Election 2014: Petrina Arnason answers questions

Township of Langley: Arnason, Petrina- council candidate: She answers The Times' questions.

  • Nov. 6, 2014 8:00 p.m.

1- What is the most important issue facing the Township, and how would you propose to deal with it?

There are a number of important issues facing the Township and therefore it is difficult to focus on just one. However, I believe one of the most pressing problems is the pace of development and excessive density in Willoughby. This has caused serious livability issues that are negatively impacting current residents due to the lack of infrastructure, shortage of schools and other amenities necessary for public safety and resident enjoyment of south slope neighbourhoods. I have publicly stated that if elected I would immediately call for a review of the Willoughby OCP as well as existing and future Neighbourhood Plans. This would be undertaken in conjunction with the formation of a stakeholders task force consisting of Township elected officials, staff, developers, residents, School District #35, Fraser Health, and TransLink. The task force would be charged with reviewing current plans in order to ensure more cohesive co-ordination with those who provide these fundamental services, in order to address these serious deficiencies prior to continuing to densify the area.

2 – Should there be restrictions on development in Willoughby until the situation regarding funding for new schools has been resolved?

Yes. I believe that Township council has a legal and a moral obligation to initiate extensive and ongoing discussions with the local school board and the ministry of education, in order to address the recent announcement regarding a lack of funding for schools in Willoughby. A co-ordinated effort with creative solutions must be sought in order to create a concrete plan which will provide certainty for the influx of new students prior to continuing to densify Willoughby and invite more students into the catchment area.

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 support the construction of an indoor swimming pool in Aldergrove. I further support building a pool of the size that has been consistently identified by the community and the Aldergrove Pool Committee as the most viable for current and future use. This option was rejected due to a study indicating that an 8 lane/50 metre pool could not be accommodated along with a hockey rink and other infrastructure planned for the current site. I strongly believe that Aldergrove has waited far too long for a pool. If elected, I would immediately request a review of the overall plan in order to consider alternate siting of some of the planned facilities in order to accommodate the footprint of the pool envisioned by the Committee. This would be done in conjunction with a review of options to provide immediate pool funding and to identify staged funding for the other infrastructure so that the pool can be delivered as soon as possible.

4- What type of development, if any, should be encouraged in a new community plan for Brookswood and Fernridge?

The Brookswood and Fernridge communities have a unique and enviable quasi-rural environment which supports an attractive lifestyle. This plays into the values of those that choose to live there. Any consideration of revamping their current OCP must therefore seek a community consensus through active engagement with the residents, in order to ensure that they will be satisfied with the results. This process must further consider all environmental amenities including creeks, forests and extant ecosystems, as well as the health of the vulnerable aquifer underlying the area. Any plans must further consider the interests of the manufactured home parks and long-time residents who would be dislocated if development were allowed on their properties. These manufactured home parks provide safe and affordable homes for many seniors as well as a supportive community in which older adults can “age in place.” In light of the preceding, if elected I would support a cautionary approach and would suggest a longer-term time horizon for any changes that may be contemplated in the future.




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