Fort Langley resident Jonathan Meads has many questions about a pair of proposed landscaping designs for the Fort Langley Community Hall. Troy Landreville Langley Times

Letter: Questions abound about Fort Langley hall landscape proposals

Editor: I have lived in Fort Langley for the last eight years and been involved in Fort Langley for 14 years. I moved here because of the feel of the village. The modernization of this space is yet another step away from the character that attracts people to Fort Langley.

I am writing to express my disappointment in the designs proposed for the Community Hall.

To start, the plan does not address or consider the current users of the space. The gently sloping land permits everything from car shows to weddings to use the space.

For example, the spring classic car show would not be able to reside here in future.

Where would the Cranberry Festival stage go? With the orientation it would be difficult for everyone to be able to face a band — and the proposed tree would get in the way.

How would outdoor weddings be laid out? When you are at a wedding you want people to be facing the hall and not Glover Road, but the location of the steps, etc. in both designs now lends the orientation of a wedding ceremony to be either in a north-south (counter-intuitive) or street-facing direction.

How does option A allow for the annual Christmas Tree?

How will you stop skateboarders etc. from abusing the concrete walls and grades?

Where are the flag poles going?

What about tourism? Whilst the existing tourist booth is not exactly appealing, it seems to have been forgotten.

Neither proposal is in keeping with the heritage nature of the space, the architecture of the building or of the community. The recessed and sweeping curved benches are very modern in design, the age of the building should incorporate a design that compliments it.

I appreciate that landscape architects are trying to “challenge” our thinking around design, but a truly exceptional designer should also be able to recognize and demonstrate restraint and respect when necessary.

I am completely lost on how either design considers or reflects the Kwantlen First Nations and their tolerance and acceptance of our inhabiting their land.

The tree placement in Option A will detract from the existing site lines to the community hall when standing on Glover and any attempt at a “balanced” photograph of the front elevation will be lost due to the uneven placement of trees.

Both options feature a “grand staircase,” but I am lost on how wheelchair users are treated equally when they cannot access what must be the grand entrance. We are compliant right now with the gently sloping approach.

The bench designs will not be acceptable in the format shown, when a final design is implemented, as they feature no arms – a prerequisite for meeting ADA requirements – so that those of reduced mobility have assistance with standing or sitting.

For those with a visual impairment, the different materials are very uniform in colour, making distinguishing steps etc. very difficult. I fear some of the subtlety of the textures will be lost in implementation.

The current front lawn is quite sustainable. The grass can go golden in summer, the minimal planting means little water consumption (which is what the Township must demonstrate everywhere) and the semi-circular path is made of a permeable material, reducing storm water run-off and increasing infiltration.

The details of the proposals are not clear but will require irrigation (even if only initially) to ensure soft landscaping becomes established.

What of the surface materials for the hard landscaping? Will they be permeable? And if not, where will the water go? Are we now building in drainage, too?

The large amounts of concrete for retaining walls adds to our global emissions (concrete production is one of the two largest emitters of CO2). Concrete and the materials created from it also add to the “urban heat island” effect.

What of the existing hardscaping materials? How will they be re-used or re-cycled?

What about plants – will they be indigenous? Or drought tolerant?

From a social sustainable perspective, I am really saddened to see no reflection of the First Nations heritage of the area. Don’t you think a First Nations sculpture has significance to our past and future?

With all of our current challenges (including huge property tax increases) this seems like an unnecessary waste of money. I do not hear the community calling for the change so why the waste? Put the money to better use elsewhere. If this spending is meant to be an improved community benefit, don’t you think it should reflect the community?

Jonathan Meads,

Fort Langley