Letter: Resident questions Langley Township’s decision to divide Brookswood and Fernridge

Dear Editor,

With reference to your redrawing of the map of Brookswood and Fernridge, I respectfully think that you have it all wrong. Brookswood residents aren’t against development, they are against irresponsible development.

Your own website states the following from an AECOM Integrated Storm-water Management Plan (ISMP): “The Fernridge area is bound by 196 Street (municipal boundary) to the west and 208 Avenue to the east, and roughly 8 Avenue to the south and 28 Avenue to the north. The total land area in the Fernridge catchment is approximately 506 hectares.”

I have lived at the corner of 200th Street and 36th Avenue for over 40 years and never once did I think that I was across the street from Fernridge. Everyone knows that Fernridge is at least 8 blocks south of here. Everyone, except perhaps Township staff and council.

You have a chance to get the development in this area right but you only have one chance. The Willoughby area should be a prime example of how not to proceed in the Brookswood / Fernridge area. There are residents who love where they live in Willoughby and there are residents who absolutely hate it; there are also residents in this area of the southern part of Langley, Brookswood / Fernridge who love where they live. I have not met any who hate it.

If new people moving into Langley want to live in a high densely populated area, they have many choices north of the Langley Bypass. And it could be the same for people moving into the Langley area looking for a bit bigger yard for their children to play in, a bigger area to have a garden, look no further than the Brookswood / Fernridge area. You can purchase a quarter acre lot or perhaps a bit bigger, unless this latest push for development is passed and then it really won’t matter where you choose to live, it will all look the same. There will be townhouses built next to apartment blocks, small lots with houses filling the majority of the lot and no place for your kids to play (unless you want to walk or drive with them to the park), and no place for you to park your vehicle, don’t even consider having more than one car in your family.

Why does this area need high density housing? We are surrounded by it!  There are already more choices than enough! Where does one have to go to purchase a larger than 6,000 square foot lot to build on? Chilliwack?  Where are you going to set aside areas for small farms? This is the horse capital of British Columbia but you are pushing out horse owners by proposing to subdivide their small acreages.

Are you at all concerned about the Brookswood Aquifer and the residents whose wells are fed by the aquifer? It won’t be able to regenerate itself through asphalt.

Council has a chance to develop this area right but you only have one chance.

Why not go with the quarter acre lots currently in place and gradually make the lot sizes bigger as they get closer to 16th Avenue? And, do we need another town centre at 32nd Avenue when we have two in the area already? The Fernridge town centre could be enlarged thereby showing some loyalty to the businesses who have been in the area for a long time.

“If you build it, they will come” works for both scenarios. If you were to make a model of the area, catering to people who want a bit larger area for their kids to grow up and those who would like to still be able to have a couple of horses at their home rather than board them away thereby requiring them to drive in order to ride, I feel very confident that you would be able to fill the area and still have a room for an aquifer to flourish, for creeks to run, for salmon to spawn, for beaver to live where they have for a very long time, for deer to live and not have to continuously be relocating as we encroach on their space, and home for other wildlife species that we share this great part of Langley with.

I urge you all to once again to consider what you are doing to this area of South Langley, be responsible in your decisions and remember that residents should come first before developers, especially those who do not even live in the area. Remember what you said when the previous push for an OCP was voted down. And remember that public engagement will go along way to making your residents stand behind your decisions. Trying to redraw the map of the area and split up Brookswood / Fernridge does not instill confidence of residents in the council.

Bev Allen, 36th Avenue

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