It's been just about a week since the residents of the Township of Langley elected a new Mayor and Council for the 2022-2026 Term, and I am still humbled by the support of over 8,300 residents who voted to elect me to my first term on Council.
However, I realize that these votes still represent only 32% of the total votes cast and only 9% of all registered voters. With these numbers in mind, it will be my priority to help govern for all residents of the Township, not just those whose support I received. Over the course of the next four years, I'll be working to connect with a broad spectrum of residents to help folks realize the importance of our local government.
This blog is a small step in that direction. Taking a page out of the book of my friend, newly elected City of Langley Mayor Nathan Pachal, I'll be publishing a regular blog to keep residents informed of what is happening with their local government (when possible and following all rules set out in the Community Charter). My hope is through this small act, we can increase the transparency and increase the accessibility that residents have to their public servants. After all, that's what we've been elected to do: serve.
Heading into the next four years, I - along with the seven other Councillors and the Mayor - clearly have our work cut out for us. As one of the only three independents elected to Council, and the only independent non-incumbent, accomplishing any of the items I campaigned on will require significant collaboration and a focus on the merits of any given idea.
There were six main priorities that I campaigned on:
Permanently solving North Langley's water crisis.
Initiating a new Master Transportation Plan with community engagement included from the start of the process.
Creating a holistic, long-term strategy for the use or disbursement of Township-owned properties.
Ensuring the Tree Protection Bylaw applies to development sites.
Ensure the Fire Department has the staffing it needs to meet local and international standards in order to keep residents safe.
Create a Community Planning Department separate from the Development Services Department.
With the support of the rest of Council, it's my sincere hope that these priorities can be achieved. While these will be the main issues that I will be working towards solving over the next four years, there are several other initiatives or ideas that I would like to see implemented:
Work towards 10-minute bus headways between Aldergrove and Langley Centre by working to ensure there are HOV/Bus Lanes on a widened Fraser Highway,
Protected bike lanes with improved transit accessibility along every major arterial road in the Township,
Integration of Inclusionary Zoning into the Township's Community Plans,
Integration of mixed-use requirements in all large multifamily developments,
An expanded public library in Downtown Aldergrove and the creation of Neighbourhood Houses there and in other neighbourhoods within the Township,
Creation of a Private Industry Council modelled on the City of Boston's, to help connect Langley's youth and underemployed to local careers,
Work to ensure Rapid Transit is extended beyond Downtown Langley and into Brookswood and the Campbell Heights area of Surrey, in order to better connect thousands of jobs with our residents,
Work to ensure every community has a large, natural park within walking, biking, or 10-minute busing distance so that more of our residents living in dense areas have access to nature,
Create a pedestrianized, accessible entertainment district so that Township residents can spend more time enjoying life in Langley and less time commuting, and;
Explore options for bringing transit access to Gloucester Estates.
This is undoubtedly an ambitious list for a first-term Councillor who is only one vote out of nine. However, as I said many times during the campaign, it is a privilege to have the opportunity to work over the next four years to bring new ideas to the table. While I hope to build support for all of these ideas, I completely understand and am prepared for many of these ideas not coming to fruition. However, I believe it is time we think big.
I'm very much looking forward to working with this new Mayor and Council, and I'll be working every single day to make sure that each of the votes I received was deserved. That work has already begun.