The new Langley Township council plans to re-imagine the 200th Street corridor in Willoughby, aiming it towards a future of walkable, transit-oriented communities.
At the Dec. 12 meeting, council passed a motion to start the planning and consultation process. The first step is to create the terms of reference to start work on a new land use plan, to be called 200 Street 2040.
The area targeted is the long strip of land running from the north edge of the 200th Street interchange, down to the Willowbrook area in the south
“The intent behind the effort is to make the most of the opportunity that the 200th Street corridor represents, with an updated vision of what we as a community and council want to see there,” said Mayor Eric Woodward, who put forward the motion jointly with independent Councillor Michael Pratt.
Woodward said they envision development that’s oriented towards transit, including the expected Bus Rapid Transit TransLink has pledged to build down 200th Street within the next five years.
Bus Rapid Transit would put buses down dedicated lanes in the center of 200th Street, meaning they won’t get gridlocked by traffic at rush hour. Similar Bus Rapid Transit Lines are contemplated in other areas of the Lower Mainland.
“I think it is a generational opportunity,” Pratt said.
He noted that there are multiple lifestyle options among the Township’s neighbourhoods.
“But I truly believe that one thing we are missing is a truly vibrant, urban destination area within our Township for people who want that opportunity,” Pratt said.
Although there are no specifics yet, the vision is for denser development, mixed-use development, more green space, childcare spaces, and more walkable neighbourhoods than have so far been built along 200th Street. Woodward also said he hoped it would allow for more community amenity contributions (CACs) to benefit the Township.
The vote to create the terms of reference was opposed by Coun. Kim Richter.
“I will not be supporting this,” she said. “If the intent is to make 200th Street walkable, I think that ship has sailed.”
Woodward and Pratt noted there had already been development along the corridor.
Development on the east side of the street has included the Langley Events Centre and an increasing amount of housing, including condos and townhouses, with a pair of Langley’s first residential towers currently under construction near 84th Avenue.
On the west side, there are office parks north of 80th Avenue, and some condos, but much of the land remains undeveloped.
In the New Year, staff will come back with the outline of a plan for consulting with residents, working with TransLink and the provincial government, to update the land use policies. The terms of reference will include a budget for creating the plan.
If the council approves of the terms of reference, things will move forward into the next phase. No land use changes will be set in stone until after that.
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