Kim Richter

ELECTION: Langley Township council candidate Kim Richter

A Voter’s Guide to key election questions.

Kim Richter

Running for council in Langley Township

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Professor of business management, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, 62

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• Have you held office in past? If so, please specify: Yes – Langley Township councillor from Dec. 1999 to present

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Candidate provided bio: Langley is at a critical turning point. It has nurtured many generations/families, but we are growing so quickly now without full consideration of the importance of “Quality of Life” over “Quantity of Development.”

We need to focus on ethics, transparency/accountability of council, affordability of taxes and housing, public safety (fire, police, food, water), preservation of our green spaces, trees, agricultural land, heritage, and wildlife. We need our local politicians to protect what keeps our community so unique. We need balance.

I am a 34-year resident of Langley, mother of three, wife, volunteer, professor of business management and six-term councillor.

I believe in this community, its tremendous potential, and its future. I want this great community to last, and grow responsibly for our children and grandchildren.

I have and always will stand up and speak out for our community first.

I respectfully ask for your vote again on Oct. 20, 2018.

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Website: KimRichter.com

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Facebook: @kim.richter2

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Other internet/social media platforms where voters can learn about you: Instagram.com/kimrichtertol

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Phone: 604-856-9788 (home); 778-979-0839 (cell)

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Twitter: @KimRichterTOL

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• Who is your favourite superhero, and why? Wonder Woman because she uses her Lasso of Truth to get honesty out of politicians and other important community decision-makers.

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There are 23 candidates running for eight Langley Township council seats. The following are questions asked of each candidate hopeful. They were directed to provide a minimum of a Yes, No, or Don’t Know answer, and given an option to expand on one answer in print (to a maximum of 100 words per question). They could expand on all questions online, if they wished to do so. The following are their replies.

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Questions and Answers:

1. What neighbourhood of Langley do you live in?

Answer: North Otter/Salmon River Uplands

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2. How many years have you lived in Langley?

Answer: 32 years (arrived here in 1986)

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3. How many Langley Township council meetings have you attended in the past year?

Answer: The majority from Sept. 1, 2017 to Sept. 1, 2018 (except when I was on vacation or at a conference – May/June 2018)

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4: Should the municipality be directly funding social housing to reduce homelessness?

Answer: No. The provision of social housing is a provincial responsibility and moving this to municipal government is an unfair download on property taxes. As it currently stands, municipal government only gets about 8 cents of every tax dollar paid in this province and we need to provide fire, police, garbage disposal, water, sewer, roads, parks, recreational facilities, etc out of this 8 cents. However, I could support providing municipal land for such housing.

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5. Do you support elevated rail over light rapid transit from Surrey to Langley?

Answer: Don’t know. At one point, I thought that light rail was better than elevated rail because elevated rail was so costly. Now recent cost estimates on light rail seem excessive and escalating. The major point is that we need rapid transit to Langley and we need it a lot sooner than 2040. Perhaps use of the old interurban rail line should be resurrected as the most cost-effective option since this rail line already exists.

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6. Should the municipality fund an arts centre?

Answer: Yes. We have always had a vibrant arts community in Langley Township and it continues to grow as our population increases. I think It is time to look at an arts center preferably located either in Fort Langley or in the Sports & Entertainment District (LEC).

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7. Would you vote to raise taxes to hire more police?

Answer: Don’t know. The biggest slice of the municipal budget is already policing. It seems in the past that when we add more policing positions, we don’t always get people to fill those positions. Before adding more officers, I would like to review what and how we are policing and put more money into local priorities such as property crime rather than Ottawa-directed policing initiatives.

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8. Does Langley need a new or second hospital to serve the growing population?

Answer: Yes. Access to primary health care is a key infrastructure problem affecting our growing community. Residents need doctors. At minimum we should be strongly advocating to expand LMH where many new residents without doctors end up when they need health care. We should also be looking at outside-the-box options such as encouraging developers to make primary care space available in new developments particularly in Willoughby and Brookswood.

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9. Does Willoughby need its own dedicated library?

Answer: Yes. The north end of Willoughby needs this service, particularly now that the new Williams Neighbourhood Plan has been approved and major population growth is expected there. The existing Muriel Arnason Library is well used by young families and students.

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10. Is there enough effort being made to preserve farmland?

Answer: No. More effort needs to be made to put more of our existing farmland into productive use in food production. We also need to help young farmers.

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11. Should Langley allow construction of residential towers?

Answer: Don’t know. These towers are a way to preserve land by building up instead of out. Building up can result in more affordable housing options and protection of trees and greenspaces. However, I do not think that towers belong everywhere and we should be getting significant community amenities in return for them which so far we haven’t really seen. Towers should be concentrated on the 200th St corridor in Willoughby. Doing so will also help us attract more transit.

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12. Should Langley have its own municipal police force, replacing the RCMP?

Answer: Don’t know. I think this idea is worth exploring as police services are the biggest chunk of the township budget. While on the surface it appears that the RCMP are a good deal because we get a 10% rebate on them from Ottawa, I question whether our local priorities are taking precedent or are second place to Ottawa’s priorities. There is much concern in this community about property crime and I think more emphasis needs to be placed on it. A municipal police force may give us more flexibility in dealing with our local policing concerns.

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13. Do you think residential property taxes are too high?

Answer: Yes. I think there is an unfair burden of taxes being placed on suburban residential properties out in the rural areas of the Township where services are minimal.

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14. Do you support the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline?

Answer: No. I have major concerns about the potential environmental impacts of this pipeline as it travels over farmland and fish-bearing streams.

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15. Should the municipality offer tax breaks, incentives, or rebates to companies looking to set up shop here?

Answer: Don’t know. I think this depends on what type of industry we are trying to attract.

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16. Is Langley being pushed to grow too fast?

Answer: Yes. I never agreed with the MetroVancouver Regional Growth Strategy and did not support it. I think it is placing unfair expectations and demands on communities and is essentially supporting the construction industry.

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17. Do you support redevelopment of Fort Langley’s downtown?

Answer: Yes. What is there now (boarded up buildings) is not working. We need development that supports the tourism, culture, and heritage that Fort Langley is so well known for.

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18. Should development of Brookswood be phased in?

Answer: Yes. I think it is wrong to recreate the Willoughby piece-meal development plan in Brookswood. New development should be orderly and not just driven on the simple basis of owning land that you want to develop.

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19. Should the Township set a deadline to finish widening 208th Street in Willoughby?

Answer: Yes. This street has been problematic for years. It needs to be fixed. Waiting for development to do the fixing is no longer a good enough option.

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20. Should there be a limit to the number of consecutive terms a member of council can serve?

Answer: Yes. I believe that mayors should be limited to 2 consecutive terms and councillors to 3 consecutive terms. Then they can step down, let new people have a chance to participate, and decide whether they want to run again in the next term. Most boards I have sat on do have term limits and I think it’s a good thing.

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