Editorial — Brookswood plan concerns heard by council

Langley Township council, by majority vote, showed that it listened to concerns raised by a broad spectrum of residents and property owners in Brookswood and Fernridge.

It was obvious, as far back as an overcrowded open house at Fernridge Hall, that there would be pushback on the proposed Brookswood/Fernridge Official Community Plan. The proposed densities, small lots, lack of apparent interest in Brookswood’s unique trees and aquifer, and unanswered questions about the future of parks and salmon streams were not popular with the vast majority of residents who took the time to find out  about the plan.

Concerns were again expressed at another open house at Brookswood Secondary. They really boiled over at a three-night public hearing on the plan — something the Township was completely unprepared for. The hearing had to be moved to George Preston Recreation Centre, because of the level of interest.

Questions about the involvement of a private corporation, Griffith Neighbourhood Advisory Corporation, in advancing $500,000 for preparation of the plan also concerned many residents. The Township must now demonstrate to residents’ satisfaction that planning is done under Township direction, and using accepted planning principles. There should be no repeat of this approach, as it raises serious concerns about planning being done to benefit those property owners who have paid for it.

As several members of council indicated, this does not mean there won’t be planning done for the future development of the area. There will be. The comments of residents during this process will be considered, but planning will continue.

However, the defeat of the proposed plan at third reading is a victory for all those who spoke up. Hopefully, every single one of them will continue to take an interest in Township affairs and vote in this November’s election.

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