A family member of a former landowner still wants to see a park on land that could now be developed into Langley Township’s second cohousing complex.
Lawrence Janzen was the only person to raise any issues at an Oct. 4 publich hearing on the planned Compass Cohousing project, which has been proposed for a lot near 66th Avenue on 203rd Street, not far from the Township Civic Facility.
“I’m not against cohousing,” said Janzen.
But he said that when his parents sold the site to the Township, they had thought it would be developed into a park, to be dubbed Shalom Janzen Park.
It was Janzen’s mother’s wish to see that land become a park, he said.
“It was her dream to make that, so that people can go there and have a place of peace, and rest.”
Laurence Janzen still lives on the site, as some family members have done since the lot was sold to the Township back in 2003.
Some Janzen family members have since objected to the Compass plan to build a 40-unit cohousing project.
In 2019, Cassandra Janzen started a petition online to turn the land into a park, but it only gathered 119 signatures.
According to Compass Cohousing, they were in touch with family of the previous owner, and spoke to them about their plans for a non-profit housing community.
Laurence acknowledged that the family simply requested the land become a park. There was never a signed agreement to that effect, Township staff have previously confirmed.
The other speakers were potential future residents of the cohousing project, or supporters in the community.
“I believe that people do better when they work together,” said John Frederickson, one of the speakers and a potential owner.
Dan Collins, CEO of Inclusion Langley Society, was also in favour.
“We’ve had a connection with the project since its inception,” he said.
Inclusion Langley works with people with intellectual disabilities, as well as with people on the autism spectrum.
Collins said he’s delighted to support individuals who may become residents of the proposed project – at least one family Inclusion supports is looking at buying a unit in the new development.
Cohousing is housing in which the owners come together before the project begins and work together to act as their own developer, taking an active hand in designing the project, and in managing it after it is finished. This project has been designed with a number of environmentally friendly measures, including infrastructure to support electric car chargers and solar panels in the future.
Cohousing projects are aimed at fostering more ongoing participation and community than typical condo or townhouse strata projects.
Langley’s first cohousing project, Windsong in Walnut Grove, was built in the 1990s and was one of the first such projects in B.C. If approved, Compass will be Langley’s second.