Little has changed with Coulter Berry version 2.0
Editor: I read the most recent article in The Times (Jan. 23) about the newest Coulter Berry version. When I look at that building, I see the exact same large three-storey building, dwarfing any other building around it and suddenly changing Fort Langley from the small heritage town it has managed to hold onto all these years to something completely different. That was true of the original proposal, version 1.0.
I was disappointed that the words of many have not had any real effect on the original plans of the developer. I appreciate his attempt to make it look more heritage-like, but it’s not the look so much as the breaking of rules or guidelines.
I’ve loved Fort Langley since I moved to B.C. from Saskatchewan over 20 years ago, because it reminded me of the small town atmosphere I had grown up in. I hope to be able to still enjoy that atmosphere for many years to come. Bigger is not always better.
I take great exception to Eric Woodward making comments like “The ‘Heritage Hole’ created by the lawsuit of a few to stop an approved project, etc.” The lawsuit did not create that hole. The developer created that hole when he bought that property, after buying many other properties in Fort Langley. He knew full well what the bylaws were for protecting the Heritage Conservation Area. He gambled that he could get council to approve large-scale variances to overcome the bylaws in place which are there to ensure that growth and development in Fort Langley is kept within the character and size of the town.
The hole was created by council giving an illegal variance, which was necessary to approve such an out-of-place development. More than a month after a lawsuit was filed against the Township, Woodward had the ground-breaking ceremony and started to dig his giant hole. Once you see the timeline of how this all occurred, it becomes a bit clearer. The facts he states are more his version than the actual facts of what happened and when. He knew full well about the lawsuit before he began digging and construction.
There is as reason Fort Langley is so highly coveted by developers and landowners. It is because of what it is today. This developer does not just want in on the action, but in fact seems to want to recreate it all into something else, thinking he can make it even bigger and better and even more profitable.
Other builders are able to build within the guidelines of a two-storey building like the Reid Building, just behind the Coulter Berry construction site and the IGA.
Woodward also contends that stopping construction of the building, which was stopped by the courts because of increased density compared to the area around it, has hurt Fort Langley’s merchants.
I am in Fort Langley very often — visiting, shopping, having coffee and enjoying the atmosphere. Each time I could not even get into the coffee shop across the street without a wait, as it is so busy. Cars are parked up and down the street. The 1950s restaurant’s booths are always full of happy, paying customers. I remember Fort Langley from 20 years ago. Today, it is even busier.
Anyone who walks into downtown Fort Langley can see how thriving it is. We can see what is happening.
and it’s a bit insulting that you might think you can convince us otherwise just because you say it is so.
As you say yourself Eric, it’s a special place and that Glover Road you enjoyed riding up and down on as a teenager will be forever changed from the village road it once was by the very nature of the building you are planning to build. What I can’t see or understand is why you wouldn’t want to develop buildings in such a way that maintains that unique culture and respects a way of life you have enjoyed all these years living in and around Fort Langley.
Happy to say I live in Langley and I’ve included my personal info for your records but please do not print my phone no as part of this letter if you post in the Langley Times.
Thank you for listening.