Opinion

Editorial: Regional planning key to good growth

Last week’s B.C. Supreme Court ruling threatens to destabilize and neutralize a central tenet of municipal planning in B.C. -- the need for municipalities to coordinate their growth and goals through regional planning.

Langley township had rezoned rural land in defiance of Metro Vancouver’s regional plan without getting a required two-thirds majority vote of the Metro board. The court sided with Langley.

The decision is astounding because the Local Government Act spells it all out, saying that each city within a region has to ensure its plans fit with the region’s goals.

There are appeal avenues for dissenting cities but it’s clear in the legislation the intent is to persuade cities to get together and create a plan so that growth happens in the most efficient way.

All of the above is written in long-standing legislation so the ruling that Metro Vancouver’s regional growth strategy is not enforceable and that Langley township can create a suburb that contradicts the region’s plans is suprising.

The court said that Metro Vancouver was “micro-managing” Langley township’s affairs by denying the suburb and enforcing its own regional growth plan.

This is hardly the case. The regional government was simply trying to enforce one of its key mandates, which is to control growth and ensure it follows the regional plan, adopted by all its member municipalities, including Langley, in 2011.

If Metro Vancouver doesn’t have that ability, there will be a constant procession of cities sprawling, creating costly chaos that will be born by the taxpayer. Metro Vancouver could look like Los Angeles. This decision must be quickly and vigourously appealed.

The News

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