Most of the lands known as Gray Pit or McLellan Forest East have been bought by Trinity Western University and will not be logged.
A 25-acre parcel of land, in five lots, is being sold to TWU for $2.5 million. The land will be sold with a restrictive covenant that allows only the construction of buildings that enhance the land's use as a conservation area, or for environmental research and educational purposes.
A contract has been signed and the sale is expected to be finalized soon.
"We finally concluded one chapter," said Township Mayor Jack Froese.
The donation came from Ann Blaauw, a local woman, in honour of her late husband Thomas.
Residents in Glen Valley have fought tooth and nail to prevent the Township from selling off two sizeable parcels of land, totalling about 45 acres altogether.
The Township agreed last year to keep the western portion of lands, a heavily-treed area known as McLellan Forest.
However, the council still wanted to sell the eastern lands, known as Gray Pit. The Township has operated a gravel pit on and off there for several years. Other portions of the land had been restored by local streamkeepers in the 1990s.
The new deal will keep the bulk of the wetlands to the north of Grey Pit from being developed.
Froese said the deal will keep the lands open to the public, and will also allow rights-of-way to be created, so any paths created from the Township lands will be able to continue onto the TWU properties. The Township has also agreed to offer TWU the right to purchase one of the gravel pit lots in the next five years.
If TWU ever chooses to sell the lands, the Township has the right of first refusal and can buy them back.
"The community made it very clear to the Township council they wanted to see these lands preserved," said Froese.
However, Councillor Michelle Sparrow said she opposed the deal. In an email to the Langley Advance, Sparrow said she's worried what could happen if TWU sells the land in the future and the Township can't buy it. It could still be turned into housing, Sparrow said.
The money from the sale of the lands will go into the Township's Land Reserve Fund, for future land purchases.
@ Copyright 2013