Election 2014: Steve Ferguson answers questions

Township of Langley: Ferguson, Steve - council candidate: He answers The Times' questions.

  • Nov. 7, 2014 5:00 p.m.

Steve Ferguson

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

Taxes and the finances for the future of Langley Township. We are a large community of some 300-plus square kilometres, with a population of approximately 120,000 residents, and we have growing demands for services. We have over 500 km of roads that need to be constantly maintained, community centres and pools, fire halls, and many other facilities. The costs to maintain this infrastructure keeps rising and hence we have only one source of income (besides recreation fees) — the taxpayer. We also are responsible for the RCMP and fire service and as our community grows we must make sure that community safety is of our highest priority. My priority is to work with council and staff to focus on initiatives that require “Thinking Outside The Box.” This involves finding new ways of generating sustainable income through partnerships with the federal and provincial governments, the private sector, Not-For-Profit organizations, and other initiatives. We cannot consistently go to the taxpayers for more money without exhausting as many cost savings measures as possible.

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

Willoughby is not finished. We need to work with our planning staff to manage growth in an orderly manner. Minister Rich Coleman and Minister Peter Fassbender have asked for a business plan from the Langley School District. Once that is in place, my understanding is that the planning of new schools will commence. The formula for school construction is set in stone by the provincial government…no students…no new schools. If development is stopped, roads will not be finished, bridges and overpasses likewise, and Langley gets left behind and the municipalities who are growing like Surrey and Coquitlam will get our schools. At one time Walnut Grove was under construction, now that it is finished it is one of the nicest places to live in the region.

3 – Do you support a pool and recreation centre complex in Aldergrove, and if so, when should construction begin? If not, why not?

Yes, as co-chair of the Recreation, Culture and Parks committee, I have consistently been committed to the Aldergrove Pool/Recreation Centre. I also am the council representative for our RCP Master plan that will determine the Township of Langley’s recreational and cultural needs for the next 10 years. During all of these discussions, the Pool/Recreation centre for Aldergrove was a priority item. We must work hard this term to find the money and the correct plan for the Pool/Rec Centre. We have purchased the property, much of the engineering has been done for the site regarding sewer, water, and other related services. We are working on securing the necessary funding to start the project this next term. Downtown Aldergrove needs a kickstart and this will be a big benefit to the core area of Aldergrove.

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

As a Resident of Brookswood/Fernridge, and an active member of the community, I think that the community needs a rest before discussions of a new plan takes place. We have more than enough development activity to do in Willoughby. When the time does come, it should be resident-driven and should take into consideration the natural flavour of the Brookswood/Fernridge area. An area surrounded by large evergreen trees, lakes, and watercourses — future development and densities should focus on this theme. Consequently community focus groups, alongside planners and Township council, working towards a direction that best serves the Brookswood/Fernridge area should be considered in the future.

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