Cooper farm development given green light, despite estate’s concern

Estate of legendary Abbotsford farmer warns that plans to build townhomes over old farm buildings clash with Kathy Cooper's wishes.

By Tyler Olsen | July 28, 2022 |5:00 am

A proposal to redevelop Kathy Cooper’s old farm got the go-ahead from Abbotsford city council Monday, despite a last-minute warning that the a part of the plan before council didn’t abide by the deceased farmers’ wishes.

One of the three executors of Kathy Cooper’s estate told council that building townhouses on the deceased Abbotsford farmer’s homestead would go against her final request. That’s led the developer to pledge to try to rectify the situation.

RELATED: Check out our earlier story on Kathy Cooper, her legacy, and her farm in the middle of downtown Abbotsford.


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While the majority of the project aligned with Cooper’s wishes, executor Chelsey Felling said that wasn’t the case for a zoning change that would have permitted the construction of townhomes on the current site of the farm’s home and outbuildings. That part of the plan would have conflicted with Cooper’s desire that the buildings be preserved to accommodate a small hobby farm.

Felling said the estate’s executors thought they had until Monday to provide their input and felt “blindsided” when, after they communicating Monday that the homesite should remain zoned for hobby farms, the estate was told it was too late to change the plans in such a way.

“We are not able to support the application with the townhouse rezoning,” Felling told council. She said the estate would be further consulting both with the developer and legal counsel.

Polygon Homes vice-president Craig Simms said earlier in the hearing that the project respected Cooper’s wishes as the development was discussed. But with the notice from the estate about the homesite issue, he said Polygon would consider the possibility of installing a covenant that blocks future townhouses from being built on the land.

Mark Neill, the city’s director of development, said the homesite could still be used for its current purposes even if it is rezoned for townhomes. But changing the plans would require a rescheduled public hearing. Neighbours also expressed concerns, primarily about traffic and parking. Some also spoke in favour about the plans, and council unanimously voted to approve the project. (Coun. Ross Siemens was absent.)


Join more than 25,000 other Fraser Valley residents by subscribing to our newsletter. Every weekday morning you’ll get a new feature story and other stories, news, and events from Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley, Mission and the rest of the valley. See a recent newsletter here.

Tyler Olsen

Managing Editor at Fraser Valley Current

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