Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fort Langley Xmas Surprise: Waterfront 4 Story Building For Seniors If You're 45 Years Old and Up!

The old Fort Langley Interfor lands mill site has a well renowned developer building beautiful homes in what is now known as Bedford landing. They are also now seeking Township council's final approval to build a so-called Seniors apartment building by the river in Fort Langley just west of the Fort Pub on Glover road. This was always planned and envisioned years ago as a place for Langley and especially Fort Langley seniors to retire to and still remain in Langley/Fort Langley.

The issue from this Editor's point of view as well as some other now very surprised long time Fort Langley residents at this past council meeting on Monday is that suddenly just a week or two before Christmas the proposed Seniors residence has sprouted a couple of astounding and unforeseen surprises that were not originally planned or indeed intended!

What changes? First of all it will now be a 4 story building not 3 as originally planned! Secondly the building will be for so called senior adults only and specifically for those 45 and older! Gee, I guess a lot of 45 year olds will now be surprised to find out the new definition of seniors. When asked what the price per unit was, the answer given was a very early qualified guesstimate in the range of ~$300,000 a unit (In the attached rendering one has to wonder what the waterfront/mountain 4th level units will sell for to the 45 year old seniors!) . Now keep in mind that this building will be located right on the Fraser River channel with the Fort Pub building to its east. Also have a look at the architectural renderings of the building. Does this look like Fort Langley style and structure to you? That's what it was supposed to always be. All in all a lot of surprises about the structure and new criteria for tenants.

One cannot blame the developer for maximizing the quantity of units but as one of the opponents to the proposal indicated he called for council to say no and to remain within the 3 story original guidelines. He also said that this was the wedge to perhaps build even more 4 story buildings in Fort Langley.

What concerned the small group of local surprised Fort Langley residents in attendance was that it sure sounded like it would be rushed through just before Christmas on December 10 and now on December 17th by Township council without the vast majority of local residents being aware of these dramatic changes . Councillor Richter moved to table it till at least January with again, no surprise, no seconder. Her intention was to at least give all the Fort Langley community some better notice and to let them know about the new changes to the original plan.

So in a nutshell the issues beside the dramatic new changes are also the facts that the vast majority of Fort Langley as well as all of Langley residents were not apprised of or indeed aware of these significant changes to the original plan and that it now appears at least to this Editor that it will probably be rammed through 7 days before Christmas! The old "ram it through before Xmas trick"! I hope not because even this Editor is not yet convinced that these changes are in keeping with the original form and character of the community. Not to mention that this editor is surprised to learn the new Bedford definition of senior is 45 years old!

This Editor thinks that the whole decision should be put off a month or two at least so as to let the community and taxpayers know what the changes contemplated are. Think about it, a 4 level building in Fort Langley by the river! This Editor does not live any where near Fort Langley but I as well as all of the Langley taxpayers covet the unique Fort Langley ambiance and design criteria. All of us should seriously expect this Council to get all of our opinions on this structure first before rushing ahead with it 7 days before Xmas. The busiest time of the year! But then again, what's so different between this and the proposed ground water management plan? The timing matches! Both need much more public input before Council's rubber stamp is put on them. If you are at all concerned about this, email before Monday December 17th 2007. Merry Christmas from your Langley Township council "good ole boys club" !?

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