1 – What is the most important issue facing the Township, and how would you propose to deal with it?
Unbridled growth is the number one issue facing Langley Township, and it has caused most of the problems we currently have. With 4,400 new housing units in Willoughby in three years and almost 10,000 new units in six years, it is just not sustainable. There are not enough schools for all the new children, not enough primary health care for all the new families, not enough parking for all the new high density developments and definitely not enough transit. This Willoughby experiment is currently failing and needs to be fixed. We need to slow development down and revisit what has been done to date, and more importantly, figure out how to proceed without further damaging the fabric of what makes Langley special.
2 – Should there be restrictions on development in Willoughby until the situation regarding funding for new schools has been resolved?
Yes. In addition, heath care infrastructure, especially the LMH Emergency Room, also needs to be addressed along with schools. We cannot keep bringing new people to this community without the proper infrastructure needed to support them.
3 – Do you support a pool and recreation centre complex in Aldergrove, and if so, when should construction begin? If not, why not?
Yes. I strongly support a new pool in Aldergrove and further I support this pool being built and opened in the next term (by 2018 at the latest).
This new pool and recreation centre has been needed for the last decade in order to support the youth and seniors in Aldergrove. I think it has been very sad and unfortunate that the current council has used this pool as a political football over the last three years. They keep punting it back to staff with no real political will to make it happen, yet the majority on the current council made sure that an $8 million expansion to the Langley Events Centre occurred. This was not budgeted for or publicly vetted. How interesting that this LEC expansion was built and the ribbon cut in less than a year. Meanwhile, Aldergrove continues to be subjected to study after study on a new pool.
This past summer, the Aldergrove outdoor pool was closed several times during peak usage periods to the detriment of all the youth in Aldergrove. The current mayor used land sales as the excuse for not building a new pool, yet this council has not set up a savings account for a new pool and seems intent on pursuing their own personal ‘hobby horses’ which includes a new arena on the proposed pool site that many Aldergrove residents have made clear they do not want. They like their existing arena.
Where there is a political will, there is a political way. It’s clear to me that neither political will nor way has existed on the part of the current Township council relative to this pool. So Aldergrove’s youth and seniors continue to suffer without adequate and needed recreation and health care facilities.
4 – What type of development, if any, should be encouraged in a new community plan for Brookswood and Fernridge?
Higher density along 200 Street, which is to be a transit corridor, is probably a good thing but 4,000 square foot lots behind this higher 200 Street density are not. Quarter-acre lots which allow for tree retention and large backyards that children can play in are good. Four thousand square foot lots are not good and will result in massive removal of significant coniferous trees.
Only three per cent of all of the land in Langley Township is home to coniferous forests. Approximately 50 per cent of these important forests are located in Brookswood/Fernridge. If we allow clear-cutting in Brookswood/Fernridge in order to accommodate high-density Willoughby-type development, then our community will lose half of the coniferous forests that we currently have and enjoy for natural beauty, wildlife and air quality. Loss of this habitat will also have a significant and negative impact on the shallow, unconfined Brookswood aquifer.
In my opinion, the loss of these forests will permanently and irrevocably change the character of Brookswood/Fernridge. I think we “need to leave the ‘wood’ in Brookswood,” but all the area residents deserve the final say on this.