Letters to the Editor

No good reason offered for OCP, heritage guideline changes

Editor: The Times’ latest coverage on the Coulter Berry saga was disappointing in its lack of any insight into the more profound issues underlying the community dispute.

The underlying issues are not the format or appearance of the building, or the speculated benefits (or otherwise) to Fort Langley. Everyone is entitled to their opinion on those.

No, the real issues are the proposed amendments and changes to the Official Community Plan and Heritage Guidelines, and why those amendments should be considered by council.

Despite the mayor’s exhortation to speakers at the public hearing to focus on the agenda topic, viz. “Should the OCP and guidelines be amended to permit this development,” most of the supporters of the project chose to reiterate what would be built, and who would build it. The message was similar:  the building was unique, LEED certified, attractive, and so on.

These may well be so, but are of little value in explaining exactly why the existing restrictions and guidelines should be amended.  We already know the answer to the question of what (Hint: the answer is — this building). But why?

I have yet to hear a coherent argument as to why the OCP and guidelines should be amended (other than the obvious one — it serves the need of the developer).

Unfortunately, that’s not an adequate answer, and council cannot be fool us into thinking it is. It’s a circular argument, and reminiscent of the Monty Python “I have a theory, which is mine and belongs to me” skit:

“I’d like you to relax the restrictions so I can build my building”

“Yes, but why do you want us to relax the restrictions?”

“So I can build my building”

“Yes, but why do you want us to relax the restrictions so you can build your building?”

“Well, it’s a very nice building”

“ Yes, but why...” etc.

(repeat, ad nauseum)

In the absence of an answer to this question of why, the only rational conclusion one can draw is that there is no defensible reason for council to amend the OCP and guidelines (other than the obvious one — so that the building can be built). Truly, it is reductio ad absurdum.

Alister Frayne,


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