Editorial — Brookswood concerns catch council by surprise

Langley Township council was clearly caught by surprise when  400 people showed up Monday for a public hearing on the revised Brookswood-Fernridge community plan.

Yet there were a number of signs of brewing discontent with this plan. An open house at Fernridge Hall attracted a crowd that was too much for the building, and almost had to be postponed. Another open house was then scheduled at Brookswood Secondary, and it attracted more than 500 people, the highest number to ever attend an open house sponsored by the Township.

It isn’t surprising that many people showed up to speak on the plan at the formal public hearing. Nor is it surprising that many more want to hear what the speakers, and members of council, have to say.

A second session for the public hearing took place Tuesday at George Preston Recreation Centre, and that isn’t the end of it. The hearing was scheduled to continue on Wednesday night. As of Tuesday night, more than 60 people had spoken.

Langley Township council needs to listen carefully to the concerns raised by people about the plan. While there is no question that development will come to the area eventually, perhaps this plan calls for too much density in some areas. And there is no doubt that many current residents of the area want to preserve larger lots and the mature evergreen trees which are a hallmark of that part of South Langley.

The involvement of a private corporation in advancing the plan’s timetable is also questionable, and suggests developers can use money to get the plans they want.

Council must attempt to balance many competing ideas about the future of Brookswood and Fernridge.

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