Letter: Coulter Berry Building adds to Fort Langley atmosphere

Dear Editor,

Ms. Blackhall states in her letter of December 16th that Fort Langley is not a commercial center.

It should be pointed out however,that the oft mentioned Fort Langley official community plan states,”The Fort Langley commercial core focuses on Glover Road between St. Andrew’s Street and the bridge across Bedford Channel. It is intended that this commercial core be a compact, pedestrian-oriented shopping area.”

This stretch of Glover Road has always been commercial, and the buildings presently there ( with the exception of the community hall) hold no historical significance. Visitors to Fort Langley strolling the shops of Glover road on a summers day do not do so to get a history lesson, they come here because the village atmosphere and uniqueness of our main street are funky and cool.

Many of the arguments about or heritage and history are also nicely critiqued by Kwantlen First Nations resident Brandon Gabriel whose viewpoints, are of course, correct.

When I first saw the drawing plans for the Coulter berry Building  on the eve of the open house, I had no idea that there would be any controversy. I just looked at them as was so impressed by the features and planning that you just do not see in a typical metro Vancouver development (I am in construction management). My initial thought was, what a great gift to the town of Fort Langley that someone  would be willing to take the risk to build this gem in our little town!

Then came the objections. It will overshadow the community hall.

I recently went to the top floor of the community hall for an event, when you look out the windows to the north what you discover is that you cannot even see the corner of Glover and Mavis from there because there are huge trees blocking the site lines and it is too far away!

One building does not affect the other! Objections to the size and height are made, when you study the drawing carefully what stands out, is that the design is such that once it is completed , with the breezeways and two level restaurant, it will seem like more than one building, as opposed to one large structure. As for the three storeys, there are all ready several three-storey buildings in Fort Langley and there have always been. The new building behind lees also has a heritage alternation permit to accommodate its construction despite what Ms Blackhall and others have wrote.

I have been looking in my travels of late, to try and find a building anywhere in Metro Vancouver that matches the design and style of the Coulter Berry Building and I cannot. This building can only add to the unique and cool atmosphere of the town and its commercial core, which is why it was so warmly embraced at the open house and was endorsed by the Fort Langley Community Association in June of 2012. It will only make the strip and the town more vibrant and active.

In light of the ruling by the BC Supreme Court, I hope Mr. Woodward applies for rezoning at his earliest convenience, and that the mayor and council do the right thing when it comes to a vote so the project can proceed without further delay. The town needs the corner of Glover and Mavis to be once again occupied by a cornerstone building.

Jamie Clark, Fort Langley

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