After 16 months of consultation, the draft Brookswood Fernridge Community Plan is being sent to public hearing.
The updated plan, which outlines how the 3,500-acre portion of southern Langley will grow in the next 25 years, passed first and second reading in a 7-1 vote by Township council Monday night (Coun. Michelle Sparrow was absent).
The community plan includes a range of housing — with 91 per cent single family, six per cent multi-family and mixed use, and three per cent manufactured home parks — along with a tree protection bylaw, seven new schools, 100 acres of additional park space and 50 km of new trails and greenways.
By 2042, an estimated 39,000 residents will call Brookswood-Fernridge home.
Both Councillors Kim Richter and Petrina Arnason wanted to send the draft plan back for public consultation before the public hearing — a deferral that failed with only Richter, Arnason and David Davis in favour.
Richter, who later cast the lone vote against first and second reading, was particularly concerned that the plan did not make clear that zone 3 housing is intended to have 4,000 square-foot lots, only if clustering is done to save large stands of trees. She also was concerned with the location of the commercial and high density area at 32 Avenue and 200 Street, with how the development will be phased out, and with the language in some of the policies, calling it “way too soft,” with “too many ‘shoulds’ and not enough ‘shalls.’”
“I think the public has invested as much time and energy into this draft plan as our staff have, and I think they deserve one last look at this with an opportunity to pick and choose the pieces that they’d like to see in the final configuration,” she said.
Arnason shared similar sentiments, and was hoping to see more included on energy conservation, such as infrastructure for electric vehicles.
“I think that if we are creating a community that’s going to serve us well for the next 40 or 50 years, we really need to do our due diligence to make sure that we get it right,” she said.
“I am happy that there is a tree bylaw that is included here, and I’m hoping that it will be something that will be very much embraced by the community.”
Coun. Bob Long, however, said the “ultimate test” would be to send the plan to public hearing. The rest of council agreed.
“It’s, I think, the most significant opportunity for input that we’ve had on probably anything in the history of the Township and kudos to staff for the great work,” Coun. Blair Whitmarsh said.
“In fact, I’ve heard from many people that they were so happy that when they went to these open houses, and they expressed their concerns or ideas that they had, that when they showed up the next time at the open house, lo and behold, their ideas were actually in the plan.
“So staff was listening. And it doesn’t mean that it’s the plan that every single person here would necessarily write up, but it is a plan that’s great for our community and meets a significant number of the needs that we had in our community.”
Whitmarsh noted that the community plan provides a guideline for how neighbourhood plans will be developed, and that the language is purposely vague to allow for flexibility and creativity. He also said the majority of the plan accounts for 7,000 square-foot lots, with the ability, in some areas, to include 4,000 square-foot lots to allow for the clustering of trees, and for transitioning from commercial/high density areas to the large lot areas.
Richter, Angie Quaale and Charlie Fox all urged the public to come out and voice their opinions during the public hearing, which will be held on Tuesday, June 27 at 6 p.m. in the Fraser River Presentation Theatre at the Township Civic Facility, 20338 65 Ave. Written submissions are also welcome, for those who cannot make the meeting or wish not to speak.