This boarded-up Fort Langley house that was painted pink by frustrated builder Eric Woodward is a source of warm memories for the woman who grew up next door. File photo

Fort Langley’s pink house has rich history

Daughter of the man who built the recently-transformed Fort Langley house tells her story

When Linda Bongat saw someone had painted the house on Mary Avenue near Church Street a bright shade of pink and positioned some plastic pink flamingos on the front lawn, she wondered whether it had something to do with the annual cranberry festival in Fort Langley.

Then she found out the current owner of the property, Eric Woodward, had ordered the paint job to register his frustration with the Township of Langley over the way it has handled his application to demolish the house.

“It was kind of bizarre,” she said. “It was a little upsetting.”

Woodward wants to demolish that house and a number of other structures on the site to make way for his Glover Road West project, a new multi-use building that will mix residential and retail with a boutique hotel.

He says officials at the Township of Langley have refused to issue a permit for the demolition of the house and several other soon-to-be-vacated buildings on the 1.39 acre site at Glover Road and Mary Avenue unless he meets several conditions that he considers unreasonable.

Among them, a requirement that he apply for an Heritage Alteration Permit (HAP) that would require council permission before demolition could proceed, with fees that can be up to $1,100 per permit request.

Woodward said he was also told he would have to prepare a Tree Protection Plan for each property.

It is not the first time Woodward and Township planners have been at odds.

He has noted municipal planners did not support his Coulter Berry building, but their objections were overridden by council.

“The subject property is within a heritage conservation area, so section 615 of the local government act declares a heritage alteration permit before you alter a building within that area,” said Stephen Richardson, Township director of development services. “So it’s an item that comes directly from provincial legislation when the local government has enacted a heritage conservation area.”

For Bongat, the newly pink house is a source of happy memories of growing up in Fort Langley.

Her father built the one-and-a-half-storey house back in the 1930s, before she was born.

“My dad built it for his father-in-law and sister-in law.”

Bongat grew up in the house next to it.

The little log cabin behind the white house was built as a playhouse for her and her young sister Denise (Gray), Bongat said.

The house was built during the “Dirty ’30s” when the Canadian economy was in a deep depression.

Someone had started construction and got as far as pouring a concrete basement foundation before work halted.

Then the Brown family bought the half-completed house and set about finishing it.

“We always wondered why it was built in the middle of two lots.”

Her memories of the place include the steep, narrow rustic staircase with no handrail that connected the main floor to the two attic bedrooms, and the pot-bellied stove in the kitchen that was eventually replaced with something more modern.

“It was very modest,” she said.

But it had a reputation for above-average gardening.

“The gardens were compared to the Butchart gardens,” she said.

“My uncle was featured in the local paper for his Begonias.”

The last Brown family member to live in small house was an aunt who married a widower late in life.

When the couple passed away, the house was left in their will to 15 people, who agreed to sell it and share the proceeds.

The people who bought the property later re-sold it to Woodward.

She is not happy that the house is now a bright shade of pink.

“It’s just kind of disrespectful” she said.

But she is quick to add that she doesn’t dispute Woodward’s right to do what he wants with his own property and likes some of the buildings Woodward put up in Fort Langley.

“I don’t have a beef with him at all,” she said.

She now lives in Clayton, near the Surrey-Langley border, but her business requires her to make semi-regular trips back to the community she considers home.

“To me, my heart is in Fort Langley” she said.

“It always has been.”



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives photo)
LETTER: Think of seniors when casting vote

With the provincial election on Saturday, a local seniors group reminds voters to think about elders

A request for a tax exemption by the Langley Food Bank has prompted a review of the way such requests are handled by Langley City (Langley Advance Times file)
Langley City reviews tax breaks after turning request by food bank

Was one of four groups asking to be added to the tax exemption list

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
COVID case confirmed at Fort Langley Seniors Community

One of five new cases reported by Fraser health Authority

Langley’s Ken Cormack (L) and Craig Brown won the B.C. Match Play Net Championship on Sunday, Oct. 18 in Richmond (Courtesy Ken Cormack)
Two ‘dads’ from Langley win B.C. Match Play Net Championship of golf

‘We were just doing it to have fun and have a laugh’

John Horgan brought the NDP campaign to Langley on Wednesday, Oct. 21, just three days before the B.C. vote (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Horgan brings NDP campaign to Langley

Predicts gains, says people are looking at the party ‘differently’ after three years

Mary Foote (right) took part in the Gutsy Walk in August 2020 at the age of 104. She was joined by son in-law Clarence and daughter Edith Olson. (family photo)
Langley woman turns 105 on Oct. 25

In August, Mary Foote took part in the Gutsy Walk to battle Crohn’s and Colitis

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

In this file photo, snow is seen falling along the Coquihalla Highway. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Weather statement issued for Coquihalla, Hwy 3, as arctic front approaches

The early season snowfall expected to hit Fraser Valley, Friday, Oct. 23

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Most Read