‘Quaint vil­lage’ near river

Calgary Herald New Condos - - Recreation & Investment Properties - CARALYN CAMP­BELL

Asales brochure tags Water­front at Bed­ford Chan­nel with the tall-or­der de­scrip­tion of “stun­ning” — and in this case, it’s tough to ar­gue.

Bed­ford Chan­nel is an idyl­lic me­an­der­ing stem of the Fraser River, ad­ja­cent to the charm­ing vil­lage of Fort Lan­g­ley.

Park­Lane’s Bed­ford Chan­nel is a mi­cro­cosm com­mu­nity, min­utes from all the ameni­ties, yet seem­ingly kilo­me­tres from any­where.

The mas­ter-planned com­mu­nity may be rel­a­tively new — its sales of­fice opened in 2006 — but “it has that quaint vil­lage feel,” says Park­Lane mar­ket­ing man­ager Yosh Kasahara.

“Our goal was to in­clude a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent ar­chi­tec­tural styles and land­scap­ing de­signs to give the ef­fect of a com­mu­nity that has built up over time,” he says.

This 31-hectare par­cel of water­front land is one of the most scenic in the prov­ince and the only de­vel­op­ment bor­dered by a golf course, a river and an ur­ban cen­tre in the Fraser Val­ley.

Bed­ford Chan­nel is the first new-home de­vel­op­ment in Fort Lan­g­ley in decades, and the largest ever. Al­most half the site is ded­i­cated to park­land and green space, with pub­lic trails and walk­ways through­out.

It is a wise builder that se­cures such a site and then de­liv­ers on the vi­sion.

It is a con­fi­dent builder that tar­gets the buyer — aged 45 and older — who has been around the block a few times.

At­ten­tion to de­tail is para­mount to win over down­sizes and emp­tynesters.

Park­Lane has done it here with a host of fea­tures and ameni­ties that in­clude a se­cure garage with a sep­a­rate stor­age/work­shop area, club­house, gym, com­mu­nity cen­tre and water­front trail.

“It is the ideal al­ter­na­tive to the sin­gle-fam­ily home for those looking to down­size and lo­cate close to shops, ser­vices and ameni­ties,” says Kasahara.

“We’re find­ing a lot of the buy­ers are from the Lan­g­ley com­mu­nity. Water­front of­fers the life­style they’re looking for.”

With ex­pan­sive win­dows and gen­er­ous bal­conies, the three­level town houses at Water­front take full ad­van­tage of the view along the chan­nel and across to McMil­lan Is­land and Brae Is­land Re­gional Park — spa­ces that will en­sure that the view will never change.

Taste­fully ap­pointed by i3 De­sign, the re­main­ing town houses range in size from a 1,680-square­foot, two-bed­room unit to a 2,100-square-foot home with three bed­rooms and a den.

Of the 70 apart­ment units, 10 were still avail­able when Westcoast Homes vis­ited.

On the un­sea­son­ably sunny late fall day of our visit, the word tran­quil came to mind.

Fort Lan­g­ley is a pop­u­lar tourist town, and Brae Is­land Re­gional Park has both a camp­ground and The Pad­dling Cen­tre, which rents ca­noes, kayaks and bi­cy­cles.

The chan­nel also hosts ma­jor row­ing com­pe­ti­tions.

“Bed­ford Chan­nel has the po­ten­tial to be one of the best cour­ses in Canada,” says Mike Pearce, the head coach of the Uni­ver­sity of B.C. row­ing team. “They will come to this site. It is a mag­net.”

With its two-kilo­me­tre, Olympic-length stretch of straight chan­nel, the chan­nel is wide enough to ac­com­mo­date a min­i­mum of four lanes, which Pearce says of­fer per­fect racing con­di­tions.

Park­Lane part­nered with the District of Lan­g­ley to build the new Fort Lan­g­ley Pad­dling and Row­ing Cen­tre on Bed­ford Chan­nel, near the site of the old In­ter­for cedar mill, pieces of which have been pre­served through­out the com­mu­nity.

The beams in the Water­front lobby were sal­vaged from the mill and give a nod to the his­tory that is so much a part of Fort Lan­g­ley.

Fort Lan­g­ley is a step back in time. It is a feisty vil­lage of proud res­i­dents that em­braces his­tory, en­cour­ages the arts and in­vites vis­i­tors to ex­plore its funky shops and trea­sure-filled gal­leries.

When we wan­dered into a Gaso­line Al­ley gallery in the vil­lage, we were for­tu­nate to meet one of the vil­lage’s hu­man trea­sures.

Bays Black­hall is the owner of Bellerophon’s An­tiques and Eques­trian Art and surely one of Fort Lan­g­ley’s most pas­sion­ate and knowl­edge­able ad­vo­cates.

A bio in this year’s Burns Bog Awards pro­gram — Black­hall was rec­og­nized for her com­mu­nity lead­er­ship — de­scribes her as “a dy­namic 78-year-old woman and an in­spi­ra­tion to any­one and every­one who shares a pas­sion for na­ture, arts and cul­ture.”

Since 1979, Black­well has worked with the Lan­g­ley Her­itage So­ci­ety mem­bers to see his­tor­i­cal and nat­u­ral sites pre­served.

In 1982, the GVRD pro­posed build­ing a 256-hectare garbage dump on Fort Lan­g­ley’s cran­berry bog to han­dle Van­cou­ver’s garbage. She suc­ceeded in sav­ing this del­i­cate en­vi­ron­men­tal and her­itage site from de­struc­tion.

For 25 years, she has run the Fort Fes­ti­val, pro­mot­ing lo­cal tal­ent and bring­ing world-class artists to the com­mu­nity.

Black­well is a life mem­ber of the Lan­g­ley Com­mu­nity Mu­sic School, and both a fundraiser and vol­un­teer. In her gallery, she pro­motes lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional artists.

One of her most re­ward­ing ac­com­plish­ments was the in­stal­la­tion of Lois Han­nah’s life-size bronze statue of James Dou­glas, B.C.’s first gov­er­nor, out­side the Fort Lan­g­ley Na­tional His­toric Site.

Black­well feels that “mu­sic, art and nat­u­ral his­tory link the peo­ples of the world.”

She also or­ga­nizes an an­nual Fort Lan­g­ley cel­e­bra­tion called Dou­glas Days, which she says is pre­sented “so that work­ing peo­ple and fam­i­lies may join in the fun and en­joy a free day in the fort.”

River views near the project.

Ian Lind­say, Van­cou­ver Sun

Model of the Park­lane Homes Water­front project in Fort Lan­g­ley.

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