On the Needles

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Friday, June 29, 2012

100-year-old Forest in Jeopardy

About a mile from where I live there is a stand of trees that are estimated to be between 80 to 100 years old. The Township of Langley has owned the land since the 1930 and has left it untouched. Until recently. In September of last year the previous council voted to sell the land to pay for a land purchase in Aldergrove to build a recreation centre for that community. In late May of this year, a notice was placed in the Township Page of the three local newspapers. The sale was to take place on the BC Bid website, the sale ending Friday, June 29th. Many local residents were not aware of the Townships intentions to sell. No signage was placed on the property until Wednesday afternoon.

There are 3 properties up for sale, for a total of 21 acres. A fourth property is not for sale but brings the total forested area to roughly 26 acres. For years this land has been used as a nature park by local residents. Many walk or ride horses through it. From what we can tell it has never been logged or at least not in the last 100 years. It is named after a local pioneer family the McLellan's who homesteaded much of the land in the area.

Just  a few blocks down the road there are another 5 properties the Township is looking to sell. These 25 acres are located just north of an old gravel pit, know as Gray's Pit. Although it's been closed for several years, a little over 10 years ago the council looked into reopening it to obtain gravel for raising the West Langley dyke. My father, then a member of the Langley Field Naturalist, petitioned to prevent this as it would mean several century old trees would need to cut down. Although, the extraction of gravel was not stopped, the environmental impact was reduced dramatically. Unfortunately, this will not be the case if the 5 acres are allowed to be sold.

The two sections of land are designated RU-2 and RU-3 under the Townships Zoning By-law. Unfortunately, this means that the land can be cleared of trees and be used for greenhouses, stables, pig farms, feed lots and other agricultural uses. I am a strong supporter of preserving our land for farm use but I also believe in protecting our forests and other natural treasures. The removal of even a few trees could have a devastating effect on the local ecosystem.

A Facebook page has been created to help spread the word. We are asking anybody in the Langley area to contact the Mayor and Councillors to let them know their objections to the sale. There are petitions available to sign at the Fort Pharmasave and Wendel's Books. An online petition is also available here.

Let's work together to "Save McLellan Park"

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