Langley City Hall oversees a fast-growing community. (Langley Advance Times files)

Langley City Hall oversees a fast-growing community. (Langley Advance Times files)

OUR VIEWS: Langley is a pretty big small town, with growing clout

We’re getting more powerful. What do we do with that?

The paradox of Langley is that people who move here often say they want that “small town” or rural feeling.

The end result of that has been a community with a combined population, including City and Township, that’s somewhere around 160,000 people, and it’s been growing even faster during the pandemic.

That’s pretty big for that small town feel.

Looking at the real estate numbers and the patterns of development in Metro Vancouver, it seems that the pandemic has only supercharged the trends that were already in place – people desperate to find space for growing families or to move closer to greenery and farmland have been flooding in.

That’s about to matter quite a lot, because the Canadian Census starts next month.

The census will mean realignments in provincial and federal riding boundaries, it will mean a rebalancing in everything from how many seats Langley gets on regional organizations like TransLink to how important the fate of our local economy is in distant Ottawa.

Langley is no Vancouver, and it’s no Surrey, but it’s in the next rank of cities now in B.C.

Before the official census numbers come back, it might be a good idea to consider a couple of things about our status as one of the fastest-growing communities in B.C.

What kind of a community do we want to be? Do we want to be a place where people live and play, or do we want to keep expanding our commercial and industrial capacity, generating jobs as fast as we generate new residents? What about cultural amenities, like live performance spaces, public or for-profit? How important is it to have more public squares and gathering places, especially considering how many and varied our neighbourhoods are?

If you have strong feelings about any of these decisions, you’d better let your mayor and council know soon. Langley’s already a pretty big small town.

– M.C.

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