A $10 million new terminal building is nearing completion at the Langley airport and a near-$40 million expansion of Langley Memorial Hosptial is underway as infrastructure attempts to keep pace with one of the fastest-growing regions in British Columbia.
The airport and medical projects are part of the $53.9 million in annual building permit values that the Township of Langley has maintained for the past five years.
This year, with $77.2 million in total building permits issued in the first two months of 2019, the township is on track for a record-setting pace.
On the western periphery of Metro Vancouver, Langley is the fifth-largest city in the region, and one of the last sites for greenfield development.
However, 77 per cent of the township is within the Agricultural Land Reserve, which restricts most development. The majority of residential, commercial and industrial development is belted along the district’s western border with Surrey. The area is divided into the township and the city – the former more rural and suburban, and the latter more urban. At a compact 10 square kilometres, the City of Langley is tiny compared to the 308-square-kilometre township, but has one-fifth the population. Whereas 59 per cent of the housing stock in the township is detached, 75 per cent of city housing is multi-family. The township is where the growth is occurring, both in residential and new industrial product.
This growth is expected to accelerate as agreements move forward on the creation of a Langley-Surrey SkyTrain connection. That proposal is for a two-phase, 16-kilometre rapid rail line that would see SkyTrain running into Langley by 2025, according to TransLink. The final decision and money needed from senior levels of government have yet to be confirmed, however.
What is concrete is the new terminal building arising at the airport, a private project by Langley-based RDM Enterprises. The project includes office space for Langley airport staff and an air traffic control tower for Nav Canada. RDM, through a subsidiary, will own the 55,000-square-foot building and lease out space in it.
The Township of Langley acquired the airport from the federal government in 1967. It is a general aviation airport that handles approximately 100,000 plane and helicopter movements per year. It is also home to a myriad of aviation companies and one of the busiest commercial areas in the township.
Work is also underway on the expansion of the emergency department at Langley Memorial Hospital. Fraser Health is contributing $29.32 million toward this project and the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation is paying $10 million, for a total project cost of $39.32 million. Construction is expected to complete in 2020, according to Fraser Health.
When most people think of Langley, it is as a residential bedroom community for Metro Vancouver. And for good reason: both the city and the township of Langley have seen a boom in residential development in the past few years. Demand has driven land prices over the $1 million-per-acre level in such popular subdivisions as the Willoughby Heights area.
Still, Langley offers relatively affordable housing.
The March benchmark price for a detached house in Langley was $986,700, down 3.2 per cent from a year earlier, reports the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, while a typical condo apartment sells for $444,000.
Through the first quarter of this year, 1,275 new homes were under construction in Langley township, with another 667 being built in the city of Langley, reported Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.