And the Decision is…. The Township of Langley Council doesn’t surprise anyone! They fumbled the ball badly with this feeble attempt at listening!

Posted: April 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

Monday night’s decision had been long in coming and was well-orchestrated by the Township of Langley Council. The decisions on the two issues coming on the same evening, allowed for an apparent win for residents of Brookswood Fernridge and an, as expected, loss for the residents of Fort Langley and the Township of Langley by extension. The manipulation and game playing just doesn’t stop, unfortunately it is our residents who continue to pay the price.

As I said above, the results should not surprise anyone who has spent five minutes following the antics of this elected Council. This was a well thought out misdirection play trying to come off as balanced when in fact it was anything but. A bad decision is a bad decision! Did Brookswood Fernridge actually win anything? Actually not but I will explain further below.

What I truly believe happened last Monday night? Read on….

Fort Langley Coulter Berry 2.0 or is that 2.1?

I believe the Coulter Berry (Don’t get too comfortable yet Eric Woodward) is still in some serious trouble and rightfully so. But to start with let’s put this issue and process into its simplest of terms. Remember this is not about one building; it is about one Historical B.C. Village. The village of Fort Langley has very strong Provincial Heritage recognition and legislated protection as well as significant local heritage protection through bylaws, regulation and policy.

You can’t write this stuff, here is what happened –

  • Eric Woodward starts to build a property portfolio in Fort Langley, now amounting to over 50% of downtown Fort Langley.
  • In a wide ranging interview by Frank Bucholtz in the Langley Times over a year ago, Eric Woodward was asked clearly if he was aware of the Heritage Guidelines and everything it entailed in terms of height and façade guidelines within the Heritage Conservation Area. He stated yes he was aware of them, thought they were a great idea and agreed with all of it.
  • After buying the old IGA property and the Hardware sight next door, he proceeds with plans for a 3 story building breaking every guideline conceivable led by none other than his consultant Kurt Alberts. You remember the former Mayor who, while in office, put in place strengthened bylaws so this kind of abuse could not happen.
  • With the help of Kurt’s friendly Council they approve of the breaking of these rules, regulations, bylaws and approve the building, ultimately ruled by the B.C. Supreme Court to be illegal.
  • The majority of Council participates in a sod turning while a Judicial Review is underway and NO Building Permit was issued.
  • Township taken to court by citizens group and loses. Construction stops.
  • Township states they will appeal the decision, apparently it is currently underway.
  • Eric Woodward reapplies under a new process requesting an OCP change and Spot Zoning for his site only on Coulter Berry 2.0 with a virtually unchanged building size and lot coverage.
  • Council gives 1st and 2nd reading, holds three nights of Public Hearing and gives 3rd reading last Monday night despite unprecedented opposition from residents of the Township of Langley.
  • To add insult to injury – Council Kim Richter brings a Notice of Motion forward to this coming Monday’s Council meeting (April 7th 2014) calling for a moratorium  on three story buildings in Fort Langley until the Fort Langley OCP is revisited and this is to be placed in a priority position.

NOTE – In typical Township of Langley fashion, a special deal has been made for a friend and insider. A number of residents have built commercial buildings in Fort Langley and have been forced to abide by the rules of the Heritage Conservation Area. So to those members of Council who ignored. Yes Councilor Richter, you ignored the wishes and decades of hard work by so many residents of the Township of Langley and you ignored the fundamental principle of the preservation of the History of Fort Langley. You have just poked the BEAR!

After everything that has happened (read above) Councilor Kim Richter having supported this oversized and out of character building from the start on a prime corner in downtown Fort Langley wishes to place a moratorium on any additional three story buildings until the OCP is revisited? Am I reading this correctly? Richter supports one developer for one building then wants the door slammed shut on anyone else until the Fort Langley OCP is revisited? OH I see, we will once again experience our well used flawed planning processes which will what Councilor Richter – make these building sizes commonplace! NOT! After spending 15 years on Council you offer this insult to residents of Fort Langley and the Township of Langley? What an absolute embarrassment! Kim Richter is showing her true stripes in spades!!!! Do you still believe in her repetitive attempts in getting you to believe in her sincere concern for your community? Just asking? The image is breaking down, reality is showing through!

Stay tuned, I have good reason to believe that there is much more to come.

Brookswood Fernridge Community Plan?

It was on my initiative, driven by many Brookswood Fernridge residents who expressed their interest in revisiting the Brookswood Fernridge Community Plan, that we had staff address this long standing thorn in the side of so many. The key reason behind their concern was the influx of speculators and developers who were buying up property, leaving homes boarded up and vacant, inhabited by drug dealers and more. It was expressed many times that they didn’t like what was happening and that it was very similar to what was happening up in Willoughby. They wanted protection from this happening in their community. That was the start and was the impetus for revisiting the Brookswood Fernridge Community Plan. Funding was an issue raised by staff and they were going to come back with a plan to achieve our needs.

For the record, NO, I did not know anything about ten land owner / developers forming a Corporation with $50K each into a $500,000 Planning fund. I obviously was not aware of this Developer based Advisory Board. I was also not aware that staff went back to their top down planning model of convenience to everyone but residents! As I have said in an earlier post, the first I had heard of this was the local media in recent weeks. This was a flagrant conflict of interest. For Mayor Froese to deny this conflict appeared or was real speaks volumes.

Here is my view of where we have been, where we are and what is possible!

  • Make no mistake about it, this Mayor, Jack Froese and this Council took an initiative and completely botched the plan and intent of the plan which was originally set by me to give this community ownership in the development of their Community Plan. By going back to the failed Township planning process that gives you the Willoughby problems they were on track for failure once again. By agreeing to an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) agreement with ten developers in the development of this plan they displayed a terrible case of bad judgment. Who are the developers? What is contained in the MOU?
  • After a series of well attended Open Houses, Council gives 1st and 2nd reading of the appropriate bylaws, went into a well contested Public Hearing over three nights and after an attempt by Charlie Fox to hold on through a referral motion which was defeated, the plan was rejected at 3rd reading 7 – 2. Mayor Froese and Councilor Ward, despite unprecedented opposition, still supported this disaster of a Community Plan.
  • Jack Froese advised this week of a “Notice of Motion” to be addressed at the April 7th Council Meeting by Councilor Long which involves holding onto the input of the planning process. My answer would be NO many times over. This is the definition of insanity, following the same failed planning process expecting a different result! It never ceases to amaze me.
  • The current Brookswood Fernridge Community Plan was adopted in 1987 showing a population growth over time to 35,000.
  • The proposed Brookswood Fernridge Community Plan that was just defeated called for a population growth to about 42,000.
  • The Metro Vancouver Regional Growth numbers are projections; they are estimates per community which makes up a global number for the Township. The RGS controls where town centers will be located and curbs urban sprawl which is good for every Municipality and/or City in the lower mainland. It does not preclude communities having a say in what they want for their specific community, which is what has been totally ignored to-date.
  • Community planning (OCPs) and neighborhood planning in the Township of Langley is in my opinion top down and fundamentally wrong. It is badly flawed. It is the smoke and mirrors system and method of planning. They hire planners and staff to look after their need. They hold, a one day planning charet inviting a number of residents to play with marking up maps giving them a sense that they are going to listen to what they want to see in their community. They feed everyone, thank them for their input, promise follow up and the next thing you see is an Open House with their view of what they claim they heard you say. Trust me, both do not equate. Their listening is very shallow.
  • They followed this process in Brookswood Fernridge, held a couple of Open Houses which were contentious but went forward to 1st and 2nd reading, Public Hearing and 3rd reading. They defeat 3rd reading despite a number of councilors expressed attempt, led by Charlie Fox, to put lipstick on a pig. It failed.
  • What is needed in the Township of Langley is a Community Based Planning Model consisting of an established Community Planning Committee made up of residents and retail business owners with non-voting members from School Board and Council. The Community Planning Committee would elect a chair from their number and would lead the initiative with an assigned professional facilitator / planning support from the Township. We introduced this into the Aldergrove Core Community Plan and was accepted by the community very well. For the most part you get what you ask for!

The Brookswood Fernridge Community Plan Going Forward?

The Brookswood Fernridge Community came together like never before to fight off what was being attempted to be done to them. Did you win? You won the battle but DID NOT win the war! There will now be an attempt by most members of this Council and staff to somehow resurrect the remnants of this failed enterprise for use within what will be suggested as a new process with new community dialogue. Don’t believe it for a second. It will be the same flawed process that created the situation you are in now. It is long past due to blow up the Planning of Convenience Model, used by this Council and staff of the Township of Langley and elect a new Council (except David Davis) who will bring in a NEW level of concern for our citizens.

Don’t be fooled; don’t buy what this Council and staff will be selling!

RG

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I am working on a few posts at present that I believe should be of significant concern and interest to residents of the Township of Langley.

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

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Comments
  1. Factpresenter says:

    I find it interesting that the developers of the Ft. Langley project sits on the cities Economic
    Development Committee along with Council Representatives.
    If council is a rep on a development committee, they should remove themselves
    from the vote…bordering on conflict of interest.

    I would say it is time to update and improve BC Community Charter.

    The same thing is happening in Abbotsford, where the developer and his representation
    via the Abbotsford Chamber are on the same Economic Development committee with council
    representation and it may be the same councillor, who is the council repres. on the Chamber of Commerce

    The general public does not have a hope in hell!

    • That is a big part of the joke that is Eric Woodward and Coulter Berry. Mr. Woodward is on about three municipal committees, President of the Fort Langley BIA (with undue influence due to his property holdings in my opinion) and is now a Director with the Langley Chamber of Commerce. Eric Woodward I believe was Chair of the Municipal Heritage Committee last year. What part of conflict of interest does Council not understand. It is completely out of control and only getting worse. With the next term being 4 years? The prospects are daunting!!!! RG

  2. Mackenzie says:

    Hi my family member! I wish to say that this post is amazing, great written and come
    with almost all vital infos. I would like to see extra posts like this .

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