Letter: Brookswood-Fernridge planning process all wrong from the start

Dear Editor,

As the Third Reading of the Brookswood/Fernridge Community Plan quickly approaches, it’s time to start asking some hard questions.

The first question has to be, “How is it that a group of 10 people can form a corporation and then decide the fate of an entire community?”

It’s common knowledge that the Griffiths Neighbourhood Advisory Corporation (GNAC) fronted $500,000 to the Township of Langley in order to have a new community plan drawn up.

It also appears that it is common practice for our Township to accept money from a group of anonymous persons (i.e. GNAC).

The fact that the persons involved with this corporation are able to safely hide behind its name is appalling.  

The fact that the Township has no issue with listening to the needs of a very small group of people, who by likely stand to make millions, over the needs of the thousands who live in the area is even more appalling.  

One would think that, with any corporation dealing with the Township, as well as when the Township purports to be working in the ‘best interests’ of its residents, that transparency would be key.

Right from the start, this process of creating a community plan has been about as opaque as they come.

While smiling and “listening” to the input of the citizens they are supposed to be working for, it appears that the mayor and council and their planning department have simply been doing their own thing with the guidance of GNAC.  

Does it not matter that record numbers of concerned residents turned out to the public hearing to express themselves?

Does it not matter that more than 70per cent were strongly opposed to this plan and the way in which it was created?

Does it not matter that a good portion of the remaining 30 per cent had some reservations about the plan, even if they agreed with parts of it?

Does it not matter that there are no environmental impact studies produced to say that the sensitive aquifer, the salmon-bearing creeks, and the natural habitat will be able sustain this planned growth?

(I’m guessing that part didn’t fall into line with the plan, so it was forgotten, much like a law to protect the trees that are currently being clear-cut all over the community.)

If there is ever to be a sustainable community plan that allows for controlled, rational growth in Brookswood/Fernridge, all stakeholders must be involved in the process, not just those who stand to make a fast dollar (or rather millions of dollars).

The residents, local businesses, Langley School District, Fraser Health, Ministry of the Environment, and more must be included.

There is no other way to create a vision that addresses the majority of interests. Why isn’t it being done?

Mayor and council must vote no, and start this process over – the right way.

Jacqueline Mandzak, Brookswood

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