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Editorial — Reflection on court ruling is needed
Langley Township’s rebuke in B.C. Supreme Court over the heritage alteration permit it issued to allow construction of the Coulter Berry building in Fort Langley should prompt some reflection by council and staff.
The ongoing opposition to the building has been driven by a number of factors. Some believe it is too large for Fort Langley’s main street. Others believe it does not fit in with the heritage theme of Fort Langley. Others believe it was designed just for visitors, and will not make it possible for local residents to do more shopping in town.
The building was approved by council, in an 8-1 vote, because councillors accepted the arguments that it would bring with it more parking, more retail and office space, and that it fits in with Fort Langley’s heritage theme.
While there are many people opposed, there are also many in favour.
Fort Langley cannot remain in a vacuum, whether that vacuum is the late 1800s, the mid-20th century or the 2010s. Like any vibrant community, it is constantly changing.
What it does offer is a unique emphasis on heritage. As the first capital of B.C., and the location of a national historic site, it has something no other B.C. community can offer.
It also has passionate residents and enthusiastic business people — a big positive for any community.
If the Coulter Berry building is violating heritage guidelines, perhaps it is time to revisit the guidelines, which were drawn up 20 years ago.
At the same time, the voices of those who want to see more shops and services for village residents must be heeded. Tourism is good for the economy, but a well-balanced community doesn’t forget its own residents.