The Coulter Berry building in Fort Langley was approved by Langley Township council. That decision is now being challenged in court.

The Coulter Berry building in Fort Langley was approved by Langley Township council. That decision is now being challenged in court.

Group suing over Coulter Berry building says it is not anti-development

Group says it tried to settle with Langley Township, but there was no interest in doing so.

The people suing to prevent construction of the Coulter Berry building in Fort Langley say they waited as long as they did because they were trying to negotiate an out-of-court compromise with the Township.

The Fort Langley Residents for Sustainable Development issued a written statement on Friday, after The Times had reported that a lawyer for the Township was arguing the group waited too long, seven-and-a-half months after the project was approved, to apply for an injunction.

“The Township of Langley did receive a notice from our lawyer in late January that legal action was a possibility,” the statement said.

“We spent seven months going back and forth with the Township before coming to the conclusion there was no compromise forthcoming. The Township of Langley severed direct communication. Legal action was not initiated until this point for the simple reason that it was not our first choice, it was our last.”

The written statement was emailed to The Times by Diane Morrison, one of the directors of the society.

According to a BC Registry Services search, Fort Langley Residents for Sustainable Development was incorporated on May 23, 2013, with five directors: Morrison, Dorothy Abreo, Vicky Fraser, Andreas Schildhorn and Harold Whittell.

Last week, Coulter Berry developer Eric Woodward described Morrison as the “primary proprietor” of Wendel’s cafe and bookstore, the business located across the street from the proposed building.

“The petition seems designed to delay the commencement of construction of the Coulter Berry Building to prevent additional competition in Fort Langley for Wendel’s,” Woodward said.

The Morrison email said the society “concerns regarding this development are with the Township of Langley, not the developer” and goes on to say the group is not anti-development, it is against buildings that violate the heritage guidelines that are supposed to govern construction in Fort Langley.

“The society’s mandate is not to stop all development in the Heritage Conservation Area,” the statement said.

“We encourage sustainable development that conforms to the Fort Langley Official Community Plan, and the Fort Langley Building Facade Guidelines.”

By a 7-1 vote in November of last year, Township council approved a heritage alteration permit for the three-storey mix of residential, office and retail at the intersection of Glover Road and Mavis Avenue.

At 43.5 feet tall and three storeys high, the Coulter Berry building is 14.5 feet over the height limit of 29 feet and two storeys.

It also has a lot coverage of 67 per cent, when only 60 per cent is allowed.

In the application to have the lawsuit dismissed, the Township lawyer also argued the society “does not have a direct, personal interest” in the issue as defined by law.

In the society release, the directors were described as “long-time residents and business owners in Langley, all with deep roots and ties to Fort Langley.”

If construction is allowed to proceed, the society court petition said the Coulter Berry building would “unalterably and irreparably undermine the heritage policies for land located in the Heritage Conservation Area, to the detriment of the cultural and historical heritage of Fort Langley, contrary to law.”

In the application to have the case thrown out, the Township lawyer said  Langley Township council has a “broad discretion” to approve variances from heritage guidelines.

The case is scheduled to be heard by a B.C. Supreme Court judge in Chilliwack on Sept. 9.

Scaffolding has been erected around the Coulter Berry site, but construction hasn’t started.

Developer Woodward said the delay isn’t due to the court action and he expects work will begin later this month once “a few more technical details” have been worked out.

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

Just Posted

Pete Ryan’s voyageur statue seen at the Langley City municipal building. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times/February 2021)
LETTER: Reader shares thoughts on historic Langley City wood statues

Resident glad to learn the history of the pieces and about the man who created them

Teacher Tracy Dionne’s Grade 2 students at Willoughby Elementary wrote letters to adults about COVID-19. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Langley students offer adults COVID advice and encouragement

Willoughby Elementary Grade 2 students wrote letters to adults at the one-year mark of the pandemic

An artist’s rendering of what the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain station would look like at 166th Street in Surrey. (TransLink)
Langley School District has issued a COVID-19 notification for Lynn Fripps Elementary School. (Langley Schools)
COVID-19 exposure recorded at Langley elementary school and No Frills grocer

There are currently five local schools on exposure list

Brookswood Bobcats celebrated their B.C. championship victory at the Langley Events Centre. The Bobcats defeated Richmond’s R.A. McMath Wildcats in the final of the B.C. high school senior girls AAA basketball championships in 2016. Past championship games are being replayed this month online by LEC. (File)
Langley Events Centre takes a look back at some classic basketball championship games

Matchups from past years will be rebroadcast online for free

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

The Nanaimo Clippers in action at Frank Crane Arena in early 2020. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Clippers for sale, owner says hockey won’t be back to normal any time soon

Wes Mussio says he’s had numerous inquiries about the junior A club already

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on October 27, 2020. The City of Vancouver says it has purchased a former hotel at a major thoroughfare that can house about 65 units to accommodate homeless people. A joint news release by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and city says 2075 Kingsway, Days Inn by Wyndham Vancouver, will be ready for accommodation this November. The Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen also announced a $51.5 million Rapid Housing Initiative for Vancouver that is expected to create 135 new affordable homes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Former Vancouver hotel to be converted to 65 units for homeless people by the fall

The former Days Inn on Kingsway will be ready to house people in November

B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Murder conviction upheld in case where Surrey mom was stabbed in front of her kids

Jury in 2017 found Tanpreet Kaur Athwal, aka Sonia Kaur Gill, guilty of first-degree murder in 2007 death of Amanpreet Bahia, 33

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Most Read