A new museum and cultural centre in Fort Langley is one step closer to reality following Monday night’s council vote approving a Heritage Alteration Permit application to allow construction of the new cultural centre and museum known as Salishan Place and consolidation of six lots in the 23400 Block of Mavis Avenue in Fort Langley.
Salishan Place will house a museum and cultural centre including indigenous and community museums, program spaces, community archives, conference/reception facilities, a 167-seat theatre and the Fort Langley Community Library,relocated from the Fort Langley Community Hall.
A report by Teresa Hanson, senior development planner for the Township community development division said the permits will allow variances to height, lot coverage, siting and parking provisions of the community plan, including permitting a three-storey museum with a building height of 13.05 metres, which exceeds the limit of nine metres.
Instead of the 98 parking spaces that would be required, the facility will have 52, plus 16 resulting from the conversion of Royal Street to parking spaces.
“The applicant has provided analysis by a transportation consultant indicating that the proposed parking is sufficient for the proposed facility,’ the Hanson report stated.
According to the consultant, Salishan Place would have a peak of 29 parked vehicles on a weekday and 35 parked vehicles on a Saturday.
At 52 per cent, lot coverage will be slightly more than the 50 per cent limit.
A majority of council supported the proposals, with Councillor Kim Richter casting the only ballot against.
Mayor Jack Froese wasn’t present for the vote, and Councillor Eric Woodward did not vote due to a conflict of interest, as his foundation owns a significant amount of nearby property.
The existing museum, located at 9135 King Street, and library, located at 9167 Glover Road, are
proposed to be operated in their current location until the new building is complete.
Earlier this year, council approved the demolition of city-owned building on eight residential lots between the current Langley Centennial Museum to the west and the grounds of the Fort Langley National Historic Site to the east.
Langley Township announced major plans the site in 2018, including a partnership with the Kwantlen First Nation. Along with a new, much larger museum and a cultural centre, there will be some residential development helping to pay for the costs. The land nearby is largely Township-owned and has been rental housing for years.
It was the second area farmed by the Hudson’s Bay Company in Langley, between 1839 and 1888. It remained farmland into the early 1950s, and between then and the 1970s, the farmland was subdivided and the current homes were built.
While there aren’t thought to be any settlement-era historical structures, the site’s history of occupation by First Nations people goes back thousands of years.
Next steps; the demolition of the existing buildings; and secondly, the building permit process to ensure compliance with the BC Building Code and health and safety requirements, including fire regulations.