Jackie Mandzak, a resident of Brookswood, is seeking a seat on Langley Township council.
She and her husband moved to Brookswood six years ago with their young son and a baby on the way. Reminiscent of the neighbourhoods they had grown up in, they chose this part of Langley for its community feel, easy access to amenities, and natural beauty. With two young children now in school, she is president of the school Parent Advisory Council.
She was involved in the public hearing, council meetings, and other rallies to bring the community of Brookswood/Fernridge out in great numbers to speak against the now-defeated OCP.
Her background also includes volunteering and working for non-profits, working as a trainer/facilitator in both the private and public sectors, and many years serving as a strata council member.
Currently working as a mediator and informal conflict management advisor, she believes strongly in collaborative efforts to resolve issues and aims to bring that to the council chambers. Her campaign platform has an over-reaching theme of accountability to the current residents of the Township. In her view, their needs must come first and listening to what they have to say is paramount.
There are six objectives in her campaign platform: Responsible Development, Keeping Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) lands in the ALR, Environmental Protection, Safer Communities, Fiscal Responsibility and Community Input.
In her view, each part of the Township is unique and the growth of each of these communities must be respectful both to its current residents and to the heritage of the overall community. Those residents, along with anyone else impacted by changes to Official Community Plans (OCPs), Neighbourhood Plans, variance proposals and any other development, must have a greater say in how their chosen place of living evolves. When looking at growth, it is important to remember that, first and foremost, an established community already exists and they need to be involved.
With the growth projections of the Township surpassing all other Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities over the next 30 years, she believes council must have a plan to see this happen in a controlled, respectful and responsible way. Planning should also include ecological assessments that come from a third party source, and be made available to the public prior to ratification of development proposals. Agricultural land should not be a target for development.
She supports addressing infrastructure deficiencies, including the need for schools and parking in Willoughby and a visible fixed plan for a recreation centre in Aldergrove, before increased new development.
“Until we can fix what isn’t working, we shouldn’t be encouraging families to move to new developments in the Township of Langley only to find that they don’t have supportive infrastructure in place,” she says.
She supports a review of police, fire and rescue, and community safety outreach programs to ensure that adequate staffing, training and equipment are in place for the protection of residents and businesses, while also empowering them through education to be active in protecting themselves and their property.
Fiscal responsibility is a mandate of the council. With finite funds and rising costs, the Township is forced to do more with less. In order to fund all of the needed projections for the Township, she will work with the public, businesses, other agencies and staff to ensure that plans are in place to reach those goals with a clearly defined timeline and a well scrutinized budget.
A full explanation of her platform can be found at www.jackiemandzak.com.