The big picture is that we all have the responsibility to encourage builders to build buildings of better quality that last longer and use fewer resources to heat and light, and that are made of less-polluting construction materials. It is only a small step towards better stewardship of the environment.
Another step is to try to ensure that such buildings are built in walkable neighbourhoods, where people and not cars are the focus of the street.
In theory, there is agreement over these values.
Where values seem to clash in Fort Langley is over the height of buildings. No other building built in the Fort now or under construction has the same environmentally sensitive design that the Coulter Berry building does, as evidenced by its LEED Gold certification.
The cost of making better, sustainable buildings is high, and even if there was a taxpayer appetite for subsidizing such projects, the available credits and exemptions would not cover the cost of such improvements.
Those who want commercial buildings to be no taller than two storeys are really saying that their desire for smallness outweighs all the benefits of the sustainable design attributes of the Coulter Berry building. From their perspective, there is to be no compromise on the height of the building.
However, it is clear that the Coulter Berry building conforms to the Building Facade Guidelines in virtually every other respect, except that it has a third storey.
I chose to support a building that will be better for the environment and a pedestrian community than some imaginary shorter building with a paved ground-level parking lot that no one is actually proposing to build on the corner of Mavis Avenue and Glover Road.
I support a building for the commercial district that will house new restaurants, new retail shops, new offices complete with staff who also will be consumers, and nine families who will undoubtedly shop locally to some degree.
All those people will have visitors and clients and customers who will become exposed to Fort Langley.
Those are the people we need to populate the streets of our commercial district, and not just film companies or tourists wanting to pick up a trinket or two.
Hopefully, the anti-Coulter Berry people can look beyond their life spans to see that the future requires us to do many things differently from the way we have been doing them.
Christine Burdeniuk, Langley