To: Township of Langley Council,
Public consultation process for the three new Brookswood Fernridge Neighbourhood Plans
Amid much controversy, the Brookswood Fernridge Community Plan was adopted in 2017. Subsequently, council determined that comprehensive neighbourhood plans would be prepared concurrently for three neighbourhoods, Rinn, Booth and Fernridge. Neighbour planning teams were established for each area and some public workshops were held.
Now in February of 2022 the three draft community plans have made available to the community along with an announcement that all future opportunities for public input will be of a virtual nature with no public meetings scheduled and no opportunity to meet with planners, review a physical representation of the planning proposals and provide in person feedback on progress to date.
Council should remember that the residents have suffered through more than two years of COVID and are eager to return to normality which includes interacting with others on a personal, in person manner. In addition, there are many in the community do not comfortably use computers nor are they used to relying on computer interaction or phone interviews as a means of effectively communicating with planners.
The draft neighbourhood plans are certainly available online, but they are long, (hundreds of pages) detailed, complex and involve some new development and land use planning concepts that many will find difficult to absorb and understand. For example, in the Booth Neighbourhood Plan it notes that there will be seven different forms of construction permitted within “Single Family 3 SF-3” zoned areas including four entirely new categories. In addition the locations and percentages of these various building types are not specifically shown within the “Single Family 3 SF-3” areas for the Booth Neighbourhood Plan.
It is important therefore, that the proposed public consultation for these neighbourhood plans include public in-person presentations on each plan, with an opportunity to interact with planners, view visuals of the plans, ask questions an provide feedback on whether or not these plans meet the needs and expectations of the community. Certainly, those attending should be required to wear masks in accordance with provincial COVID protocols.
It is assumed that any feedback would be considered and where applicable, incorporated into a final plan or plans for approval of council and yet there appears to be little opportunity to review the final proposals before they are presented to council. Once the final drafts of these plans are produced and before council, a meeting location of sufficient size should be selected to enable residents to attend the council meeting and voice their views on the new plans under consideration
In addition, the community will require discussions with current members of council to determine what steps will be taken before and during construction to mitigate and minimize disruptions and inconveniences to those who will be impacted by the development of these new areas.
Wayne Crossen and Bob Langston, Brookswood
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