Deadlock scuttles housing project

Township council vote splits over issue of parking near Mormon temple

Councillor Charlie Fox told a Township council meeting the Church of Latter-Day Saints should simply lock up the Langley temple parking lot to keep non-members from using it.

A deadlocked council has turned down a proposal to build 244 housing units next to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints temple in Langley Township.

When the Qualico project was put to a vote Monday night (Dec. 16), concerns about its impact on temple parking produced a split council and a tie vote that saw the development rejected,

Church elders objected to the plan to build higher-density housing next to the Mormon temple at the corner of 82 Avenue and 204 Street, saying it could create problems with people using the temple parking lot.

They suggested single family homes would be preferable near the 28,165 square-foot temple.

During the Monday night debate, some members of council thought the project should be adjusted to meet the church concerns.

“I think we should respect their wishes,” Kim Richter said.

“We’ve done it in the past where we’ve moved things around.”

Other councillors said the development, which follows the community plan guidelines, should be approved as is because making changes would mean re-starting the approval process.

“I’m not prepared to go back and do another public hearing” Charlie Fox said.

If the temple is concerned about people using its parking lot, Fox said it should lock its gates, like other churches do.

When it came to a vote, the result was a four-four tie, due to the absence of councillor Bev Dornan, who was away on a family matter.

Under the rules of council, a tie means a defeat for the proposal, but it may be only temporary because the rules also allow council to reconsider the measure in the New Year.

At an earlier council meeting a Qualico representative said the higher-density housing is planned to go nearest the temple because it happens to face onto a major thoroughfare.

The Langley temple, dedicated in May, 2010, was at the time the seventh built in Canada by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

It serves 22,000 Mormons from 91 congregations throughout B.C. and northern Washington.

The temple, which is not open to non-members, is reserved for the sacraments of the Mormon church such as baptism and marriage.

Mormons have been in B.C. since 1875, but until the Langley temple was built, they had to travel to Seattle or Cardston, Alta. for temple services and sacraments.

Details of the Langley temple construction can be viewed on Facebook at “Vancouver LDS Temple.”

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