Frank Bucholtz, a Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce director, with one of the electronic signs that are part of the Gateway transportation project. The chamber has lobbied on transit issues for years. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Frank Bucholtz, a Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce director, with one of the electronic signs that are part of the Gateway transportation project. The chamber has lobbied on transit issues for years. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

CHAMBER TURNS 90

Langley chamber advocates for business from Langley to Ottawa

Roads, cannabis, tourism, and taxes are all on the Chamber’s radar

When an issue impacts the Langley business community, the community speaks out, and advocacy remains a big part of the work of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce.

In an ordinary year, members of chambers of commerce from across B.C. and Canada will gather in large conventions to hash out issues of importance, and to speak with a united voice to Victoria or Ottawa.

In 2020, COVID-19 put a stop to in-person gatherings, but it didn’t prevent businesspeople in Langley from making their voices heard on issues they care about, said Frank Bucholtz, a director with the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce.

Online gatherings took the place of the big B.C. and Canadian Chamber of Commerce events this year, and because anyone could participate over a computer, more local members than ever could take part.

The resolutions that are debated at regional, provincial, and national gatherings are put to politicians not long after, but they can come from a single local chamber of commerce, put forward by a single member.

“It’s really a grassroots approach to things,” Bucholtz noted.

This year Langley co-sponsored resolutions on guidelines for zoning new rental housing in B.C. and for enabling the growth of the cannabis industry.

Although there are certainly issues of taxes and regulation, local businesses have long lobbied about infrastructure.

One of B.C.’s resolution this year concerned continuing the Gateway roads project.

The project, which included the widening of Highway 1 through Langley and the establishment of new rail overpasses and electronic traffic signs in Langley and its neighbours, has been one of concern to local business for years.

Cutting down on traffic gridlock by continuing to widen the highway to the east, through Abbotsford and eventually Chilliwack, has long been a priority for the chamber, which relies on shipping goods back east, to ports, or across the border.

It’s at the Aldergrove border crossing that you can see the fruits of long-time local advocacy work.

An expanded border crossing at 264th Street – south of the highway interchange and the Gloucester Industrial Park – was a priority of a string of chamber presidents and its past executive director, Lynn Whitehouse. With help from the late Langley MP Mark Warawa, it finally became a reality, and truck traffic could move south from Langley, instead of having to head to Sumas in Abbotsford or Pacific Highway Truck Crossing in Surrey.

“That, I think, was a significant victory for Langley,” Bucholtz said, “and the chamber played a big role in that.”

It also highlights the other side of political advocacy. While the big national organizations bring their weight to Ottawa or Victoria, the local chamber lobbies individual MPs and MLAs in Langley on issues.

Of course, one of the big concerns for the chamber has continues to be what is happening to local businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

“We have a big concern about tourism and other related industries,” said Bucholtz, pointing to the fact that LEC and Cascades Casino have been largely closed for almost a year, the inability to host large weddings, and the inability to fully open wineries and restaurants – there are a significant number of local businesses seeing much lower revenue.

The pressure from local chambers has prompted the Canadian chamber to push Ottawa for 30 changes to policies all related to COVID-19, including some changes that would make it easier for employees to work at home.

Through 2021, advocacy will continue to be a big part of the Langley chamber’s work, regardless of what the business climate looks like.

LangleyTransportation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A local resident is concerned about the low voter turnout in the recent school board byelection. (Langley Advance Times files)
LETTER: Few Langley residents bothered to vote in school trustee election

A local letter writer wonders why the current situation didn’t prompt more people to cast ballots

An agreement between the City and the Langley Lions Housing Society would set out income and age requirements for the new Birch replacement building (Langley City image)
Agreement on seniors rental building a first for Langley City

Sets several conditions to ensure project is affordable for low- and moderate-income seniors

Another member of the Peterson Road Elementary School community has tested positive for COVID-19, the Langley school district reported Saturday. (Undated Google Street View image)
Another COVID-19 case reported at Peterson Road Elementary School

School has reported two positive tests in two days

Seveya Jepsen is inviting people to stop by her Pet Food Drive on Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Jepsen family/Special to the Langley Advance Time)
Langley girl’s 10th birthday goes to the dogs, and cats, and rabbits

Seveya Jepsen is concerned that animals have enough food so she’s hosting a pet food drive.

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

The Kimber family of Boston Bar lost their home in a fire. Blaine Kimber’s daughter created a fundraiser to help rebuild the home with the goal of $100,000. (Screenshot/GoFundMe)
Fundraiser created for Boston Bar family that lost everything in weekend fire

Witnesses say the Kimber family escaped the fire without injury, but their home is a total loss

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Most Read