Tony Ward, an acclaimed school trustee, is also running for councillor in Langley Township. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Tony Ward, an acclaimed school trustee, is also running for councillor in Langley Township. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

MEET THE CANDIDATES

IN THE LANGLEY TOWNSHIP COUNCILLOR RACE: Tony Ward

Ahead of Oct. 15, the Advance Times offers a profile and Q&A opportunity to each candidate

Tony Ward

RUNNING AS AN INDEPENDENT

Asset management technician, age 50

Murrayville resident who’s lived in Langley 50 years

I have enjoyed a 28-year career at the Township of Langley.

I currently work in asset management, which is focused on maintaining infrastructure with fiscal prudence and sustainability.

Additionally, I have served as school trustee for the Langley School District since 2018.

We need to: enhance current levels of service – particularly fire service; stabilize tax rate – families thrive on predictability.

I believe in maximizing walkability and accessibility in new urban design, and enhancing parks, trails, and natural areas.

I strongly support small businesses and farms.

With high inflation, rising interest rates, dropping house prices, let’s tighten our belts.

Langley is a community of strong, independent, and intelligent voices.

This is not time for Langley to embrace pre-arranged decision making on serious topics.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100085488327180

Website: tonyward.ca

Phone: 778-512-3737

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Have you held office in past? If so, please specify: School Trustee 2018 to present

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CLICK TO CHECK OUT OUR FULL ELECTION GUIDE ONLINE

Questions:

(These answers are presented as the candidates submitted them)

1. Should the Township set targets for the creation of more low-income and seniors rental spaces, social housing units, and/or co-op development to improve home security?

Don’t know.

2. Should the Township create a performing arts venue within the next council term?

Don’t know. Although I would love to see a performing arts centre or venue, I do not believe that we should commit to this type of project at this time. With interest rates having been raised 5 times in 2022 (up 3%), high inflation, property prices dropping, stock market very low (and in a bear market), and other recessionary forces, now is not the time for significant capital expenditures, except for needed infrastructure or major replacements.

3. Does the Langley Township fire department need to be expanded in terms of crews, equipment, and/or halls?

Yes. Brookswood (Hall 5) will need to transition to a fully staffed (professional) hall. As Langley continues to grow, we will have to continue to reassess how our fire service is delivered. This will require dispassionate data informed analysis at periodic intervals.

4. Should property tax increases be restricted to the rate of inflation or lower?

Don’t know. Although I am very much in favour of stabilizing our property tax rate (it has been very much in flux in the last 15 years), I am not certain if needs to track identically with the rate of inflation. Furthermore, inflation is calculated several ways, not just the commonly cited ‘Consumer Price Index’, so we would have to determine the exact index or methodology to use and employ that consistently. It may be better to determine a predicable tax rate increase that considers the average increase across a number of years and keep that rate consistent. Families and businesses thrive on predictability. Over the last 15 years Township property taxes have varied from -0.45% to 11.03%, the average being 4.49%. These massive fluctuations do not offer homeowners a predictable cost where they can plan for this annual expense in a stress-free manner. Furthermore, by stabilizing the tax rate to a 15 or 20 year average, we can help to limit the temptation (and more importantly the ability) for current and future councils to create mega projects (with resulting enormous tax increases) to secure future election votes.

5. Should the Township encourage greater housing density in new and existing neighbourhoods?

No. We need to follow our Official Community Plan and zoning. In areas where properties may be rezoned, they need to correspond to the surrounding zoning. Obviously, we need to continually look for ways to incrementally densify in a suitable manner, considering individual community characteristics.

6. Should the Township do more to build and upgrade roads, sidewalks, and bike paths in fast-growing areas?

Don’t know. This is hard to say because we use Development Cost Charges to pay for infrastructure adjacent to, and in front of, new development so we generally ‘build as we go’. Although this system allows us to not front the costs with Township taxpayer dollars, areas like Willoughby, for example, end up experiencing what seems like an endless ‘construction zone’ where individual projects make for a type of ‘patchwork quilt’ until such time that the entire area (or particular street) is complete. Certainly we should not upgrade asphalt road surfaces (except for repairs and/or maintenance) in fast growing areas until all construction on individual streets has been completed; there is no point (and great additional cost) if we pave a new seamless asphalt road and then soon after cut into it again to do complete more work. The final ‘lift’ of asphalt should always come after the completion of all development works on each section of road in any given area.

7. Is the Township’s population growing too fast?

Don’t know. This is hard to say. Perhaps a better question might be: At the rate which we are growing, are we able to keep up? Which is to say, are we able to manage this growth with supporting infrastructure or is the growth outpacing our ability to provide services, infrastructure, and amenities in fast growing areas? As it is often said, we need to go “as fast as we can, and as slow as we must.”

8. Should the Township consider switching to a municipal police force, instead of using the RCMP?

No. We have a long-standing positive relationship with the RCMP here in Langley. We should continue to build strong bonds and leverage our connections working alongside our RCMP members as we strive together to improve public safety.

9. Does the Township have enough parks and public spaces to meet the needs of its growing population?

No. Having worked for the Township of Langley parks operations department for many years, and alongside the park design and development department, I know firsthand that the Township is always looking to create park areas either through Township property purchases, development projects, or through donation.

The Township will continue this process.

Currently we have 68 parks and numerous trails.

Although we do need to continue to expand our inventory of public spaces to serve our growing community, it is important to note that we do have a wealth of amenities that in many cases far exceeds our neighbouring cities.

For instance, we have 11 synthetic turf fields to serve 145,000 Langley Township residents. We have nearly three times the number of synthetic turf fields per capita than Abbotsford, well over double Surrey’s synthetic fields per capita, 26 per cent more per capita than Maple Ridge, over double Burnaby’s number per capita, 39 per cent more per capita than Delta, and 73 per cent more per capita than Chilliwack.

Furthermore, we have space available on existing all-weather gravel fields in Township parks, which can be converted to synthetic turf fields, namely at Noel Booth Community Park, Walnut Grove Community Park, Brown Park, and Aldergrove Athletic.

10. Should the Township commit to making a decision on proposed new developments within 12 months or less?

Yes.

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CLICK ON OUR ELECTIONS 2022 TAB TO FIND A WIDE VARIETY OF RELEVANT STORIES

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EDITOR’S NOTE:

How the questions were presented to each candidate

Langley Advance Times readers have repeatedly told us how much they value this important, straight-forward reference guide that helps orient them with the range of choices on the ballots – both at the council and school board levels.

Towards that end, we have attempted to make this package available (along with the following instructions) to each of the candidates in a timely fashion ahead of the Oct. 15 election.

Please read carefully before you start to fill this out.

To help voters in Langley make their choices on election day, the Langley Advance Times is asking local candidates 10 issue-based questions.

You must provide a ‘yes,’ a ‘no,’ or a ‘don’t know’ (Y, N, D) response to EACH of these questions.

Each question MUST be answered with yes (Y), no (N), or Don’t Know (D). This will be published in a grid in the Oct. 6 edition. Any questions not answered will be LEFT BLANK.

Candidates may also expand on ANY OR ALL of these questions (to a maximum of 200 words each). Please note any responses longer than that will be cut off at the 201-word mark.

Due to space limitations, we can only guarantee to run one of these answers in the Langley Advance Times print edition ahead of the election. You must CLEARLY indicate which expanded answer you want to see published in print. If you do not specify, we will choose. Any and all expanded answers provided will be published online at www.langleyadvancetimes.com.

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