The Platform

Keeping Langley Affordable, Livable, and Lively.

For Today and For Tomorrow.

On October 20th we go to the polls to elect a mayor and eight councillors. I am running because I want to be your voice on Council. My goal is to work for the voters and the residents of the Township of Langley, not special interests or specific groups. 

It would be an honour to receive your support and be elected to sit on Council. Building a community that works for all its residents takes not only hard work but also a vision that resonates with everyone - regardless of age or socioeconomics. My focus on Council will be to keep Langley affordable, livable and lively, that's why my election platform is comprised of three parts:

  1. Responsible Development and Infrastructure 
  2. Community Spaces and Services
  3. Homelessness and Public Safety

My unique experiences as a student of Urban Land Economics and Real Estate Development, as well as my plans to achieve a Masters Degree in Regional and Urban Planning, have given me the insights as well as the ideas needed to put forward a platform that is thought-through, community-oriented, and feasible. I believe it's time for Langley Township to have a bold vision for the future, one where our uniqueness as a community is protected and celebrated, but responsible growth and progress is encouraged.  

Responsible Development and Infrastructure

For those of us who currently call Langley home, we need to ensure we build it right. We need to ensure that we build a community that works for those who both live here now, and also for those who will be living here in the future. We need to find the right balance between urban planning and responsible development, while ensuring that the needs of the people in our communities are met. According to the Township's Community plan for Brookswood-Fernridge, there will be approximately 90,000 new residents moving here in the next 25 years. In a community that has 78 percent of its land in the Agricultural Land Reserve, that means we need to plan carefully and use creativity in our plans for how we house people in the Township of Langley. 

Upon taking office, I will:

Begin working with Township staff to develop an updated community plan for Willowbrook, which will be the first area of Langley connected to a rapid-transit network. By finally updating the Willowbrook plan which hasn’t been looked at since 1991, we can plan for more population growth in the core of Langley which has already experienced development. 

I will also:

  • Work hard to overhaul how infrastructure is built in the Township, and to fix what's not working in Willoughby:
    • Having development pay for itself is a good thing, however, this cannot be at the expense of making our infrastructure as patch-work as it is in communities like Willoughby. In my view, there are two other options besides the current method of funding infrastructure projects that could be used:
      • Phased Development - with this system, developers would still pay for and build the roads along their development property, but neighbourhood development would be done in phases. Phase One would occur along the major roads, such as 208th or 200th, and once the designated area had reached a specific completion level, Phase Two could begin in other areas. This way, the most important roads are completed in a less-patchwork fashion, but the developers are still paying. 
      • Borrow and Build - with this system, the Township would be responsible for borrowing the necessary funds to complete the entire infrastructure project, such as the widening of 208th, in one go. This would be done in the earliest stages after a plan is established for the area. For example, once the neighbourhood plans for Brookswood are completed and the major roads are identified, work would begin on widening them to the necessary dimensions. Developers would still pay DCCs, and these would be used to pay back the money that was borrowed to complete the infrastructure project in the first place.
    • If I am elected, I will immediately begin working with Staff, industry experts, and the community to decide on which is the best course of action to take. It is my preference that taxes for residents remain as low as possible, and so that would be one of the most important considerations for me in deciding which system to implement. 
    • This new model for infrastructure construction could be used in other areas of the Township, such as Brookswood-Fernridge, to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place before large-scale development occurs.
  • Immediately begin working with Township staff - and with public input - to implement a Township-wide, non-ALR Tree Protection by-law with respect to the current undeveloped lands in Brookswood and across the Township. While responsible development is necessary for Langley to grow, we need to ensure that what makes Langley unique is not lost, and that the high quality environment we enjoy is preserved.
  • Take great care to ensure that the concerns of citizens are heard throughout the process of creating the Neighbourhood Plans for the Booth, Fernridge, and Rinn neighbourhoods. These communities need to work for the people who live there now while acknowledging the needs of those who will be moving to the area in the future.
  • Examine the elimination of DCCs and/or CACs on developments that propose to build only rental units in order to help increase the supply of affordable housing.

Affordability is an issue that affects every age demographic, from the young people who want to call Langley home to the senior citizens who have built our community and are facing a shortage of affordable housing options. While the municipality cannot itself build the housing we need, we can make it easier for builders to build the housing that's needed in a responsible way. We can also work with private industry to encourage the construction of dedicated seniors housing as well as affordable options in the areas of the Township that are in close proximity to current or future transit hubs, such as Willowbrook or the 200th Street Corridor north of Willowbrook Drive.

When it comes to building Infrastructure in our community, there are five traditional methods of funding a project: 

  1. Borrowing and increasing our debt levels;
  2. Property taxes on residents;
  3. Federal and provincial grants;
  4. User fees, such as tolls on roads, and;
  5. Development Cost Charges.

I've explained above how I believe infrastructure should be built in the future here in the Township, but I still believe that wherever possible, we need to avoid having the costs fall on residents of the Township. This means increasing debt and taxes should only be a last resort. Moreover, since there are so many communities that reach out for Provincial and Federal funding, relying on those sources of funding as a primary way to fund our infrastructure can be problematic if we don’t receive the funding. There’s no guarantee that our community will be the one who receives funding from higher levels of government, so where possible we need to be able to find effective, local ways to pay for the infrastructure we need. That’s why I believe that using Development Cost Charges - negotiated in consultation with the property developers and used to pay back the costs of building the infrastructure before development occurs - is the best method at our disposal.

Community Engagement

Community Engagement cannot simply be a phrase used at election time and then forgotten once Mayor and Council is elected.

Therefore, if I am elected Councillor, I commit to holding a forum with the residents of the Township at least once every three months for the duration of my time on Council. This would be an opportunity for the residents of Langley to hold me to account in person, over and above the opportunity to do so in one-on-one coffee chats as well as online and other occasions. These forums would be open to all, would be held in different neighbourhoods, and I would happily invite other members of Council to attend with me.

I also believe it is important to have real community engagement when it comes to community and neighbourhood planning. We have amazing planning staff in the Township who, if given the opportunity to work with the people who actually live in the communities they are planning, could create world-class plans.

  • Moving forward, I would like to see community committees formed in the earliest stages of the planning process, so that representatives from businesses, service groups, community organizations, residents, and Township staff are all working together to create the community plan. Real engagement with the residents of the community is very important to me, since I plan on calling Langley home for a very long time.

Community Spaces and Services

The George Preston Recreation Centre is currently the only recreation centre for the 13,000 residents of Brookswood-Fernridge, and it will also need to serve the 25,000 new residents that are expected to move into the community at full build-out. In many other municipal jurisdictions, such as the City of Vancouver, developers often contribute the funds required to build capital projects in close proximity to their development.

I believe that Community Amenity Contributions - as does the Urban Development Institute and most industry experts - should be charged to developers who are building in a specific area of the community and then used to fund projects in that area that are built to address the needs of the immediate residents, not the Township as a whole. That’s why upon taking office I will:

  • Work to develop a policy that any new multi-family or commercial development in Brookswood-Fernridge would contain a Community Amenity Contribution to either new public parks or the expansion and maintenance of the George Preston facility.
  • Begin discussions with Township staff and key community groups on the costs, plans, and potential completion of a “Langley Loop” of pedestrian, biking, and equestrian friendly trails and parks. This would create a connected network of green, public space that encircles all of the Township. 
  • Actively support an environment where the Township encourages and promotes local arts festivals, community events, and sporting events of all levels.
    • This includes being vocal in support of, and working towards the construction of a Cultural Centre being built in the Township, which would serve as a hub for the arts in our community and provide needed space for festivals, performances, and other celebrations of Langley's artistic talent.
  • Work with local residents, RCMP, and community groups to initiate a program of community artwork projects at local skate parks which will help users gain a sense of ownership and pride in the parks as well as beautify the area. 
  • Increasing access to primary care in Langley will be critical as more families move to the area and as people age. While Langley Memorial Hospital does an amazing job, it cannot be expected to serve as the 'go-to' place for health care unless its an emergency or a serious medical issue. Working with the Provincial Government in order to increase the number of family doctors and nurses in Langley will be a priority for me. 

Homelessness and Public Safety

Langley has experienced a 124% increase in our homeless population since 2014, and now has the third largest in all of Metro Vancouver. This is an issue that requires all of Langley and to work towards a solution, and it won't be easy, but it is necessary. All of the relevent stakeholders - Langley's residents, both City and Township Council, Crown Corporations, private industry, and community organizations - must be brought together to develop a viable, long-term solution.

Immediately upon taking office, I will:

  • Work to establish a 'Clean Slate' program, similar to that which has been successfully piloted in cities like Fort Worth, Texas.
     
    • Often, one of the challenges those people who are in supportive and transitional housing face is a lack of employment opportunity. The Clean Slate program would help to reduce the barriers to entry for those people who are participating in supportive housing programs, such as the facility that is being considered for the old Quality Inn across from the Home Depot.
    • The program would involve the municipal government working with and providing some funding to community organizations such as Stepping Stone and the Langley Community Services Society to enable them to provide basic employment opportunities to residents, such as cleaning the streets and public spaces of Langley, or other basic employment opportunities. 
    • These opportunities would not only provide some income to these residents that they have earned themselves, but also allow them to add valuable experience to their resumes that they can use as they search for more long-term, higher-paying, and stable employment in their transition out of supportive housing.  

With development coming to Brookswood-Fernridge and our community as a whole, we have to make sure the increase in population is accompanied by an increase in the appropriate services. We have to be forward-thinking and plan our emergency services based on what our Township will become, not just what it is now. Upon taking office, I will:

  • Work to ensure our fire hall in Brookswood is staffed appropriately with the full-time staff required for a community of 39,000 at full build-out.
  • With a rapid-transit line planned for the Willowbrook area, and if the Township permits high-rise development there similar to that at other malls in Metro Vancouver as well as along the 200th Street Corridor, we need to ensure all of our fire halls are supplied with the necessary equipment. 
  • Work to ensure the RCMP have the resources to hire the appropriate number of police officers to properly police the Township's growing population.

In closing, if I earn the privilege of receiving your support, I pledge to work diligently and passionately to keep Langley affordable, livable and lively. For today and for tomorrow.

 


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