It’s time for a change, says Ben Penner, who hopes to bring “a respectful tone to council, working with integrity to bring back the democratic process to the Township,” if he is successful in the Nov. 18 civic election.
With Mayor Rick Green, Penner is running with six other candidates under the Vote Langley Now banner.
“There has been obvious dysfunction within council which is one of the motivating factors for my interest in becoming a member of council,” Penner said.
“My training and years of work experience have provided valuable skills in negotiating, team building, crisis management, policy development, investigating critical incidents, and problem solving; all with a high degree of professionalism, and will bring a stabilizing effect to the new council voted into office.”
He said that a majority of the current councillors have shown disrespect towards voters, particularly over the Mufford overpass, Athenry development and a multi-million dollar payout over the Langley Events Centre.
Saying that councillors must act as stewards of the taxpayers’ money, Penner vows to conduct himself in a manner that is above reproach.
He said that the Township needs sound financial planning that best serves Township residents, and that means zero-based budgeting, evaluating the relevancy of past budget projections to ensure they are still pertinent for the current year’s budget, and consider whether adjustments are needed in relation to the present economic climate.
He supports a property endowment fund to ensure that taxpayers benefit from the use of any property owned by the Township, and says that property tax increases must be limited to the rate of inflation and the cost of living.
Noting that the Township is comprised of six urban communities, and a huge farming community that makes up 75 per cent of the land, Penner said he would support community involvement in the planning of each community area.
Regarding transportation, Penner said that two major transportation corridors — Highway 1 and the railway — present a significant challenge as they cut Langley in half.
“Both of these transportation assets are important regionally, provincially, and nationally,” he said. To reduce traffic chaos, more overpasses are needed that align with the present transportation corridors and have the least impact on agricultural land. Overpasses and roads must have the least impact on agricultural land, and improvements must provide long-term solutions and support public transit.
Penner wants to preserve land within the ALR “that can reasonably be used for agriculture,” and wants to find ways to encourage the use of farm land that is presently not used.
Penner is an assistant deputy warden for the B.C. Corrections Branch, who has an extensive record in volunteer work,