John Emery attended Sunday's protest and signed up for a community association.

John Emery attended Sunday's protest and signed up for a community association.

Brookswood Fernridge residents protest Langley Township development plans

Brookswood Fernridge residents protest in Noel Booth Park Sunday afternoon.

PHOTO: Residents protested Sunday how Langley Township is handling development and planning in Brookswood Fernridge. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)

Sunday’s protest over development in Brookswood and Fernridge brought out about 250 people.

The afternoon protest in Noel Booth Park included a petition for the public to sign and forms to create a community association.

John Emery raised his two kids in Brookswood, having lived there for 23 years and turned out Sunday to voice opposition to how the Township is going about development.

“I think anything that unites voices is helpful,” he said.

He called the Township’s previous Brookswood Fernridge development process funded by developers as “flawed and unethical.” It ended up bringing together neighbourhood residents.

“It created the environment where we are today. Everybody is coming out. It got people riled up,” he said.

Langley Township tried to update the official community plan (OCP) in 2014, but it was voted down after public outcry over density, population, and concerns over tree protection, aquifer levels, and adequate community services such as hospitals and schools.

A new process is underway now with more public consultation and using consulting firm Modus, but it is not expected to be finished until the end of 2017.

All the properties now in various stages of approval will be developed with 7,000 square foot lots, the minimum allowed under the current community plan.

There are five properties slated to be developed in South Brookswood, all moving forward under the 1987 community plan.

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PHOTO: Most attending the protest Sunday walked from Noel Booth Park to the retail area of Brookswood. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)

Resident Martin Allen spoke at the protest, noting that he has filed various Freedom of Information requests on issues such as the cost of consultants Modus, environmental reports, water reports and more.

“I want this area to be developed,” he noted. “But I don’t want my neighbourhood, my community to be influences by outside speculators and developers.”

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PHOTO: Martin Allen was one of the speakers at Sunday’s protest. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)

Resident Michele Connerty said the proposed developments would cost over $1 million, prices families cannot afford.

“This is not affordable housing to our community,” she said.

The neighbourhood is currently home to about 14,000 people. The 1987 official community plan calls for three times that population in Brookswood Fernridge and Connerty said residents are concerned about spot zoning in the absence of an updated OCP that includes residents’ desires.

She noted that there aren’t going to be enough hospital beds, school spaces and other amenities.

“Until these issues are worked out, why would anyone consider developing,” she said. “To go forward with development in this area would be grossly negligent for Township council.”

Connerty encouraged those attending the protest to go to the Township council meeting on July 11 to voice their opinions.

PHOTO: Residents protested Sunday how Langley Township is handling development and planning in Brookswood Fernridge. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)