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Brookswood plan opponents prepare for vote
People opposed to a controversial proposal to increase density in Langley’s Brookswood neighbourhood will be increasingly active in the days leading up to a Township council vote on the plan.
The day before the Monday night (March 31) council meeting at the 1,400-seat Langley Christian Life Assembly at 21277 56 Ave., opponents of the plan are preparing to hold a protest march and rally.
The Sunday event will start at Noel Booth Community Park at 36 Avenue and 202 Street at 12 p.m. People will march from there to Brookswood Park at 200 Street and 40 Avenue, arriving there by 1 p.m.
Organizers are asking people to bring signs and wear black ribbons to show their opposition to the plan — funded by a group of property owners — that would increase housing density around four locations in the semi-rural area.
Meanwhile, an online petition, “Don’t turn Brookswood/Fernridge into Willoughby South” had, as of Wednesday, gathered just more than 2,500 signatures.
An online blog, “Leave Brookswood Alone” posted a cartoon showing a caricature of Township Mayor Jack Froese serving up the heavily-wooded Brookswood area on a silver platter.
The blog also referenced the fight over the attempt to revive the Coulter Berry building project in Fort Langley, specifically the moment captured by an online video showing Councillor David Davis donning a sleeping bonnet and announcing “I’m ready for bed,” after the public hearing on the Fort Langley building went late.
A “Leave Brookswood Alone” graphic has an image of a sleeping bonnet and the message “Vote no! So we can all get some sleep …”
Irene McKaig, one of the people campaigning against the Brookswood plan, says for many residents, the Brookswood and Coulter Berry battles are the same fight, one over preservation of community character.
“It’s not just Brookswood,” McKaig told The Times.
McKaig believes momentum is building against both proposals. “It [the campaign] has taken on a life of its own,” McKaig said. A bulletin being circulated in Brookswood says the call to wear black ribbons was inspired by the green ribbon campaign against the Mufford Overpass, where opponents wore green to “help draw and focus attention upon the imminent destruction of prime farmland.”
The emailed message goes on to say that the proposed new community plan “will further destroy our history and rural essence and forever change the face of the communities in which we live.”
The Coulter Berry project will also be voted on at the Monday meeting, which is expected to draw a large turnout from both supporters and critics of the proposed three-storey building in downtown Fort Langley.
When B.C. Supreme Court Justice Joel Groves released his written reasons for halting work on the project in December, the Chilliwack judge said Township council was wrong to use a heritage alteration permit (HAP) to approve construction of the three-storey building that was bigger than the maximum size allowed in the heritage conservation area of downtown Fort Langley.
But the judge also wrote that council could legally change the zoning of downtown Fort Langley to approve bigger buildings like Coulter Berry “through the usual process of public hearings and public consultations.”