A small room in the corner of George Preston Recreation Centre was teeming with people on Tuesday, March 22, as developers showed off a new proposal for land at 36 Avenue and 200 Street in Brookswood.
The public information meeting — held by the property owners and their consultant, Hub Engineering — offered residents an opportunity to view preliminary plans on poster boards, and submit their handwritten feedback directly to the developer.
The proposal includes turning five properties totaling just over 10 acres — most of which are heavily treed — into a community of an estimated 46 new homes.
The properties are located at 3560, 3520, 3514, 3584 200 St. and 20076 36 Ave. One of those lots currently bears a large white sign facing 200 Street that says “Brookswood! Not Brookswas! It’s trees like these that put the wood in Brookswood. Please keep the character and integrity of Brookswood in your development plans.”
The new homes would sit on 7,000 square-foot lots, with access off 35 Avenue.
“These are large lots by today’s standards.
“These are 7,000 square-foot lots, compared to Yorkson where you get 3,000 to 4,000 square-foot lots,” Mike Kompter, a consultant with Hub Engineering, told the Times.
“So the intent here is to create lots that are similar in size to the Brookswood area. The clients deem that there’s a market for housing, which there is. There’s a shortage of housing. People have kids here. When I ask them, ‘Where’s your kid going to live?’ everybody shrugs. We’re in the business of creating housing for the marketplace.”
Despite the proposal being in its preliminary stages many Brookswood residents expressed their opposition at the meeting.
“We’re not interested in any development,” said Arthur Walters, a Brookswood resident who has lived on 36 Avenue with his wife, Sandra, across from Noel Booth Park since 1975.
“We are 100 per cent against this.”
The Walters are concerned about people speeding down 36 Avenue in the park zone, which they say is already a problem, along with increased congestion, water consumption and enrolment at nearby schools, and potential impacts to the adjacent Anderson Creek.
“I have a problem with development that hasn’t been thought through properly,” said Emily Ortis, a resident of 202 Street.
“It will set the tone for future developments like Willoughby and like Cloverdale.”
Ortis shares the same concerns as the Walters, adding that more housing could lead to increased strain on the aquifer, the loss of significant trees and wildlife on the property, and more pressure on an already overcrowded Langley Memorial Hospital.
“This will add to the problems,” she said.
Catharine Mosher, a 15-year Brookswood resident, said she only found out about the meeting because someone — she wasn’t sure who — had taken it upon themselves to post homemade notice signs at local businesses, parks and on telephone poles.
“Nobody cares what the community wants anymore,” she said.
“They’re going to turn it into a stinking Clayton or Willoughby — and that’s ugly.”
The next step is for the proponent to review the feedback before bringing their proposal forward to council, Kompter said.
“This (public meeting) is intended to allow the public to voice their opinions and provide their comments, and they will be reviewed,” he said.
“This is only the initial stage, this is still going to go through the public process.”
The development application is under the existing 1987 Official Community Plan for the area, Township Mayor Jack Froese said. He was also in attendance at the meeting.
“It hasn’t come to council yet, there is a process with the draft and public engagement and getting feedback.
“The existing plan would allow for that type of development to go in,” he said.
“So the property owners, who are doing this through a consultant, have full right to apply for a subdivision and council has a duty to consider it and go through the proper process.
“The proponent was out there to get feedback from the public — which is good — so for those folks that have some concerns, hopefully they filled out their questionnaire and that goes to the proponent and comes through with the application.”
Another developer-held public information meeting took place on Wednesday, March 23 by McElhanney Consulting for three proposed development applications at 32 Avenue and 196 Street.
On March 31, a further public information meeting is scheduled to be held at George Preston Recreation Centre by McElhanney Consulting for another proposal at 36 Avenue and 205 Street.