I have lived in Fort Langley for the last eight years and been involved in Fort Langley for 14 years. I moved here because of the feel of the village. The modernization of this space is yet another step away from the character that attracts people to Fort Langley.
I was not able to attend the open house and so I am now providing my comments.
I am writing to express my disappointment in the designs you have proposed for the community hall.
To start the actual designer is clearly not a local. The plan does not address or consider the current users of the space, the flat gently sloping land permits everything from car shows to weddings to use the space. For example:
The spring classic car show would not be able to reside here in future.
Where would the Cranberry Festival stage go (with the orientation it would be difficult for everyone to be able to face a band – and the proposed tree would get in the way!)?
How would outdoor weddings be laid out (the current format is logical and orderly – offering passersby the ability to avoid the wedding whilst accessing the library)? When you are at a wedding you want people to be facing the hall and not Glover Road – but the location of the steps etc in both designs now lends the orientation of a wedding ceremony to be either in a north-south (counter-intuitive) or street facing direction – how many brides want their families and friends staring at them with cars passing in the background?
How does option A allow for the annual Christmas Tree?
How will you stop skateboarders etc from abusing the concrete walls and grades?
Where are the flag poles going? They are a marker – and an ability to represent who we are… the Township, the province, the country.
What about tourism? Whilst the existing tourist booth is not exactly appealing, it seems to have been forgotten.
Heritage: neither proposal is in keeping with the heritage nature of the space, the architecture of the building nor of the community. The recessed and sweeping curved benches are very modern in design, the age of the building should incorporate a design that compliments it. I appreciate that landscape architects are trying to “challenge” our thinking around design, but a truly exceptional designer should also be able to recognize and demonstrate restraint and respect when necessary.
I am completely lost on how neither design considers or reflects the Kwantlen First Nations and their tolerance and acceptance of our inhabiting their land.
The tree placement in Option A will detract from the existing site lines to the community hall when standing on Glover and any attempt at a “balanced” photograph of the front elevation will be lost due to the uneven placement of trees.
Accessibility issues have clearly been forgotten.
Both options feature a “Grand Staircase” – but I am lost on how wheelchair users are treated equally when they cannot access what must be the Grand Entrance? Remember we are compliant right now with the gently sloping approach.
The bench designs will not be acceptable in the format shown, when a final design is implemented, as they feature no arms so that those of reduced mobility have assistance with standing or sitting.
Contrast – for those with a visual impairment the different materials are very uniform in colour palette, making distinguishing steps, etc. very difficult. I fear some of the subtlety of the textures will be lost in implementation.
Sustainability – oh dear. The current front lawn is really quite sustainable. The grass can go golden in summer, the minimal planting means little water consumption (which is what the Township must demonstrate everywhere) and the semi-circular path is made of a permeable material, reducing storm water run-off (and the direct demands on our infrastructure) and increasing infiltration.
The details of the proposals are not clear but will require irrigation (even if only initially) to ensure soft landscaping becomes established.
What of the surface materials for the hard landscaping? Will they be permeable? And if not where will the water go? Are we now building in drainage, too?
The large amounts of concrete for retaining walls adds to our global emissions (concrete production is one of the two largest emitters of CO2). Concrete and the materials created from it (such as pavers) also adds to the “urban heat island effect.
What of the existing hardscaping materials? How will they be re-used or recycled?
What about plants – will they be indigenous? Or drought tolerant?
From a social sustainable perspective (as with the heritage piece) I am really saddened to see no reflection of the First Nations heritage of the area. Don’t you think a first nations sculpture has significance to our past and future?
Finances – with all of our current challenges (including huge property tax increases) this seems like an unnecessary waste of money. I do not hear the community calling for the change so why the waste – put the money to better use elsewhere.
If this spending is meant to be an improved community benefit, don’t you think it should reflect the community in which it is located (think seniors, families, First Nations and tourists)?
I fear the decision about which plan you wish to pursue has already been taken… the lesser of the two evils (Option 2) was clearly presented with such a radical alternative that you would have entered into the public engagement knowing which would be favoured. Instead of only asking if you preferred Option 1 or 2, you should have also asked if you would like something else or to retain the existing plan (my preference).
I pray you will take time to consider community member comments and reconsider the design before expending huge amounts of money and causing even further disruption to Glover Road. I may sound like some old person set in their ways but I am not. I am a family man who is keen to preserve some heritage of different ages for our future generations – and I am not the only person my age (in the community) that feels this way.
Please add me to your mailing list.
Jonathan Meads, Fort Langley