Court ruling knocks teeth out of Metro Vancouver growth plan

Regional district loses legal fight with Langley Township over land use authority

Metro Vancouver board chair Greg Moore is also the mayor of Port Coquitlam.

Metro Vancouver’s ability to enforce its regional growth strategy to limit urban sprawl is in doubt after the regional district lost a court decision that gives the Township of Langley ultimate authority over land development.

Wednesday’s ruling by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Neena Sharma clears the way for the development of a large “university district” of homes and shops around Trinity Western University near Highway 1.

Metro went to court to force Langley to comply with the growth strategy, which aims to concentrate urban-style growth in town centres and keep it out of farmland and rural areas.

The township had rezoned the rural land in defiance of the regional plan without getting a required two-thirds majority vote of the Metro board.

Langley Township council maintained it could legally make the land-use change without regional approval because of a two-year transition period following the growth strategy’s adoption in 2011.

The court agreed and went further, saying Metro’s powers don’t supercede a municipality’s authority within its own boundaries.

“Regional matters can only be those that require coordination or that affect more than one municipality,” Sharma ruled. “[Metro’s’] focus can be on the region’s Green Zone but that does not justify micro-management of member municipalities’ decisions on individual developments.”

Metro board chair Greg Moore said the regional district is “very concerned” the ruling could set a precedent allowing other cities to build on farmland or green space.

“We’re looking at all of our options right now,” he said when asked if an appeal is likely.

Moore said there’s little point having a growth strategy – even though it’s required by provincial law – if it’s not enforceable.

“For us, this isn’t about Langley, this is about the regional growth strategy we’ve all agreed to and what are the repercussions of that moving forward.”

All Metro municipalities unanimously adopted the growth strategy. It was the second such document, replacing the older Livable Region Strategic Plan.

“We think that the regional district has a significant role to play in controlling the land use around the region,” Moore said.

Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese welcomed the ruling.

“The decision by the court will allow Trinity to grow and serve the needs of future students and the community as a whole,” Froese said.

– with files from Dan Ferguson

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This Crescent Beach home, located at 12505 22 Ave., was subject of a police search warrant June 18. (Google image)
Civil Forfeiture Office alleges Crescent Beach home used to launder money

Court documents request the home, and $85,000 to be turned over to the government

Surrey firefighters battle a house fire near the 70A Avenue and 126A Street intersection early Sunday morning. According to a witness, it appears that the occupants were able to get out without injury. (Shane MacKichan photos)
PHOTOS: Fire causes extensive damage to Surrey home

Occupants able to escape without injury: witness

Preliminary results indicate a Surrey-Cloverdale win for the NDP’s Mike Starchuk. (File)
Mike Starchuk leading Marvin Hunt in Surrey Cloverdale

MAP: B.C. provincial election results for Surrey-Cloverdale

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Mounties looking for teen boy ‘unlawfully at large’ from Riverview psychiatric hospital

Nolan Godron left the hospital, located at 2721 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, without consent on Saturday

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Most Read