The Township of Langley should stop pursuing a controversial change of designation for a Walnut Grove mobile home park.
That is the opinion of Township staff and some members of council, following Metro Vancouver’s rejection of a proposed residential designation for Forest Green Estates, a 160-home, 55-and-over gated park at 9080 198 St.
The Township wanted to change the designation of the site from industrial “mixed use” to “general urban,” something that park residents feared would lead to their eviction because it would make it easier to build condominiums on the land.
Some Forest Green residents picketed Langley Township hall in July to register their objections.
The Township proceeded with the application to the Metro regional authority after holding a town hall style meeting with Forest Green residents to say the change would improve their protection.
On Oct. 15, the Metro board of directors rejected the proposal.
During the Monday (Dec. 3) meeting of council, in response to questions by council, Township administrator Mark Bakken said it would be “difficult and expensive” to appeal the ruling by the regional authority.
A number of councillors said park residents may be better off as a result because the site can’t be used for pricier higher-density housing.
“[If the property becomes residential] you’re going to raise the value of the land and those people are going to be kicked out,” Bob Long said.
But there is nothing to prevent the owners from redeveloping the site for industrial or commercial purposes, councillor Kim Richter added.
“What they’ve got now is only half the protection they need,” Richter said.
Metro rejected the re-designation to residential because staff at the regional authority said that would lead to the loss of already-scarce industrial land.