The controversial Brookswood-Fernridge community plan is back on the table, as Township council took its first “baby step” toward redevelopment during Monday afternoon’s meeting.
Council has voted to separate Brookswood from Fernridge, focusing only on the rural areas for redevelopment.
They have directed staff to look at the cost of updating the 1987 community plan for Fernridge and to create a map highlighting the exact areas for consideration.
Part of the confusion, it seems, is that there is no definitive line dividing the Brookswood area from Fernridge, Mayor Jack Froese told The Times.
“There’s an area of Brookswood that is already developed, and it’s been developed for years, and there’s the area thats undeveloped acreages that have been looking for development for years,” he said.
“It’s not going to be changing existing subdivisions and existing homes.”
Council’s vote comes after several delegations by Fernridge residents expressed frustration that “nothing has happened” since a draft update to the Brookswood/Fernridge community plan was turned down by council in 2014. When new options were presented in March of last year, council voted to postpone a decision until the Mayor’s Standing Committee on Public Engagement had presented its report for a Township-wide strategy.
Resident Sam Rockson said in the 35 years he’s lived at 200 Street just south of 32 Avenue, “absolutely nothing has ever happened in the area.” He is concerned the lack of attention has led to an increase in illegal grow-ops and derelict houses.
Ron Goble has lived in Fernridge for 42 years, and sees potential issues with the rapid development in Surrey just a few blocks away.
“We’re concerned about the lack of planning in Brookswood-Fernridge to be prepared for the huge changes happening in the near future,” he said.
Other concerns brought up at the meeting were a lack of streetlights and sidewalks along roads, and higher than average taxes on properties labelled as having development potential.
Township engineer director Ramin Sefi said the new map detailing the proposed area could be brought to council as soon as the next meeting on Jan. 25.
“This, as it has been referred to already, is a baby step of commitment,” said Coun. Blair Whitmarsh.
“It’s a commitment from council to move forward with the public engagement process. This is not a speeding up process. This is not rushing to try to make a decision. This is actually 50 years in the making. So this is a long time coming.”