Thursday, January 3, 2013

North East Gordon Neighbourhood Update

One of the exciting things for me in the Township of Langley is the gradual transformation of Willoughby. When Willoughby was originally planned, it was basically an area of urban residential, business parks, and a few commercial nodes for strip malls. As the Willoughby has built out and neighbourhood plans been approved, it has become more mixed-use and pedestrian-friendly.

Some of the area plans that could transform Willoughby into a complete community are the proposed high street along 86th Avenue between 200th Street and 208th Street, the proposed Willoughby Town Centre near 80th Avenue and 208th Street, and now the proposed update to the North East Gordon Neighbourhood plan which is also along 208th Street. What I find interesting is that Township Council’s idea was to make 200th Street the major higher-density, mixed-use corridor for the community, but in reality it has turned into a big highway with strip malls and lower-density housing. 208th Street is actually become the urban corridor for Willoughby and is closer to the vision once held for 200th Street.

Original Plan for North East Gordon Neighbourhood in Willoughby. Click Image to Enlarge.

The latest neighbourhood to see a potential update is the North East Gordon Neighbourhood. The update process started back in 2009 and included a design charrette with the community. What came out of that process was a neighbourhood plan that includes a variety of housing options from single-family housing, to row houses, townhouses, and apartments. The preferred plan also includes live-work units and a mixed-use commercial node around 72nd Avenue and 208th Street. It looks like people learned from the commercial node at 72nd Avenue and 200th Street where only one corner turned out pedestrian-friendly (two of the corners are gas stations and another is a strip mall.) The proposed plan for the commercial node around 72nd Avenue and 208th Street will require a minimum of three storey commercial buildings with ground floor retail and will not allow gas stations.

Proposed Plan for North East Gordon Neighbourhood in Willoughby. Click Image to Enlarge.

The plan went to an open house in November 2012 and will likely appear on Council’s agenda for adoption this year. The Township has setup a section on their website with more information about the proposed plan for North East Gordon.

1 comment:

Brad Richert said...

I too have been excited about this plan, as well as several others (including Latimer and Carvolth in the works). However, will our current council bother with enforcing these community plans?

The way the history of voting has gone, developers bring what they want to council and then it is rubber stamped. If these community plans do not work as well with the bottom dollar for specific developers, they will simply be amended as development comes.

Township residents have been repeatedly shocked over the last 5 years with the lack of teeth that these community plans have. For good community plans to be implemented, you need a Mayor and Council with the will to enforce the plans instead of cave everytime push comes to shove.