OPEN LETTER TO THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL ASKING FOR A PUBLIC INPUT OPPORTUNITY
Glover Mary Church to go to Township Council at this Monday’s Meeting
The following letter has been sent to our municipal elected officials:
Mayor and Council, The FLCA is writing to express concerns regarding the lack of a Public Input Opportunity for the Glover Mary Church development project. For residents and voters, it is crucial that we provide input and share our thoughts on matters that directly affect our neighborhoods and quality of life.
First and foremost, we want to acknowledge that this is a new Mayor and Council, and we understand that you are still familiarizing yourselves with the implications and considerations associated with this development. Given the significance of the project and its potential impact on our community, it is imperative to engage in meaningful dialogue with the residents who will be directly affected by these changes. Public input is essential for understanding the diverse perspectives and concerns of the community members. A developer holding a public session to tell people what they are planning to do is not at all the same as a Public Input Opportunity called by Council on behalf of the public they are supposed to represent.
Furthermore, it has come to our attention that while the Mayor has recused himself from the discussions related to this development, he has previously served as the Financial Agent for a majority of the sitting Councillors. While we do not know if this is considered a direct conflict of interest for these Councillors to vote on the development, it is essential for our community’s trust and confidence in the decision-making process that transparency be upheld.
By providing a Public Input Opportunity, you can demonstrate transparency and actively engage with the community. Public consultation allows for open and inclusive discussion, where residents can contribute their valuable insights, express concerns, and propose alternative solutions. It ensures that decisions are well-informed, reflecting the needs and aspirations of the community. We kindly request that you reconsider the decision to forgo a Public Input Opportunity for this development project. Emphasizing the importance of community engagement and allowing residents to have a voice will not only foster trust and ownership but also contribute to the long-term success and sustainability of our community.
In closing, we would like to add that Mayor and Council can choose to seek public input as demonstrated in other areas whether it is mandated or not.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Minutes from the HERITAGE ADVISORY COMMITTEE – June 7, 2023
Mixed Commercial-Residential Development (Glover/Mary/Church) – in Fort Langley Heritage Conservation Area
The panel reviewed a Heritage Alteration Permit application for a new commercial-residential mixed-use building on an assembled site in the Fort Langley Heritage Conservation Area. The proposal includes requested Zoning Bylaw variances related to building height, setbacks, and residential use at grade along Church Street. The Panel provided the following comments:
Building Scale and Massing:
- Should lighten up the scale and massing of the project to better fit with the more modest built form context of Fort Langley;
- Less masonry and more horizontal siding and a lighter colour scheme;
- Varied building heights and setbacks;
- Set back upper floors to reduce apparent building height;
- Carefully study floor to floor heights to see where they can be reduced and possibly stepping the floor slab, at least at grade.
- Simpler building forms with less embellishments;
- The Panel felt that the more successful local design precedents provided by the applicant were those with predominantly two-storey elements, third storeys built into sloping roofs, and/or varied setbacks and building punctuation.
Public and Outdoor Space:
- Consider opportunities to add more tree planting areas;
Look to program the open space with street furnishings and spaces for gathering.
Recommendation: The Heritage Review Panel believes that this is a significant project for Fort Langley, and that there are some very good elements – including the interior courtyard, new commercial space, and the introduction of more residential uses. The Panel does not support the project as presented, because it feels more design refinement is needed.
The Panel recommends:
- That the applicant continues to work with staff to address outstanding concerns related to the overall massing of the project, architectural elements that appear out of context in Fort Langley, and opportunities to further enhance the public realm; and
- That revised plans be referred to the Heritage Review Panel for further review and comment.
MOTION Moved by T. Quiring, Seconded by R. Ardron,
That the Heritage Advisory Committee receive and endorse the recommendations of the Heritage Review Panel regarding the Berry General Store, Murrayville Academy Gymnasium Addition, and the Glover/Mary/Church Mixed Commercial-Residential Development in the Fort Langley.
COUNCIL Moved by R. Genberg, Seconded by M. De Little,
That the Heritage Advisory Committee recommend that Council consider a Public Input Opportunity be provided for the Glover/Mary/Church Mixed Commercial-Residential Development in Fort Langley. CARRIED
NO Public Input Opportunity for Glover Mary Church
At the recent Township Council meeting on June 12, 2023, a significant decision concerning the Glover/Mary/Church Mixed Commercial-Residential Development in Fort Langley was made.
It is important to note that Fort Langley Properties Ltd. owns the Glover Mary Church properties, in which Mayor Eric Woodward holds an interest. Mayor Woodward and Councillor Barb Martins acknowledged a conflict of interest and abstained from participating in the proceedings. This presented an opportunity to demonstrate genuine transparency and inclusiveness to the residents and businesses of Fort Langley. Unfortunately, this opportunity was not fully realized.
During the meeting, the Council voted against a recommendation put forth by the Heritage Advisory Committee. The recommendation urged the Council to consider allowing a Public Input Opportunity for the development project. This decision carries significant implications for our community, and it is crucial for you to stay informed.
We encourage you to review the Heritage Advisory Committee meeting minutes to better understand the discussions and factors that influenced this decision. You can access the minutes by visiting the following link.
In addition to the minutes, we encourage you to watch the video recording of the Council meeting, where the decision was made:
We firmly believe in fostering a transparent and inclusive decision-making process. Your opinions and feedback are vital in shaping the future of our community. It is truly disappointing that the residents and businesses were not given an opportunity to voice their thoughts on this proposal, as it hinders the chance for meaningful engagement.
We urge you to continue engaging in discussions, sharing your thoughts, and actively participating as this development progresses. Your voices matter; we will work tirelessly to ensure your concerns and perspectives are heard and respected.
As always, our commitment remains steadfast in creating a community where every voice is given the opportunity to be heard. We will continue to provide updates and information regarding this matter through future newsletters and community meetings, striving to find alternative avenues for your valuable input.
Here is how the vote unfolded.
Community associations will no longer receive Development Application Referrals.
We are concerned because the FLCA (Fort Langley Community Association) has not received any updates regarding the Glover Mary Church application, despite reaching out to the Township via email. In the past, we were frequently asked to provide input on different development applications within Fort Langley. This allowed us to share the application details with our members via email and social media, increasing its visibility. Unfortunately, it seems that this practice has been discontinued.