Itâ€™s time to take a reflective pause and digest the events to date of the Brookswood Fernridge OCP process.
How does a small group of pro-development landowners garner the influence to kickstart a planning process that is so totally transforming to a unique, distinctive, and irreplaceable area in the first place?
Why has this entire process been so obliquely camouflaged, whether by holding back information or understating and steadily increasing levels of density, allowing said pro-development group to steer the planning process and benefit from regular update meetings with Township staff, or overlooking environmental impact and concerns.
Why is there no covenant protection in place in Langley for the area defining forests?
I had the opportunity to speak face to face with Mayor Jack Froese at the first open house, where I posed, â€œWhy is there no Township protection for the trees here in Brookswood?â€
His answer back was,â€ I donâ€™t want to tell people what they can or canâ€™t do with trees on their property.â€
Itâ€™s curious how we are one of the few communities in the Lower Mainland without any tree protection.
As development increases, both here and in adjoining communities, these last few treasured forested areas will become all the more important to us now and for future generations. The fact that there has been no appetite from mayor and council to enact any such protection is now proving out to be tragic, as numerous acres are and will continue to be mowed down.
And now the big issue. How is it that we bore witness to a council meeting that featured some awe-inspiring and impassioned speeches from some council members denouncing the 2014 Brookswood/Fernridge OCP, calling into question the scope, density, timing, process, lack of environmental protection, lack of adherence to guiding principles, and much in the way of comparison to Willoughby? This was characterized as â€œa high-density experiment on its way to going very wrong.â€
How is it that these same representatives all voted for the same OCP at first and second readings? Nothing changed.
Opposition has been engaged, informed, organized and substantial for some time. Letter-writers have been plentiful. Presentations at the public hearings showed just how informed, engaged, and organized the opposition is.
So, fellow residents, take your pause, but make it short. We have won a very small battle in postponing the Brookswood/Fernridge OCP. We have yet to go to war to ensure the 2014 version, as currently proposed, never sees the light of day.
Maintain vigilance and dedication. Township mayor and council have talked the talk. Do they have the fortitude to walk the walk?
I will be watching and listening closely, and come election time, they will see our response. We will need to decide who, if any, deserve our confidence and trust.
B. Cameron, Langley