Letter: Make parkland purchase part of home development

A piece of land in Murrayville could be added to a community park.

Dear Editor,

This was sent to the mayor and councillors, Township of Langley

RE: The Sandhill development, James Hill Park

This land was released by the Township from the ALR in 2015 on the promise that it would adhere to the Official Community Plan. Density was to be the same as Murrayville.

The owner has now applied to double the density, for which the Township will need to change the Official Community Plan. This is contrary to the original agreement.

The Sandhill Development at the end of James Hill Park has a win-win solution built into it. The property was originally purchased with the expectation/permission of building 11 new homes.

If the district permits the density on Sandhill’s new proposal to double, but permit only half the land to be developed, everyone wins. The developer gets his planned number of new homes, but he in turn sells the forest to the Township to add to James Hill Park. There are several cost sharing programs such as the Neighborhood Initiatives Program, providing funding for recreational/parks opportunities. There are community grants and other sources of capital to pay for the new park space.

This little evergreen forest is the last in Murrayville. A last refuge for wildlife in this neighborhood, and a place for excellent student outdoor classes and has been used as such over the years. It is one of the last places of shade and wilderness left in this neighbourhood.

This small parcel is adjacent to a school and a park which has very few trees. In North Vancouver where the land is covered in trees the District citizens, by referendum chose a controlled rate of development: one per cent a year in the Seymour area. This is an example of how we have control over development. We hope to walk under those Murrayville trees for a long, long time.

The Township can buy back half the forest up to 44th Avenue to add into the park. The school is in favour. We hope and urge the council to take the necessary steps to save this very valuable island of forest.

We look forward to your response,

Susan Bookless, Langley