Langley Township council probably didn’t have much choice, when it decided it would reserve the right to appeal a B.C. Supreme Court decision on the heritage alteration permit it issued, to allow construction of the Coulter Berry building to go ahead.
Mayor Jack Forese explained that a notice to appeal must be filed within 30 days, and the written judgment outlining the reasons for Justice Joel Groves’ decision won’t be available until long after that expiry date.
However, in the meantime the Township should do all it can to examine other options. It should examine carefully all the comments from the public hearing into the heritage alteration permit. It needs to review past council decisions, including the original bylaw establishing the heritage conservation area and a 2004 bylaw reaffirming height restrictions in the Fort Langley commercial area.
The Township also needs to discuss with the developer what changes are possible to the project, given that work has already begun.
It would be much better for all concerned if the project could resume quickly, without flouting the court decision. There should be some way the Township can make it happen. Based on the oral court ruling, that may involve having it conform to the existing Fort Langley heritage guidelines. This matter needs prompt attention.