Fort Langley, the first capital of B.C., is recognized as a much-treasured historic site.
Fort Langley, in common parlance, is understood to refer to the stockade itself and the village that surrounds it.
Wikipedia presents Fort Langley well and concisely, and a quick read would bring you into full touch with this historic jewel within our Township.
A quick read of the local papers, however, would bring you in touch with the fact that our history is imminently threatened with destruction.
It is time for every person in the Township to take notice, sit up, stand up, and speak up.
What is not covered in the previously mentioned article is that, for decades, the tireless volunteers of the heritage society and their supporters have worked to preserve the integrity of the Fort Langley experience.
It is a fact that, in 2004, then mayor Kurt Alberts and councillors Howie Vickberg, Steve Ferguson, Kim Richter, and Bob Long moved to further strengthen the bylaws, strengthening the wording so that it was clear and unequivocal.
That these efforts were successful is recorded in the Wikipedia article, â€œMany new buildings in the area have been constructed in Fort Langley in the past few decades. All new buildings must follow strict style guidelines to match the heritage appearanceâ€¦ Additionally, there are no franchises permitted in the village, and this has raised its profile as a tourist and independent retail destination, with hundreds of thousands of annual visitors.â€
Now, here is the first why.
A development proposal was put forward by a developer to place a large, three-storey building on the corner of Glover Road and Mavis Avenue. Given that every other developer before him has read over the existing guidelines and either decided to conform and proceed, or move on, this one did not.
The second why has to leave every thinking person perplexed.
The previously mentioned mayor and council members who so vigorously moved to protect and preserve the village are now demonstrating complete support for the developer and have been joined by Councillors Grant Ward, Bev Dornan, and Michell Sparrow.
Councillor David Davis has been against the proposal from the beginning, and Bob Longâ€™s position is not clear.
The photographs in the local papers said it all, as white-helmeted council members and the current mayor, shovels in hand, promoted the developer and the development before it was ever issued a building permit.
The Township was taken to court and was subsequently presented with the judgeâ€™s ruling that the project could not legally continue.
Given this ruling, the Townshipâ€™s currently elected representatives have now decided to change the bylaws, the guidelines that have applied to everyone else, except this one developer.
At the marathon three-night public hearing, one woman, taking the pro-development position, asked why we were complaining about the three storeys: â€œgiven a few years, they will all be that high, so you wonâ€™t even notice.â€
I think that says it all, donâ€™t you?
I. McKaig, Langley