Editor: I could not believe what I found in my mailbox — an envelope emblazoned with large letters “If you love Fort Langley as much as we do, you should read this. (Re: Coulter Berry).”
I was extremely curious about what this could be. Imagine my surprise that it was directly from the owner of Coulter Berry development, Eric Woodward. I started to read this with interest.
It was outlining much of what I’d heard before from his perspective, but then my eyes hit the main point. I’ll quote it here:
“Unfortunately, the stakes are now much higher than the approval of a single building. As a village, we now face the possibility of the Coulter Berry site remaining as it is today for many years, regardless of council’s first approval, an appeal, or widespread community support. If those opposed to Coulter Berry 2.0 succeed, or delay a reapproval until next year, the Coulter Berry project will financially collapse. A resolution to that could take years. With a half-acre hole already excavated, etc.”
As a developer who already owned many other properties in the downtown core, Woodward knew the bylaws in place about building height within a Heritage Conservation Area before he bought this property. He gambled that he could get variances through to allow his 44,000-square foot, three-storey building built right up to almost the property lines and sidewalks.
He almost did get those variances, until council was told by a B.C. Supreme Court Judge that it did not have legal right to allow such a large increase in density, and all work was legally stopped.
So now the developer comes to me and my neighbours and basically threatens that we either support him or that eyesore of a hole he dug will stay as it is “for many years.” Let’s not forget that he knew the lawsuit was launched on July 5, a month and a half before his ground-breaking ceremony on Aug. 20, 2013. He was gambling again that he could get this through.
I am completely shocked at the audacity, to tell me that I have to support him, if I love Fort Langley as much as he does.