A resident takes issue with his MP’s characterization of Langley City. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

A resident takes issue with his MP’s characterization of Langley City. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

LETTER: Langley City MP ‘ghost town’ dig hurts community perception

A letter writer challenges MP Tamara Jansen after she used the term about the small municipality

Dear Editor,

Langley City prides itself on being a vibrant community with an active downtown core and a wide variety of businesses to serve people both locally and from surrounding communities.

The pandemic has certainly put a lot of pressure on these businesses, but people throughout the community are doing their best to shop local, get take-out when possible, and still find opportunities to meet friends outside in the parks and plazas around town. In addition, the City has worked hard to put up decorations, lights, and banners to make outdoor spaces for inviting and cheerful, to lift up spirits throughout the winter months.

While I understand that Tamara Jansen’s role in the federal government is one of critic, it seems irresponsible to make sweeping statements about a community in which she does not live or frequent.

To call Langley City a ghost town at this point in time is sheer hyperbole. I walk around the City at least once per day to get exercise, and I see many people out and about, walking, biking, taking advantage of the parks (especially the new pickle ball courts), and doing their best to keep local businesses open.

When politicians use a broad brush, painting a community in a certain light, it can impact that community negatively. It is one thing to note that we are all going through hard times, but to label Langley City a “ghost town” is irresponsible and will impact the ways that people outside of our community see us and understand what we have to offer.

Instead of painting us as failing or already failed, perhaps it would behoove our MP to instead encourage people to shop local, to seek out new businesses to frequent over the holidays, rather than shopping solely online. Taking advantage of delivery and take-out options is also a huge help for struggling restaurants.

It seems to me that the role of an MP is to find ways to improve communities, instead of declaring them “ghost towns,” especially when there is so much evidence to the contrary. Today (Sunday, Dec. 13), for example, as I walked along the one-way on Fraser Highway, even in the rain, I saw people lined up outside of shops and restaurants, taking advantage of local offerings. People were sitting outside in the parks, drinking coffee and tea from local cafes. The City, even in the cold and rainy season, is far from a ghost town.

Yes, times are hard, but I would invite Tamara Jansen to visit Langley City, frequent some of our shops, go for a walk during the day and witness all the people out and about, and help us continue to thrive throughout the holiday season, and beyond.

We all need to be working together during this time. And who better to work with the community and advocate for us without disparaging us, than our very own MP.

Dr. Robert Bittner, Langley City

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Letter to the Editor