Caution — Don’t use the ‘A’ word

To some, the reunification of the City and Township of Langley makes sense on many levels, and is inevitable.

To others, the A word is not to be uttered.

“Amalgamation. What a horrible word,” Councillor Grant Ward said during Township council’s discussion of the Economic Development Advisory Committee’s recommendation that amalgamation should be on its work list for 2011.

The committee had recommended that amalgamation take priority over issues including home-based businesses. The majority of council disagreed, making amalgamation the lesser priority.

A motion to eliminate amalgamation from the committee’s work plan altogether was defeated by council on Monday.

The plan is to study the economic impact of amalgamation with the City.

The study, Councillor Steve Ferguson urged, should be carried out with decorum.

The committee’s guidelines rule out the social and political implications of amalgamation, and limit the study to the economic impact alone. Amalgamation task force members are Rian Martin, John Graham, Kieron Hunt and Aaron Fedora.

“I think it’s an interesting challenge for the committee,” Ferguson said in support of the task force.

Councillor Kim Richter disagreed. “I think basically this is just going to be a waste,” she said, adding that the problem lies not with the Township, but the City.

“We’ll be spinning our wheels until the City elects a council that is interested in looking at it,” Richter said,

The EDAC’s work plan sends the wrong message, Ward said. “The Township has no business even bringing up the topic of amalgamation,” he said.

Amalgamation is the wrong word, Councillor Jordan Bateman said.

“It should be re-unification. A subtle difference,” he said.

“I think this is an important thing to have on the radar,” Bateman said, noting that the recommendation came from volunteers (on the committee) and not mayor and council.

Ferguson said amalgamation should come to a poll which asks: “Do you want one Langley?”

“Make it very simple,” he said. “I think that through decorum we can walk our way back to one Langley, hand in hand.”

Mayor Rick Green said it’s no secret that he supports amalgamation. “But it’s a political issue,” he said.

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