Langley condo development confounds neighbours

A high density development drew fire in Willoughby.

A number of Langley residents turned out at Monday night’s public hearing to object to a planned condo project for the core of the Willoughby area.

A Poet’s Wynd, with at least 286 condo units and 138 townhouse units proposed, is planned for the southeast corner of 208th Street and 80th Avenue, near several other previous condo projects.

As usual with any new housing project for the fast-growing Willoughby area, existing residents were worried about traffic, parking, and overcrowded schools.

“Young families are moving into this area,” said Patrick Taylor. “We’re just going to be overcrowding these schools.”

Resident Evelina Reinsbee said it’s wrong for the area without proper roads, saying “208th now is a zoo.”

The traffic during construction was on the mind of Derek Spencer.

“I’m not sure how they’re going to facilitate construction without absolute traffic chaos,” he said.

Because of the Township’s policy of having developers add road improvements as they construct their buildings, the Poet’s Wynd project would add one of the last sections to the major intersection of 208th Street and 80th Avenue.

It would complete the corner, making the roads two lanes in each direction, at least through the intersection itself. The extra lanes peter out a few dozen to a few hundred metres away, however, as 80th Avenue or 208th Streets run up to undeveloped properties.

Some of the speakers were also opposed to the density of the project, and several said that they didn’t want to see five or six storey buildings in the area. Some claimed there is nothing taller than four stories now in the area.

However, there are already several five and six storey condo developments within a few hundred metres of the site. The Yorkson Creek condo projects have been building five storey condos for more than three years, and some six storey condos have also been built.

The neighbourhood plan allows for structures up to 12 storeys in the area.

Ashish Kapoor, a frequent critic of parking issues in the Willoughby area, said the Township should change its policy on how many visitor parking spaces are provided with each development.

Willoughby resident Bernie Grinstead was the only speaker from the area to offer support for the project.

“High rise condos on 208th Street would be the best use of the land,” he said, arguing for higher density to preserve green space overall.

Architect Maciej Dembek, of Barnett Dembek Architects, said the project will be providing on-street parking on 209th Street, and that traffic lights will be installed at 209th Street and 80th Avenue.

He spoke to parking issues by noting that the townhouses will have double-wide garages, and there will be two levels of underground parking for the condo units.

There is no council meeting scheduled for next week at Langley Township, and due to the August hiatus, it will likely be September before the council can vote on the bylaws for A Poet’s Wynd.


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