Former Langley school trustee Sonya Paterson first became involved in politics by volunteering on several municipal, provincial and federal election campaigns.
Then in 2002, she ran successfully as a school trustee, and won re-election in 2005. During those years, she advocated for and successfully delivered a leading edge nutrition policy, Langley’s Special Needs Advisory Committee, additional sports academies, and a hair dressing program at Aldergrove Secondary.
In 2008, she decided to run for a seat on Township council, and narrowly missed election.
Now she has put her name forward for Township council again, as a candidate “who puts citizens and their concerns first.” She is advocating, among other things, keeping property taxes at or below the cost of living.
Paterson said that as a regular attendee at council meetings, she has done more than just learn council process. She has worked hard to stay connected with citizens throughout the community, maintaining a consistent dialogue with them.
Through these conversations, she said that she has repeatedly heard from people that council’s decisions have seriously impacted their lives.
“Often citizens learned about changes being made to their neighborhood after it was far too late to do much of anything,” she said.
“Vote after vote has been pushed through by council, even though the numbers speaking against controversial issues have far outnumbered those in support,” she said.
She supports capping property tax increases to no more than the rate of inflation, and wants to see greater transparency in government.
“We must do more to improve the consultation process to be more inclusive of citizens, and do a better job of budgeting within our means,” she said.
Paterson, who has lived with her husband, David, in Willoughby for 28 years, said that council must examine the costly installation of BC Hydro Smart meters.
“These meters using ‘time use’ billing are concerning citizens everywhere, with many fearing that we will be seeing dramatic increases to our bills soon,” she said, adding that smart meters are raising wi-fi health issue concerns and many consider them to be a threat to privacy.
She said that Langley’s huge population increase has also put a burden on Langley’s hospital which badly needs an expansion.
“With plans underway to increase density in Brookswood, a public process to engage citizens must be set in place,” she said.
Over the last three years, Paterson has voiced her concerns about the Mufford railway overpass; the Hopington Aquifer and the East Langley water line route; council’s plan to turn 208 Street into a truck route; the Athenry development in Yorkson; landfill and transportation issues, and the location of cell phone towers.