UPDATED: Brookswood battles over future development

Members of the community turned out for a hearing on the new proposed OCP.

Hundreds of people turned out for Langley Township’s public hearing on a new Brookswood-Fernridge community plan Tuesday evening.

Residents had a number of comments, with some landowners asking for their area to be developed soon, while others oppose much of the plan.

“I don’t want apartments built,” said Diane Todosychuk.

“There’s too much density,” she added.

Density was a recurring theme through the evening, along with concerns about protection of trees and green space, and the Brookswood aquifer.

“People want to remain with larger lots and larger sizes,” said Darren Ramdour.

“I think 10,000 square feet would be the right size,” he said.

However, developers have already started building in the area under existing community plan rules, which allow for 7,000 square foot lots.

One of the major complaints by those opposed to the new community plan was the provision for 4,000 square foot lots, which could be allowed if the developer also agreed to preserve tree-covered parts of developable lots.

“One of my biggest concerns is the planned 4,000 square foot lots,” said Brian Cameron.

Like many of the speakers, he compared the plan for plans for Willoughby.

“There is extreme overcrowding in Willoughby,” Cameron said.

Glen Beauchamp of Cedar Creek, however, suggesed that other Brookswood residents should take a look at the manufactured home parks before they judge lot sizes.

“My lot is 3,500 square feet,” Beauchamp said. He has three apple trees, grape fines, a fig tree, and a shop on his lot.

Others like Evelyn Faulkner, said development should have started years ago. She brought a petition from residents in the north-east corner of the neighbourhood in favour of the plan.

A number of residents from the Cedar Creek Estates manufactured home park want to make sure their homes are protected from being designated for multi-family housing.

They worry that Cedar Creek is identified in the plan as possibly becoming multi-family housing in the future.

The residents there own their homes, but rent their pads, unlike the situation in some other mobile home parks in the area, which are owned as strata by their residents.

Karen Jarvie noted that their homes are manufactured, but they aren’t that mobile.

“These are our retirement homes,” she said.

If the area is redesignated, Jarvie and others worried they will lose their homes. They won’t be able to move them, and they will lose the equity in the structures.

“Where do you expect us to go?” Jarvie asked.

The first attempt to create a new Brookswood OCP, in 2014, was voted down. It was highly unpopular among many residents of Brookswood, though it also had a number of defenders.

The new plan has shifted emphasis and increased the percentage of single-family lots compared to townhouses and condos. Condominium height would be capped at four stories, compared to six stories in Willoughby. New commercial hubs surrounded by higher-density housing would be allowed at several major intersections in the Fernridge area.

The plan largely leaves the existing Brookswood neighbourhood, with its quarter acre lots, completely alone.

After the first version failed, councillors voted to start the process almost from scratch, with greater public input.

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