First there was the lane to nowhere. Now there is a road to nowhere, through heritage.
For those that don't know, in addition to a boutique hotel for Fort Langley, we also proposed Glover Road West for the west side of Glover Road to replace the derelict buildings there. With that, we want to fully restore and renovate the "Fort Grocery" building from 1915, hopefully with permanent heritage recognition and formal bylaw protection.
However, for the proposal to proceed further, the Township of Langley staff have required that we must create a new four way intersection at Glover Road and Mary Avenue. This would include a new road through the Fort Grocery building where it has been for over 100 years, now Country Lane Antiques. The road will curve and thin to connect to the existing lane next to the Fort Langley Community Hall.
Township staff are requiring that one of the only two remaining commercial heritage buildings inside the Heritage Conservation Area be relocated (and the proposal scrapped) to accommodate a new road that leads absolutely nowhere, serves no purpose, and addresses no real need. It will terminate into a lane behind for decades, not even reaching McBride until a new road dedication is apparently also taken from the townhouses in behind decades from now, if ever.
In addition, the lane we proposed at the rear, which we were told would need to go from McBride Lane to Mavis Avenue in a straight line, is now required to exit onto McBride Street across from McBride Station, a TLR 13 lane again, a municipal lane which will again not permit underground parking beneath the lots facing McBride Street. We will likely have to remove these lots from any consolidated proposal, and the underground parking there, otherwise impossible if not combined with the commercial property along Glover Road.
A new, full intersection through the Fort Grocery permanently alters the pedestrian character of the street grid in the heart of Fort Langley, affects the interface to the Fort Langley Community Hall, all for an unnecessary road to nowhere, all arbitrarily decided by a handful of Township of Langley staff with zero public consultation, and without any technical justification.
Why is Fort Langley's heritage and streetscape character secondary to making our village look like Willoughby on a map for the sake of it? As In Willoughby shall go Fort Langley, where, apparently, no lane is long enough, no road wide enough.
Our recent "white flag" bottom line is now hopefully more clear to all: the Township of Langley is completely squandering the immense opportunity for great design our consolidations represent to all of Fort Langley — including hundreds of new parking stalls underground, amazing for our small village setting. We see no path forward, given that no one that can will do anything about what is going on.
In the Township of Langley that nothing seems to matter more than lanes and roads as the key determinant of design, even where legitimate heritage is concerned. Cars matter more than people, even in a pedestrian village setting like Fort Langley. Are we not even permitted to restore a legitimate heritage building in its original location?
I posted on social media a few days ago explaining why we can no longer advocate for the developments we have proposed in Fort Langley. We have now posted a letter to all Fort Langley residents as well. That letter is provided below and I will let it speak for itself.
Countless people ask us one simple question these days, over and over again: what is going on with the boutique hotel proposal? With no exaggeration needed, I literally get asked about the lane to nowhere vs. the boutique hotel each and every day. I don't know of anyone — except for Township of Langley staff — that prefers the unnecessary lane to nowhere for garbage trucks over the proposal boutique hotel and public courtyard.
Despite the roadblocks, I still believe the proposal is great, and worth fighting for — Fort Langley needs and deserves the area's first boutique hotel. Because of that, for the past several months, perhaps pointlessly and foolishly, I have been working on a new, better version of the courtyard. The first version was simply not good enough. I replaced the previous landscape architect with a new firm, and the result has been worth the wait. I think the result speaks for itself.
Following up on the boutique hotel proposal and a cool small building, we are releasing the draft concept for what we call Glover Road West — the west side of Glover Road from the boutique hotel to Coulter Berry. It is a concept for public consultation and feedback, which will get underway again within the next several months, sometime this fall.
We have worked on the proposal for almost a year, and I hope it shows.
Sometimes two is better than three. Today, we are unveiling a no variance two story proposal to replace the building at 9180 Glover Road, just across the street from Eighteen 27: small, modest, different, beautiful.
The proposed design is inspired by Lelem Café, with a dramatic use of glass, wood details, and traditional metal and concrete materials. Aged steel and board formed concrete create an appearance of age and historic techniques, to appear as a historic building building recently renovated. And the result is beautiful, simple, and real.
Did you know that there is not just one lane to nowhere, but two, with one at Francis Avenue as well, extracted from the Lily Terrace development?
Solution #3: proper planning for an exit to the Francis Avenue lane to nowhere, not through the middle of Fort Langley's boutique hotel. We will provide a solution so it might actually be able to go somewhere someday.
The second of three solutions we have — to fight the unnecessary lane to nowhere for garbage trucks — is two loading zones where only one is required.
We have one loading zone on each side of the entry, with one directly in front of the garbage room for the shipping & receiving of compactors, which means there is no need for garbage trucks.
The first of three solutions we have — to fight the unnecessary lane to nowhere for garbage trucks — is compaction. We have designed the garbage room with plenty of width and space to provide two low profile stationary compactors to remove the need for garbage trucks entirely.
Each compaction compartment holds 3 times the equivalent volume of a standard bin requiring less frequent collection.
Countless people have been asking for an update on Fort Langley's boutique hotel proposal, unveiled one year ago. When does construction start! Is it approved yet?
Not quite! Township of Langley planning and transportation staff have formally responded to the boutique hotel proposal by demanding a municipal lane through the middle of the courtyard plaza. A municipal lane cannot be over underground parking, and cannot be covered.