Metro Vancouver denied funding for lawsuit against Langley Township

The Union of B.C. Municipalities will not help pay for a lawsuit Metro Vancouver has initiated against Langley Township.

The Metro Vancouver regional authority tried and failed in April to get financial assistance from the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) for a legal challenge of three Langley Township land developments.

A letter, obtained by The Times, shows UBCM executive director Gary MacIsaac informed Metro Chief Administrative Officer Carol Mason in July that the union, which represents most municipal governments in the province, was saying no because the legal fight involves a dispute between two local governments who are both members.

The decision was made by the UBCM executive.

“It was agreed that in situations where a dispute arises between UBCM members, UBCM is not in a position to provide legal assistance that could potentially result in a negative impact to another member,” MacIsaac wrote.

The Township did not apply for UBCM financial assistance in the appeal.

In response to a Times query, MacIsaac said the UBCM has a policy that permits financial assistance for members launching legal appeals in case “which affect all local governments or their employees in a substantial way” and has funded appeals by regional districts on occasion.

In an email to The Times, Metro Vancouver said Mason was “disappointed, given that the issue before the court is one that impacts the interests of local governments throughout the province.”

Metro is trying to have the B.C. Court of Appeal overturn a B.C. Supreme Court ruling that said the regional authority does not have the power to block the Township approval of the University District and the Wall farm projects near Trinity Western.

It is also appealing a related court decision that Metro doesn’t have the right to prevent the development of an 11-acre Murrayville farm site, known as the Hendricks project.

Metro is arguing its plans to control urban sprawl should override the Township power to approve developments.

The hearing of the Metro court challenge is scheduled for Dec. 8, 9 and 10 at the Court of Appeal in Vancouver.

– with files from Jeff Nagel

Langley Times