Re: Fort Langley community hall plaza redevelopment [Fort hall designs draw hundres of comments, Aug. 24, Langley Advance].
In the 41 years that Bays Blackhall and I served on the community hall committee, the question of re-developing the plaza never arose.
Our meetings revolved around the maintenance and booking of this remarkable two-storey piece of architecture.
Conceived by the ladies of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire, the hall opened its doors to village events in 1932.
These events ranged from celebrations of villagers being “hatched, matched, and snatched” to important matters of civic concern.
The hall is flanked on either side by the now stately maple trees planted to commemorate those men and women from the First World War who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Completing this tableau, the lawn gently sloping upwards towards the hall entrance is a carpet of emerald green grass and complimentary shrubs. This unity of lawn with the natural accents of tress and shrubs illustrates the structural majesty of the hall.
This gentle design of natural beauty allows for the intended purpose to be realized, which is allowing the great hall to be the main focal point in the setting.
The triumvirate of grass, trees, shrubs, and hall offers this village many advantages of a practical and financial nature. The list is long, but to mention a few; the movie industry loves this site, Christmas carols around the big tree, antique car exhibits, outdoor and indoor weddings with photo opportunities on the lawn. For many years, local villagers enjoyed playing crochet. The list is endless.
Could may if any of the aforementioned events take place in or on the concrete jungle proposed by the present hall committee? Few, if any stately homes or halls area complimented by pavement.
Like it or not, our village has and will continue to experience an ongoing gentrification process, thus giving credence to the hall’s complex as a veritable green oasis.
Members of the hall committee and new local villagers should be trying to preserve, not delineate, those vestiges of our past that spell out its history. They might well learn something from Joni Mitchell [an American folk singer, songwriter and painter] in her song Big Yellow Taxi, with the words “paved paradise and put in a parking lot.”
Even more, a listen to [American folk singer and social activist] Pete Seeger’s famous album God Bless The Grass.”
Bob Blackhall, Fort Langley