Development plans scaled down for controversial Willoughby site

A proposal that prompted massive opposition in 2010 has resurfaced, with the developer proposing less density this time around.

A development application that went nowhere after a public outcry in 2010 is back before council.

This time, Forewest Construction has toned down its application for 10 acres of assembled land north of 68 Avenue between 200 and 201 Streets.

In October, 2010, council defeated third reading of the bylaw amending the Southwest Gordon Estates Neighbourhood Plan where Forewest had planned to construct 607 apartments in eight buildings and 14 townhouses.

A public hearing for a new development proposal will be held on Monday, Nov. 5.

This time, Forewest proposes seven apartment buildings with 475 units, 27 townhouses, four duplexes and two single family houses.

At the September, 2010 public hearing, held over two nights, dozens of residents spoke of their opposition to the development. Fifty-seven of 58 speakers at the hearing opposed the development, chiefly on the grounds that it was too dense, would put extreme pressure on local schools and congest local streets.

When council gave first and second reading to the new bylaws on Oct. 22, Councillor Kim Richter had several concerns, many of which were raised by the public at the 2010 public hearing.

Richter said the proposal still represented high density on the 10 acres, and wondered about tree replacement.

Her biggest concern was the Langley School District’s estimates of how many school children the development would bring. These are the estimates:

* Two single family houses: one elementary, two secondary;

* 31 townhouses/duplexes: eight elementary, three secondary;

* 475 condos: 34 elementary, 34 secondary.

Such a large development generating only 34 children in elementary school (Langley Meadows) and the same number in high school (R.E. Mountain) is hard to believe, she said.

“This is a hard sell,” Richter commented.

Councillor Charlie Fox suggested that as younger children from the first phase would attend Langley Meadows “it will be the first good use of that (pedestrian) overpass.”

The property is currently zoned for single family housing.