Langley Township council will go ahead with the full development of a plot of its land in Aldergrove, despite requests from residents to reduce the scope by about a third.
At Monday nightâ€™s council meeting, the council voted to go ahead with the construction of 61 lots of housing in the southeast corner of Aldergrove, in the 27500 block of 28th Avenue.
The land is Township-owned and is just to the east of Bertrand Creek. It is also divided roughly in half by a small creek.
Nearby residents had asked the Township not to develop the southern half of the property, leaving it as a natural area and improving public access, including for educational reasons.
Councillor Kim Richter was in favour of the idea and suggested eliminating the lower portion of the project.
â€œIt seems like there is quite a little ecosystem there,â€ she said.
Other councillors, including Michelle Sparrow, asked about what could happen to the northern portion of the site, and whether density could be increased there to offset the losses if the southern portion was left empty.
However, a majority of the council wanted to go with the full development.
Several linked the sale of the homes and the development of the entire site to the need for funding for the planned Aldergrove recreation center.
â€œI think if we want a pool, weâ€™ve got to get at it,â€ said Coun. David Davis.
He noted that there is a natural buffer to the south in the form of the Agricultural Land Reserve. The road into the site is designed with a roundabout-style cul-de-sac at its southern end, a sign that there arenâ€™t plans to try and keep developing in that direction, Davis said.
He noted that about 40 per cent of the property will be protected by Bertrand Creek and will remain undeveloped.
â€œItâ€™s not going to be easy to get that money without raising taxes,â€ said Coun. Steve Ferguson, referring to the funding for the community center.
â€œThis is, in my opinion, what Aldergrove needs,â€ said Coun. Charlie Fox.
He noted that new water and sewer lines have been brought to Aldergrove at some expense in recent years. Those new lines will allow Aldergrove, which has been stagnant in population for some time, to start growing again without straining its water resources.
Aldergrove is also surrounded by the ALR, Fox noted.
â€œThe only way Aldergrove can grow is infill,â€ he said.
â€œAldergrove needs people,â€ agreed Coun. Bev Dornan.
Richter suggested that the development was not infil, but was more suburban sprawl.
However, she was the only councillor to vote against the final plan.
In January, residents who had requested a scaled-back plan brought a petition with more than 200 names in favour of their alternative.
The land currently houses a water treatment plant on one corner, but most of it has been vacant and tree-covered for years.