Close to 7,000 residents of the City and Township have signed petitions asking the two councils to commission a study about the merits and drawbacks of Langley reunification.
The signed petitions were delivered to the respective city halls on Tuesday morning. Members of Langley Reunification Association have been collecting the signatures over the past six months.
The petitions request the two councils work together and commission “an independent study of the feasibility of reunification as one municipality.”
LRA president Rian Martin said there has never been an independent, comprehensive analysis of the two Langleys, with the full co-operation of both municipalities, since Langley Prairie left the Township to become Langley City in 1955.
The petition to the Township was signed by 3,547 residents, while the petition to the City was signed by 3,176 City residents — about 400 fewer than voted in the 2011 municipal election.
LRA vice-president Matt Offer, a City resident, said an independent study is needed to see if it makes sense to have two Langleys or just one.
“Let’s get the facts,” he said, “We have no empirical data. No independent study has been done,”
The City issued a pre-emptive report on amalgamation in July, just as the petition drive was getting underway. The report by administrator Francis Cheung came to the conclusion that amalgamation would end up costing taxpayers more money, and City residents would not receive as high a level of service. City council unanimously endorsed Cheung’s report and has stated it would not partcipate in a study.
Martin is hopeful that the City will not ignore the petition. He said politicians cannot ignore the fact that a significant number of City residents have asked for an independent study.
Asked about the cost, he noted that it could range from $30,000 to $70,000, depending on the terms of reference. The LRA points out that the cost can’t be an issue with the City, as it has been considering spending up to $600,000 on directional signs to guide people to the downtown business area.
In past public comments, members of Langley Township council has been generally favourable to a study.
LRA executive members, five each from the City and Township, emphasize that they are not asking for reunification of the two Langleys — only for an independent study to look at all the pros and cons of having one Langley or two Langleys.
More details are available on the group’s website, www.onelangley.ca.