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IN OUR VIEW: High speed government in Langley Township

The new council is operating at a faster pace than anyone’s seen in decades
Mayor Eric Woodward was officially sworn in on Monday, Nov. 7 in the Langley Township council chambers. (Langley Advance Times files)

As of the day this newspaper arrives on doorsteps, there will have been just three regular council meetings held since the new council was sworn in.

During that time, they’ve sped through about a year’s worth of agenda items, by the standards of previous councils.

Among other things, the new council, headed by Mayor Eric Woodward and his Contract with Langley slate, have started planning for a new pool, a new ice rink, a new soccer facility, and a new performing arts space. They’re adjusting policy on development. They’re planning to finish widening and building sidewalks on multiple sections of roads in Willoughby. They’re looking at making 200th Street development more transit-focused.

They’re also looking to delay, cancel, or modify multiple projects started by previous councils to make way for these new priorities.

You can’t fault Contract with Langley for not sticking to their promises. If anything, they seem to be trying to speedrun through their entire campaign platform as fast as humanly possible.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s disorienting for anyone who’s paid attention to our local councils over the last few decades.

If you had to pick a word to describe how council made decisions, “fast” would be near the bottom of the list.

The advantage is that people will get what they voted for – quick action on a number of fronts, including urgently needed infrastructure updates. Too often, the Township has waited for report after report, and lengthy rounds of public consultation, before building worthwhile amenities.

But there are times when local governments have to slow down, or pause, or even go into reverse. Knowing what should be done swiftly, and what has to be done slowly, is one of the hardest political skills for any council to master.

– M.C.

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