck with the Wall property decision even though it now realizes it created a problem with Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy. The 25 acres of the Wall farm that the ALC approved for development is really the crux of the argument between ToL and Metro Vancouver. Wall stands to make a big profit as does TWU ($1 million per acre) if it becomes residential. It likely will because TWU does not need the land for its campus.

12) In March 2014, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Neena Sharma ruled that Metro Vancouver does not have the authority to overrule the Township of Langley’s decision to allow development of the Wall farm.