Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Coulter Berry Building Ground-breaking Ceremony in Fort Langley

Sometimes, I get a bit disappointed when I see some of the development projects that are being approved and built in the Township of Langley. While the community has a Sustainability Charter and in theory believes in the transportation hierarchy of walking, cycling, transit, then driving, far too often development projects are still being built for cars and not people in the Township. The perfect example of this is the mixed-use projects around 202nd Street in Walnut Grove that front the street with large surface parking lots.

Last night, I attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the Coulter Berry building project in Fort Langley. This is one project that excites me. This project is truly mixed-used with commercial and residential units. More importantly, the building has ground-level retail the fronts the streets and very minimal surface parking tucked away in the back of the building (the vast majority of parking is provided underground.) The project is designed to put people first. Further, I believe that the Coulter Berry Building will help reinforce Fort Langley as a people-oriented village and strengthen the traditional “Main Street” feel of the commercial core of the community.

One of the things that I was encourage to hear (if not a bit ironic considering Township Council’s track record of approving auto-oriented projects) was to hear Mayor Jack Froese talking about how impressed he was with the Coulter Berry building and its commitment to LEED Gold, street-front retail, and underground parking. I hope that the Coulter Berry building will set the bar higher for development projects in the Township, and that Council will require more projects to put people first in the community.

I took a few pictures from the ground-breaking ceremony which are included below. I look forward to seeing this project completed.


Blair said...


Can you clarify what developments you are talking about when you say "The perfect example of this is the mixed-use projects around 202nd Street in Walnut Grove that front the street with large surface parking lots." I work in the area and for the life of me can't figure which development you are talking about. The only big development around 202nd street in Walnut Grove with a large surface parking lot is the Colossus and it was constructed long before the Sustainability Charter was put in place and a portion of that parking was originally used for the transit park n' ride until it was moved to the ice rink?

Nathan Pachal said...

Thunderbird Village comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

I too am confused Nathan. Thunderbird Village has all it's parking space enclosed inside it's business parameters. None of it fronts on a street. I live nearby and use the services in that village ,(Drug store, Pet food, Pizza parlor and Grocery store etc,) not to mention Tim Horton's every day.

Coulter Berry is a different "kettle of fish" in my mind. As good as it may sound, the variances given them is a foot in the door for future expansion developers. It signals to them that the Township "Sustainability Charter" can be easily circumvented. That fact and the way the Township Council rolled over on the Trinity Western deal signals to me that Langley Township is a place that will eventually become a wasteland of cheap housing and choked with autos.


Nathan Pachal said...

Tuunderbird Village turns it back to the street, and is not a pedestrian priorty place.

Blair said...


Are you serious you clearly are not as familiar with this area as you think? This is one of the most pedestrian-friendly set-ups in Langley. The development was designed to combine shops with the people who live there. While not evident to the casual viewer (people like yourself) the ground-level shopping is combined with a major apartment complex (all the upper levels are apartments with several hundred occupants). Next to the shopping is the condo development (also Thunderbird) with a few hundred more occupants. The parking for the condos and the apartments are both underground and the parking for the shopping is interior with Shoppers on one end, IGA on the other, shops and apartments to the North and the condos to the south. Meanwhile across the street (202) is another large condo complex and a seniors retirement home. The Township has situated over a thousand households within a 5 minute walk of a diversified shopping center, a school and two bus exchanges.

It is precisely the sort of family-friendly, pedestrian-friendly development you should be looking for as it is highly dependent on walk-in traffic since a large proportion of the apartment dwellers depend on transit (with the park n ride at Colossus and the new Carvolth exchange to the south). I know this as their kids attend Dorothy Peacock Elementary which is also across 202. My family walks to Thunderbird from the neighbourhood east of 202 on a regular basis as do many of our neighbours.

Nathan Pachal said...


I used to live in Walnut Grove, and am in that area weekly to visit friends and catch a show. I get their by transit. I walk 202 and 88 regularly which is always a bit more of an adventure than it needs to be.

If you believe this is the most walkable area of Langley, then we will have to agree to disagree.

The area is certainly better than the Langley Bypass, but it is still auto-oriented.

Blair said...

I did not say the entire area is the most walkable I said that Thunderbird is designed as a walkable centre with housing directly associated with the necessary services and transit. The have low and middle income housing right next to the stores they need as well as a school and recreation facilities, all within an easy walking distance.