Bigger-than-expected turnout postpones Brookswood plan public hearing
Less than an hour after it began, the first public hearing on the controversial new Brookswood/Fernridge community plan was called off because of a larger-than-expected crowd that overflowed Langley Township council chambers Monday night (Mar. 3).
The event was moved to the George Preston arena at 20699 - 42 Ave where it will resume on Tuesday (Mar. 4) at 7 p.m.
It appeared nearly 400 people tried to squeeze into a council audience space designed for half that number.
It was standing room only, with many in the foyer outside the chambers unable to hear the proceedings because a video and audio feed wasn't working properly.
Their frustration was evident, with several complaining they couldn't hear the speakers.
Mayor Jack Froese announced the decision after taking a brief recess.
"The room is way too full, we're above fire code [safe occupancy limits] and I'm concerned about people's safety," Froese said.
The truncated hearing did hear from a representative of the company that paid for the overhaul of the community plan that would, if approved, increase housing density in the Brooks/Fernridge area.
Cameron Gair, president of the Griffith Neighborhood Advisory Corporation, said there were 10 shareholders in the business, all of them "long-term" land owners.
Gair defended the proposal to increase density, saying "it [the plan] has less units per acre than Murrayville."
An opponent of the plan who only gave her name as Anna R. for "personal security reasons" said Brookswood residents don't want multi-family dwellings.
"There are plenty of townhouses and row houses to choose from elsewhere," she said.
BELOW: Mayor Jack Froese gets on the phone during a recess called to decide how to handle the overflow crowd who filled Township council chambers on Monday (Mar. 3) for the first public hearing on the Brookswood/Fernridge community plan. Following the break, council voted to relocate the hearing to George Preston the next night.
Dan Ferguson/Langley Times