The proposed Fort Langley redevelopment proposal has approval ratings any politician would envy.
About three quarters of the feedback received on the various components of the Township’s proposed project were positive. The project involves a new Cultural Centre (to replace the Langley Centennial Museum), the Jacob Haldi
House restoration; work, live and lodge space; and Riverside Concepts (waterfront redevelopment including Bedford House).
More than 750 people attended an open house in February.
But Councillor Charlie Fox cautioned about assuming that because the community reaction was so positive, that the project goes ahead.
“In reality we have to get some funding envelopes in place,” he noted.
The Township must submit grant applications with various agencies, further consult with Kwantlen First Nation and talk with the development community to gauge interest. The Township’s agriculture, heritage, recreation and seniors committees have also reviewed the project and provided feedback.
Council members commented on the strong public interest in this project.
“What came through is how appreciative the community is to be working with First Nations,” commented Coun. Kim Richter.
She asked staff about including First Nations developers in the project and was told that Kwantlen’s Seyem’ Quantlen business group has been involved from the start and there are other options for inclusion as this project comes to fruition.
The survey found 87 per cent were in favour of the cultural centre and the same proportion in favour of the Kwantlen’s museum and the Langley Centennial Museum sharing the same facility. Just as many people think putting the library branch in the cultural centre is the way to go.
The results showed that 83 per cent of respondents were in favour of land sales to fund the project, that more than three quarters of people were in favour of including housing, and that more than three quarters liked the idea of housing to attract artists and athletes.
Just over 81 per cent of people said they liked the car share program component and more than three quarters of those who took the survey said they were in favour of indigenous-themed spaces to allow for overnight stays that would fund artist-in-residence programming.
The survey comment section summarized:
• Density, traffic congestion and parking – don’t want increase in density, want traffic calming,
less people, underground parking, more parking, parking east of town off River Road, less
cars and more bikes and pedestrians, improve transit services
• Walking and cycling – overpass, more public transit, suggestions of a shuttle, make more
walkable, maintenance of roads and sidewalks, easier walking from Walnut Grove (88 and 96
narrow dangerous shoulders), like the sitting and gathering spaces, pedestrian bridge much
needed and long overdue, too far away, limited use, unsightly wall
• Green initiatives and trees – tree bylaw, more park spaces, native plants
• Paddlers and the boat launch – accessibility concerns, upgrades, parking and turnaround
space for trailers, like the additional storage
• shops and services including a boutique hotel – concern that all new business are too high
end, more amenities, more kids play areas, fitness facility
• Affordable housing and condominiums above the museums – more affordable housing
needed, opportunities for seniors to stay in their community, prime land should not be used
for affordable housing, don’t like condos on top of the museum
• Heritage community character – restrict size of new houses
• First Nations – exciting to collaborate with FN, like the integrated approach
• Funding strategies – concerns that housing will be affordable, concerned about farm
museum, suggested lottery, 50/50 draw, concerned about density increase
• Library – plan looks small, make it bigger, need more library space, not enough info to judge