Brookswood and Fernridge may go their separate ways as the Langley Township voted in favour of a plan that could split the neighbourhood in two.
On Monday afternoon, council voted to look at splitting the area designated as Brookswood-Fernridge.
“As we’ve heard, there is no clear line between Brookswood and Fernridge,” said Mayor Jack Froese as he proposed the idea.
The new plan is an attempt to start fresh after the massive community uproar sparked by the last attempt at creating a new Brookswood-Fernridge Official Community Plan.
Pressure for development had largely come from the owners of larger properties in Fernridge, while Brookswood residents resisted adding density and feared the loss of trees and of their quiet suburban neighbourhoods.
That plan was defeated and the council voted to essentially start over, using the comments and information gathered as a base. The Township also spent a year working on a new engagement process to communicate with residents.
Council has asked Township staff to come back with a report and map of the divided Brookswood and Fernridge at a future meeting. The area hasn’t yet been formally divided and no boundaries are set in stone.
The new plan will essentially leave the developed areas of Brookswood alone while the Township concentrates on updating development plans for the southern parts of the community.
Brookswood is the northern part of the area, reaching roughly from the Langley City border in the north down to around 33A or 36th Avenue in the south. Fernridge runs down as far as 20th or 16th Avenue.
The main dividing line between the two areas is the level of development. Brookswood is mostly lots of about one-quarter acre, while Fernridge is mainly acreages and some hobby farms.
Splitting the areas makes sense, Froese said.
“That really is where the planning needs to take place, anyway,” he said of Fernridge.
Some of the people who were active in opposing the last OCP are not happy with the plan.
“I think it’s an overly simplistic move,” said Jackie Mandzak, a former council candidate from Brookswood.
“It’s not fair to both sides,” said Ken Grainger, who said he believed many residents will object to the split.
Several landowners in the Fernridge area were open to the idea, however. A group of them spoke to Township council Monday.
“This area has been designated for urban uses for almost half a century,” said Cameron Gair of Solo Project Management. He represented a number of landowners during the last OCP process.
The rough plan council endorsed going forward is dubbed Option Two by Township planners.
It would be an update to the current plan, but would not increase density as sharply as the plan which failed in 2014.
There would be fewer condos and townhouses and more areas designated for 10,000 square foot lots.
The downside is that this would create a neighbourhood that would not be able to rely on transit service, and it would not pay for as many community amendments through development.
The update is expected to take 12 to 18 months and cost about $150,000.