Bus tour of developments proceeds without council blessing

Accompanied by planning department head Ramin Seifi, planner Stephen Richardson and administrator Mark Bakken, Councillor Kim Richter arranged the trip to see what makes some housing “outstanding” and what it is about others that raises concerns about sustainability, livability and serviceability.

There are residential developments in Langley which attract attention for all the right reasons, and others that are featureless.

The ones that stand out in a positive way are those with elements that respect the environment, offer sufficient green space and play areas for children, have ease of access for emergency vehicles, and conceal garbage bins appropriately.

Then there are others which simply don’t fit the bill.

As Langley’s greenfield development grows, it’s imperative that the Township learn from those that demonstrate excellence, and not repeat those which fail to excel, Councillor Kim Richter said.

The rest of council disagreed, refusing to second her motion for a bus tour that would allow council, planning staff and developers to look at developments.

‘Greenfield’ is a term used to describe building on land, such as farms and forests, that has not been built on previously. ‘Brownfield’ refers to re-development, such as False Creek which was transformed from the industrial hub of Vancouver, to the site of Expo 86 to what it is today: a miscellany of residential properties, sports and recreational facilities, shops and water and land transportation links.

After Richter’s notice of motion, which came up at council’s July 11 meeting was not seconded, she decided to arrange a tour anyway. It took place on July 26. Accompanied by planning department head Ramin Seifi, planner Stephen Richardson and administrator Mark Bakken, Richter arranged the trip to see what makes some housing “outstanding” and what it is about others that raises concerns about sustainability, livability and serviceability.

“It was very useful from the point of view of seeing the way these (subdivisions) look in reality rather than on paper,” she said.

Touring residential developments in Willoughby and Walnut Grove, the four found examples of subdivisions that looked beautiful from the street, but had an internal road network that was very cramped.

There are lessons to be learned from those that show pride of ownership, and those developments which lack that quality, she said.

It’s clear that Langley is going  to continue to develop, she said, adding  that “we just need to ensure it is developed in the right way” where people can walk, play and live safely and enjoyably.