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Township council juggles cutting some projects, adding other

About $40 million worth of major projects are being cancelled or put on pause
The new Jericho Reservoir on 73A Avenue in Willoughby. A park planned for the site will be cancelled for now, Langley Township council decided on Dec. 5, 2022. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

As the newly-elected Langley Township council proposes a slew of new projects, it’s also cancelling others or putting them on the back burner for now.

Mayor Eric Woodward put forward a motion at the Dec. 5 council meeting to cut about $40 million in spending across 10 projects, while adding a list of new roadbuilding and infrastructure priorities to next year’s municipal budget.

Woodward’s notice of motion noted there was “significant financial pressure on the Township of Langley,” with the Municipal Price Index – a measure of how much municipalities pay for the goods and services they buy – rising by about eight per cent this year.

The motion calls for Township staff to target a property tax increase of no more than four per cent for the coming year, and to look at permanent cuts of $1.5 million to the operating budget, as well.

The projects the motion called for cancelling outright were both parks – the Smith View Park planned for 72nd Avenue in Willoughby at the Jericho Reservoir, and the Airport View Park on 216th Street, also known as the Grant Ward View Park, after the late Township councillor and aviation enthusiast.

The other projects, to be put on hold, include work on Yorkson Community Park, water quality upgrades in Brookswood and Murrayville, some road improvements and airport paving upgrades, and work on the Willowbook Connector, between 64th and 68th Avenue.

Some of those projects may be superseded by other projects of the Contract with Langley slate majority on council.

That includes items listed for inclusion in the new budget, such as a new pool in Yorkson Community Park, a new soccer campus in the Smith neighbourhood of Willoughby, and a new rink at the LEC. A new concert hall or performance centre at the LEC, and two replacement firehalls, one in Brookswood and one in Walnut Grove, were also on the list.

READ ALSO: ‘Fact-finding’ begins on new pool, soccer campus, ice rink for Willoughby

READ ALSO: Langley Township to take second look at several big developments

Another section of the lengthy motion called for staff to include a number of arterial road and sidewalk projects in next year’s budget.

The roads are:

• 208th Street from 76th Avenue to 68th Avenue

• 208th Street from 81st Avenue to 83rd Avenue

• 212th Connector from 208th Street to 80th Avenue

• 80th Avenue from 212th Street to 216th Street

• 72nd Avenue from 202A Street to 212th Street

• 202A Street from 72nd Avenue to 86th Avenue

It also calls for finishing the intersection of 86th Avenue and 202 Street next year or as soon as possible.

Roads in Willoughby have been widened haphazardly over the last dozen years, as even major streets like 208th and 80th are only widened when developers build, meaning that the roads switch from two, to four, to three lanes in different places.

The motion attracted a number of proposed amendments, including an attempt by Councillor Margaret Kunst to keep the Brookswood and Murrayville water improvements in the budget. That amendment was defeated by the Contract with Langley majority.

A motion by Contract with Langley Coun. Misty Van Popta to look at other funding sources for the park at the airport was approved by the council.

Only Richter voted against the entire motion, with the other two independent councillors voting in favour along with the six Contract with Langley members.

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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