Thursday, March 28, 2013

Open House results for Brookswood/Fernridge

As I posted in January, the Township of Langley is in the process of updating the Brookswood/Fernridge Community Plan. The Township started the process with a series of workshops late last year to gather feedback on what people’s visions were for the community. Around 500 people attended the workshops. Based on feedback from the workshops, three different concepts for the future of Brookwood/Fernridge were developed.

These concepts were presented at an open house at the end of January, and the Township recently released the results. About 600 people attended the open house and 542 provided feedback.

The first concept that the Township wanted feedback on was housing options. Option 1 would result in large lots being evenly distributed across the community with a small number of multi-acre estates remaining in the east. Option 1 is essential business as usual. Option 2 would focus growth on four main intersections, with density decreasing further out from each of the main intersections. Option 3 would be the same as option 2 but with additional density along corridors.

Responses to Housing Options. Click Image to Enlarge.

About half the people who provided feedback chose option 1 while the remaining were split between options 2 and 3. The reason given for selecting option 1 was concern that increased density would bring crime, overcrowding, congestion--basically the normal worries people have with change. People picked options 2 and 3 because they wanted to provide a variety of housing options to allow young families to move into the area, and also provide “age-in-place” options for seniors that live in the area. People also picked options 2 and 3 because they wanted to see improved services, amenities, and transit in the area.

The second concept that the Township wanted feedback on was on the environment, parks, and open space. Option 1 would focus on creating many local parks. Option 2 would focus on creating a few large consolidated parks. Option 3 would focus on enhancing the community trail system.

Responses to Environment, Parks and Open Space Options. Click Image to Enlarge.

Feedback was split relatively evenly around the three options. It is interesting to note that there was strong support to connect parks with trails, even for people that picked options 1 and 2. In general, people want to maintain the natural feel of Brookswood/ Fernridge, and want to see that reflected in the community plan.

The third key concept that the Township wanted feedback on was where to locate commercial shopping areas in Brookwood/Fernridge. Option 1 would focus growth with the existing commercial areas. Option 2 would distribute service throughout the community. Option 3 would focus growth in existing commercial areas, but would also create a new area at 32 Ave and 200th Street.

Responses to Commercial Service Options. Click Image to Enlarge.

Over 80% of the respondents picked options 1 and 3, which focus growth mainly in existing areas. The overall theme from the feedback received was to keep strip malls and big-box development out of the community. Also, there was a strong desire to make the areas accessible and pedestrian friendly. Interesting enough, the sorts of commercial areas that people at the open house wanted could only be supported by picking housing options 2 and 3 which would focus density in the commercial areas.

The Township also asked two other questions that they wanted feedback on. When asked if people would support business parks in southwest Brookswood, 67% of the respondents from the open house said no. Given the fact that Surrey has the Campbell Heights Business Park directly to the west, which is about the same size as Brookswood, I can see why people would not see the need for more business parks.

Finally, the Township asked for feedback on transportation in Brookwood/Fernridge. People who attended the open house overall supported the current transportation plan, but wanted to see improved transit service and improved cycling facilities, like dedicated bike lanes.

The next step for the Township will be to start work on the development of the preferred community plan.

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