URGENT MESSAGE RE Brookswood/Fernridge Community Plan…. Township continues to use a failed top down strategy! Attend Public Hearing March 3rd 2014!

Posted: February 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

What is happening with respect to the Brookswood/Fernridge Community Plan is a disgrace to the community. Despite my direction for change during my term, for the successful Aldergrove Core Community Plan, Township Council and staff could not wait to get back to their old process of manipulation and control. Top-Down Planning! Don’t believe me, take one look at Willoughby and their use and proliferation of “Neighborhood Plans”. In my view this process leaves open a more broader and disgusting use of Spot Zoning!

This process of Community Planning is like nothing I have seen throughout the lower mainland. The key problem issues are 1) Overall Planning Process (proliferation of Neighborhood Plans) 2) OCP and Zoning changes (omnibus process) all in one process and 3) Process of Community input and dialogue. Why is it that way? Very simple, it is much more easily manipulated and controlled by staff and special interests. Just ask yourself who is going to make the money?

An example of what happened close to home – “Aldergrove Core Community Plan”

Leading up to the 2008 election campaign I went after then Mayor Kurt Alberts for his complete lack of willingness to address the lack of an updated Aldergrove Core Community Plan. This was something that was on Aldergrove’s wish list for years. I promised in that campaign that I would advance that as a priority which we did but it wasn’t going to be the same old process!

Early on in my first term, staff, knowing that the Aldergrove Community Plan was a priority in my election platform prepared and brought forward a report to Council outlining their process for developing an Aldergrove Community Plan. I intercepted that report when I was reviewing our Draft Council Agenda on the Wednesday prior to our Council Meeting. I called an immediate meeting with our CAO and Director of Planning to outline my wishes for a new process and I had this item removed immediately from the Agenda and requested a NEW report outlining a NEW process which appeared in a later Council Agenda. (more on that later) Interesting, the new process was adopted by Council, but I am willing to bet they didn’t know what inspired this new process, until now! They didn’t even ask!

So what is wrong with the process they (staff) are obviously so enamored with?

In short their plan is very arbitrary at the outset. They (staff) arbitrarily decide what area will be covered for either a Neighborhood or Community Plan. There is no public debate on that issue just “it is what it is!” After developing some material to support their cause they call a One Day Community Planning Charet. They invite members of the community to attend, they set up teams at tables around the room, they provide maps, throw out discussion points and provide some food and beverage; and at the end of the day they wrap up all the maps with drawings and suggestions from those that attended and thank everyone for attending with a message, we will get back to you in six, eight to twelve months. In due course you see a plan that is put together with no further oversight or public input. This process only leads to poor planning, no REAL community input and a product our communities cannot be happy with. Don’t believe me, look to Willoughby! It is still not too late to correct Willoughby’s problems by the way BUT IT IS getting late in the mission.

In short – A Planning Process that involves the community is the way to go!

In Aldergrove we set up a Community Planning Committee with I believe eleven members consisting of residents, active business owners, an absentee property owner, local community association representative plus two non-voting positions, one from Council and one School Trustee. This group was provided professional planning assistance to work with by the Township of Langley, They were charged with the responsibility, with help from a facilitator, to elect a Chair and run a series of community meetings designed to reach a conclusion of their desires for their community. The long and the short of that process is, we established a Core Community Plan, established bylaws, provided readings, held a Public Hearing and approved the NEW plan, all with virtually NO opposition.

Back to Brookswood/Fernridge –

During the 2008 election campaign and before then Mayor Kurt Alberts had publicly decreed a number of times in the media that he wouldn’t address an update to the Brookswood / Fernridge Community Plan until Willoughby was built out. This was a position I was firmly opposed to. In my monthly drop-in Mayor’s Forums I was inundated with residents wondering about what is going to happen with Brookswood/Fernridge. They were challenged by land speculators, empty houses turning into drug dens and much much more. As many said, it was similar to what was happening up in Willoughby.

It was and is my position that residents in our various communities deserve to have input into their community plans. I don’t mean lip service as before but real active and meaningful input. They deserve to know what to expect in the near to mid-term in their communities.

It is imperative to fight the existing process with all of the energy you can muster. I implore everyone to not be lulled into a sense of complacency. That position would work for this Council because they are happy with apathy.

Please know you can effectively change what is going on, but you have to become active.

  1. Sign the petition!
  2. Attend the Public Hearing!
  3. Speak at the Public Hearing if at all possible! (Not everyone is comfortable with Public Speaking but if you can brave it out, please do)

This Municipal Council has an abhorrent record of listening to the public. Nothing will change until all of us make the change for them!!!

For more info  http://leavebrookswoodalone.blogspot.ca/

A Call to action – Attend this Public Hearing and be heard! Details

  • Brookswood / Fernridge Public Hearing
  • Township of Langley Municipal Hall – 20338 65th Ave.
  • Fraser River Presentation Theatre – Council Chambers 4th Floor
  • Monday March 3rd 2014 – 7:00 PM

RG

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More interesting BLOG Postings coming later this week!

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

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Comments
  1. Colleen Van Leersum says:

    Wouldn’t it be safe to say that the Township does what the developer wants?

    • Colleen: You are exactly correct. That is why I came out of retirement to run for Mayor, why I fought against insurmountable odds when I was the Mayor and why I am still fighting to raise the awareness about what is going on in the Township. Until we change this Council (except David Davis) our communities are not safe against the forces of some land developers.
      RG

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