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LETTER: Paper bicycle paths not connected to Langley reality

Willoughby hotel development information filled with inconsistencies

Dear Editor

A proposal for a business/hotel development at 19881 86th Ave. asks for a reduction in parking as a variance.

That area is already full on many surrounding streets. Semis and cars, alike, fill the area in the daytime, often parked illegally during peak times. We assume they are from the existing industrial and commercial ventures.

To reduce parking would be a major mistake.

At a recent public information meeting for the proposal, people were stunned when I pointed out their own picture had parked cars in it. They countered with how they would be sure to have strict parking enforcement, so those currently parking on the street wouldn’t be parking in their new commercial area.

The information boards alluded to “connections made to existing bicycle networks…”

We pointed out that that meant there would be no connection, since that area has no existing bicycle network.

The person who came up to be helpful and answer our question said, “Oh yes, they are here on paper, and we’ll connect with them on paper.”

I hope you read that with the same stunned silence I had at first, before I tried to point out that the reality of disjointed paths that simply stop and go nowhere is not, by definition, a network. How can they hope to connect to a network that isn’t there?

I got three sentences in as I attempted to explain the meaning of “existing” and “network” before my partner realized my futility and moved me along.

And that put me in front of the tree board.

I asked yet another helpful host if they were being affected by the new tree bylaw.

“Oh, that doesn’t apply to us, we’re developers.”

And that’s when we left.

The trees that are in “poor health” are noted to be 344 of 401 trees.

If bicycle paths only have to exist on paper, then isn’t it possible that 344 trees are only sick on paper, and thus in the real world are actually worth saving?

All in all, this project deserves another look by council, and not a rubber stamp, as so many things seem to be manufactured on paper, with little bearing on reality.

Cynthia Hamilton, Willoughby Residents Association

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