Residents of three Fernridge neighbourhoods got a bird’s eye view of their region as they commented on prospects for future development at at Tuesday afternoon planning open house.
In addition to short video clips and poster boards with info on the Fernridge, Rinn, and Booth areas of South Brookswood, residents could wander around on giant floor maps to see detailed aerial photos, marked with neighbourhood boundaries.
Residents planted Post-It notes on the maps with comments and concerns.
“This area is supposed to be 7,000 square foot lots,” said Ray Wiens. “I hope it happens after we pass on.”
Wiens and his wife were among the many longtime residents of the area, having moved to their home in the early 1970s.
A member of one of the neighbourhood planning sub-committees, Wiens noted some things have changed since earlier plans.
“They’re doing a lot more communication than they used to,” he noted. People may not like what happens, but they can’t complain they weren’t consulted, he said.
That said, Wiens is hoping some things can be preserved as South Brookswood moves towards increased density and development.
He noted that now, horseback riders come up from trails near Campbell Valley Regional Park to the south, wind their way along the roads to the pub at 24th Avenue and 200th Street for a drink, and then head back home.
“That’s something you don’t want to lose,” Wiens said.
Other residents had very concrete fears for the future.
“We don’t want a freeway where we live,” said Kristen Spencer, who lives near 24th Avenue. She’s worried the road could be punched through all the way to Surrey, becoming a major through road and getting a lot more traffic.
This open house is still just phase one of three when it comes to the detailed neighbourhood planning process, said Jason Chu, manager of community and policy planning for the Township of Langley.
The Brookswood OCP gave a broad plan that laid out general ideas of density and development types for the neighbourhoods, Chu said.
“Here we get down to the block, the basic sections of the street,” he said.
For example, Chu said one of the provisions in the OCP was a provision to allow greater density by developers – if they agree to protect significant stands of trees, one of the defining features of Brookswood.
Specific ideas of different housing types and lots could be examined.
In addition, infrastructure and public features are up for discussion.
“This is where we would identify trails, pocket parks, and other community amenities,” Chu said.
In April, the Township council appointed a 12-member Neighbourhood Planning Team, along with three six-member teams for each of the three neighbourhoods currently being planned. One member, Peter Minten, recently publicly resigned over tree cutting in his area.
Brookswood got a new official community plan (OCP) in 2017, after several years of wrangling and a failed attempt at bringing in a somewhat different OCP in 2014.