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Coulter Berry advocates try to deflect genuine concerns
Editor: How Misty VanPopta (The Times, Sept. 12) can insinuate the motives of Fort Langley Residents for Sustainable Development are of a personal nature against Eric Woodward is beyond me. I think it’s very dangerous to lump people into categories of “supporters” and “opponents,” as there are many sets of variables amongst each category.
Some of those who support this project frequently like to point out that there was no opposition to the Reid’s Garage development, and this must indicate that FLRSD must have based their opposition on “personal” issues with the developer. VanPopta and others accuse FLRSD of “cherry-picking” their opposition to this project.
If one is concerned with maintaining the form and scale of the community, and respecting the height bylaws, would one be more concerned with the Coulter Berry building, a three-storey building towering 14 feet over the permitted height, or Reid’s Garage, a building that Chris Laing from the Township of Langley described as “for all intents and purposes, a two-storey building.” Yes, technically Reid’s garage has an area for rooftop access (no “livable floor space”) which is considered an additional storey.
Is VanPopta saying that anyone who opposed Coulter Berry should have been equally upset about Reid’s Garage? Give me a break. Members of FLRSD volunteered hundreds of hours, trying to persuade council to follow the guidelines when it came to Coulter Berry.
Did she expect the same level of enthusiasm a few short months later, after the way our elected representatives dishonoured our community by ignoring Township bylaws? That aside, Reid’s Garage is dwarfed by the sheer mass of Coulter Berry. There is no comparison.
Woodward has been quoted in The Times on more than one occasion, stating that this lawsuit was launched to prevent competition for Wendel’s Bookstore in Fort Langley. There is nothing in the legal documents stating opposition to additional restaurants. Even if this lawsuit is successful, a new proposal that followed the bylaws would almost surely contain more restaurants.
It’s an interesting tactic — trying to deflect the real issues of why so many are opposed to Coulter Berry and making it seem like those involved in the lawsuit (only one of whom has any financial connection to Wendel’s) are against competition.
Launching legal arguments is expensive, time-consuming and emotionally draining. Reid’s Garage does not threaten the scale or ambiance of the village. Coulter Berry does. This group is focusing on the real threat to the scale and character of Fort Langley. I applaud them for stepping up to the plate, and putting real money on the line.
I didn’t sign the initial petition, but after doing some research, they have my support.
Carl Van Der Hoek,