Letter: Coulter Berry saga misunderstood

Dear Editor,

Your latest coverage on the Coulter Berry saga [Three nights of furor over Fort site, March 13, Langley Advance] was disappointing in its lack of any insight into the more profound issues underlying the community dispute.

The underlying issues are not the format or appearance of the building or the speculated benefits (or otherwise) to Fort Langley. Everyone is entitled to their opinion on those.

The real issue is the proposed amendment and change to the Official Community Plan and Heritage Guidelines, and why those amendments should be considered by council.

Despite the mayor’s exhortation to speakers at the public hearing to focus on the agenda topic, “should the OCP and HG be amended to permit this development,” most of the supporters of the project chose to reiterate what would be built and who would build it.

The message was similar: the building was unique, LEED certified, attractive, and so on.

These may well be so, but are of little value in explaining exactly why the existing restrictions and guidelines should be amended. I have yet to hear a coherent argument as to why, other than the obvious one: that it serves the need of the developer.

That’s not an adequate answer, and council cannot be fooled into thinking it is.

It’s a circular argument, and reminiscent of the Monty Python “I have a theory, which is mine and belongs to me” skit:

“I’d like you to relax the restrictions so I can build my building.”

“Yes, but why do you want us to relax the restrictions?”

“So I can build my building.”

“Yes, but why do you want us to relax the restrictions?”

“So I can build my building, it’s a very nice building.”

“ Yes, but why…” etc.

(repeat, ad nauseum)

Absent an answer to the question of why, the only rational conclusion one can draw is that there is no defensible reason to amend the OCP and HG.

Dr. Alister Frayne, Langley

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