Langley Advance Times is offering this weekly feature called “At Your Service.”
It’s another forum in which to put questions to our local politicians about key issues facing our community and its residents.
Using a basic question-and-answer format, elected officials will be asked one question at a time and given the opportunity to respond (to a maximum of 250 words) on that said issue.
Alternating between elected groups, Langley City and Langley Township councils, Langley School Board, Langley MLAs, and Langley MPs each have a chance to participate.
The answers provided will be published in their entirety online Sundays.
MOST RECENT – AT YOUR SERVICE: Trustees divided on question of socializing kids
Langley MLAs were asked: How much more work needs to be done to upgrade dikes and provide sufficient flood protection to withstand another atmospheric river, like the one that hit the Fraser Valley more than a year ago?
Abbotsford South MLA Bruce Banman
A. Since the devastating impact of the Sumas Prairie flood in 2021, many farmers and residents are still waiting for the support they expected from the government to help them recover and get back on their feet.
Unfortunately, bureaucracy and red tape with overly cumbersome and lengthy application criteria have made getting the necessary help even more difficult.
As the newly appointed shadow minister for emergency management, climate readiness, and citizens’ services, I’m especially concerned about David Eby and the NDP’s ability to adequately prepare for future climate emergencies and reduce the potential impacts on our communities.
As devastating as the flooding of the Nooksack River was, the elephant in the room is the dike system along the Fraser River, which is at high risk of catastrophic erosion.
This is something I and others have raised alarm bells about, and the province must take immediate steps to repair and upgrade the entire diking system.
If the events of 2021 were to happen again, we would undoubtedly face similar consequences as last time.
The solutions implemented so far are temporary fixes that don’t strengthen our emergency preparedness for future — and likely more intense — scenarios.
We all have an obligation to work together.
As the shadow minister, I look forward to holding the government to account for its promises to help those still trying to recover, and to improve infrastructure so we can avoid a catastrophe of that magnitude or worse again.
Abbotsford West MLA Michael de Jong
A. The atmospheric river of November 2021 caused catastrophic flooding in our community and throughout the province, and the impacts of this disaster can still be felt today.
Vital highways were completely washed out, rail lines destroyed, mudslides trapped people in their vehicles, and metres of water flooded many of our cities.
While the rebuilding efforts have been efficient, and the majority of the public infrastructure restored, many of the individuals and families who were directly impacted by the floods are still working towards recovery.
Unfortunately, some continue to wait for the support that was promised to them more than a year ago.
In the months after the floods, we worked hard to rebuild our communities — but many of us asked ourselves and our government, “what can we do to ensure this never happens again?”
While at the time there was a great deal of talk about upgrading flood protection measures, we haven’t seen the progress on these issues that is necessary to prevent future disasters.
Going forward, we must make flood mitigation a priority for all levels of government, including our neighbours to the south in the United States.
I have spoken with the minister of public safety in the past about the importance of engaging the international joint commission on this issue, and ensuring that both federal governments, as well as provincial, state, and municipal work together to deliver results for those who live in the Fraser Valley.
Langley-East MLA Megan Dykeman
A.Our government knows that climate change means that we may see more climate-related weather events like the atmospheric river that caused mass flooding and landslides in the Fraser Valley, and we’ve been repairing and preparing so that if that happens, we are ready.
So much work has already been done to repair highways, dikes, and other flood infrastructure – and there is more to come.
This year, Premier Eby named Bowinn Ma the first ever minister of emergency management and climate readiness, to help lead cross ministry work that will help prepare us for future emergencies.
Our province is investing in better floodplain mapping and developing a new comprehensive provincial flood strategy and flood resilience plan, The BC Flood Strategy.
I know that for Minister Ma and all people working in government, making our communities more climate resilient is incredibly important.
Langley MLA Andrew Mercier
A. In November of 2021 we were faced with a stark reality on the impacts of climate change.
Since then, our government has been diligently working to prepare for climate-related emergencies.
Between the provincial, federal, and municipal governments in flood-impacted communities, hundreds of millions of dollars for recovery in the Fraser Valley will help prepare for future flood-related emergencies.
This includes making communities more prepared and resilient to disasters through programs like the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund, and by upgrading key flood infrastructure, like diking systems.
The safety of British Columbians is our top priority, and that’s why all our infrastructure plans, including the Surrey-Langley Skytrain and the widening of Highway #1, are being planned and built to be resilient to possible future floods or landslides.
Next week, Langley’s MPs are being asked: How much assistance should the federal government provide for provinces and communities to build more affordable rental accommodations?
Watch for the politicians’ answers online Sundays.
AT YOUR SERVICE: City council weighs in on supervised consumption sites
AT YOUR SERVICE: Langley trustees applaud positives found amid pandemic
AT YOUR SERVICE: Township council weighs in on lack of industrial land
AT YOUR SERVICE: MLAs see feds as partners in SkyTrain to Langley
AT YOUR SERVICE: Creating more housing, on all fronts, critical to stabilization: MPs
AT YOUR SERVICE: Heat wave another call to action – City council
AT YOUR SERVICE: Pools need to be part of Township-wide recreation planning
AT YOUR SERVICE: No current need for year-round schooling in Langley, trustees agree
AT YOUR SERVICE: MLAs suggest staying the course on battling of B.C. wildfire
AT YOUR SERVICE: MPs call for borders to be safely re-opened
AT YOUR SERVICE: Langley City council wants to keep higher density development north of Nicomekl
AT YOUR SERVICE: Passports key to keeping B.C. businesses open, people safe during pandemic
AT YOUR SERVICE: Trustees ponder what kids are missing out on during pandemic
AT YOUR SERVICE: Education should trump rules for vaccination of health-care workers, suggest MLAs
AT YOUR SERVICE: How to handle rising housing prices
AT YOUR SERVICE: City council divided on call for indoor pool
AT YOUR SERVICE: Council ponders vaccine requirements for workers
AT YOUR SERVICE: Skyrocketing enrolment prompts intensified lobby by trustees
AT YOUR SERVICE: Political stripes aside, MLAs agree heat dome was tragic and action required
AT YOUR SERVICE: MPs agree much must be done to right wrongs for Indigenous
AT YOUR SERVICE: Is pay parking in the City a viable consideration?
AT YOUR SERVICE: Some suggest more needed to protect floodplains from development
AT YOUR SERVICE: Monitoring student transport not good use of school district resources – trustees
AT YOUR SERVICE: Liberal caucus floats all-party committee in reaction to emergencies
AT YOUR SERVICE: Langley MPs address issue of rising food costs
AT YOUR SERVICE: Inflation inevitably hits City taxpayers in the pocketbook
AT YOUR SERVICE: Future of Aldergrove core up for debate
AT YOUR SERVICE: Trees and more greenspace at root of climate change solutions
AT YOUR SERVICE: Inflation inevitably hits City taxpayers in the pocketbook
AT YOUR SERVICE: Councillors differ on future of SkyTrain beyond Langley City
AT YOUR SERVICE: Bigger schools not necessarily solution to rising land costs
AT YOUR SERVICE: High gas prices of concern for MLAs of both stripes
AT YOUR SERVICE: Military readiness for climate disasters must be ensured – says one MP; other says army only one piece of bigger puzzle
AT YOUR SERVICE: Empty homes can be safety concern, but not huge concern in City
AT YOUR SERVICE: Most of council content with current pothole repairs
AT YOUR SERVICE: Survey gives school district tools for staff recruitment, retention
AT YOUR SERVICE: Liberal MLAs call for overhaul to B.C.’s student funding model
AT YOUR SERVICE: Canada must continue its support of Ukraine, MPs
AT YOUR SERVICE: Best use of industrial land paramount to Langley City councillors
AT YOUR SERVICE: More ALR land needs to be used for farming: Most of council
AT YOUR SERVICE: Langley is attractive to school staff, but given rapid growth trustees agree more must be done
AT YOUR SERVICE: Local MLAs agree more must be done to make life affordable in B.C.
AT YOUR SERVICE: Federal parties working on multiple fronts to end hate crimes
AT YOUR SERVICE: Langley City ponders cannabis retail policy
AT YOUR SERVICE – Most on council say parks and rec plans address future growth
AT YOUR SERVICE: School district moves forward on reconciliation efforts with Indigenous partners
AT YOUR SERVICE: MLAs agree diking upgrades needed, divided on if enough is being done
AT YOUR SERVICE: Local MPs disagree on whether 2 billion trees can be planted by 2030
AT YOUR SERVICE: In light of SkyTrain coming, Langley City embarks on parking study
AT YOUR SERVICE: Langley Township should consider schools for future cooling centres
AT YOUR SERVICE: Despite challenges, trustees affirm Langley is ready to accept more refugee students as need arises
AT YOUR SERVICE: Opposition MLAs critical of NDP’s affordable housing record
AT YOUR SERVICE: Federal clean energy efforts lauded by MP
AT YOUR SERVICE: MPs debate how feds chose to halt trucker convoy
AT YOUR SERVICE: New Langley City council look for solutions to rising costs
AT YOUR SERVICE – A few Langley Township council members speak to ongoing single-family home demands
MOST RECENT – AT YOUR SERVICE: Trustees hope Santa can deliver more provincial funding this holiday season
AT YOUR SERVICE: Political views aside, MLAs wish residents health and safety this holiday
AT YOUR SERVICE: MPs agree new year’s resolution must focus on inflation
AT YOUR SERVICE: New floodplain report coming to council this spring
AT YOUR SERVICE – Protected bike lanes on key Township roads is encouraged by council