Michael Pratt

ELECTION: Langley Township council candidate Michael Pratt

A Voter’s Guide to key election questions.

Michael Pratt

Running for council in Langley Township

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Student, 21

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• Have you held office in past? If so, please specify: No

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Candidate provided bio: Born and raised in Langley, Michael has been passionate about community involvement and service since his early teens. Along with his sister, he was responsible for the creation of the “Walk to Remember” at the Derek Doubleday Arboretum. It’s the only memorial of its kind in Canada, with 162 trees being planted to represent the Canadian soldiers who fell during the war in Afghanistan. As a young person, Michael feels compelled to be involved in helping to ensure Langley is built responsibly and with meaningful community engagement. He strongly believes that all generations should work together to make the best decisions possible, and with a proven track record of community involvement and public service he knows that he can be an important voice for all of Langley’s residents.

No matter the issue, Michael will be a councillor who will listen to you and work with you in finding a solution.

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Website: www.michaelpratt.ca

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Facebook: @PrattfromLangley

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Other internet/social media platforms where voters can learn about you:Instagram:@michael.v.pratt

Phone: 604-376-6343

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• Who is your favourite superhero, and why? Batman, because even though he has a huge amount of money which sets him apart from everyone else, he proves that even normal human beings can be superheroes.

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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: Murayville

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2. How many years have you lived in Langley?

Answer: 21 years – born and raised

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

Answer: At the very least one meeting a month, often I’ve been able to attend both meetings in a given month.

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

Answer:Yes – this is an issue that I’ve been hearing a lot about as I’ve been meeting with people. We need to be working with our Provincial and Federal partners to ensure that the funding is there, and is not overburdening Langley’s taxpayers, but the ways we’ve been trying to tackle this issue have not been working, and it’s time for a new direction and some vision from Council. Our contribution can come in different forms, but we should certainly be playing a more active role in poverty and homelessness reduction in our Township.

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

Answer: Yes – however, the plans from Translink show clearly that over certain distances, the LRT technology that is planned will be elevated so that there is less disturbance to traffic and the trains can travel faster. SkyTrain technology is world-class and helps to move people faster than LRT would, however, in areas of higher density, such as Clayton in Surrey and Willowbrook in the future, LRT has proven to be a good way of moving people while at the same time helping business on the street level thrive because of increased traffic and exposure.

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6. Should the municipality fund an arts centre?

Answer: Yes – as Langley grows, we need the adequate amenities and services that people expect in a municipality like ours. I believe this centre should be a public-private partnership to ensure the cost to taxpayers remains as low as possible, but I believe it’s time the Township made a serious investment in our exceptional arts community.

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

Answer: Yes – we cannot make the same mistake other municipalities have made where they’ve not kept up with the expenditures that are necessary to adequately serve the public. Surrey just had to higher 100 new officers at a large expense to the taxpayers in that community. If we are smart about are tax increases, we can ensure that our taxpayers are receiving the services they deserve and are paying for, without burdening them with a huge increase because of Council’s lack of forethought.

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

Answer: No – I don’t believe it’s reasonable to expect that we will get the funding any time soon to build a brand-new hospital. Realistically, we could be able to receive funding for an expansion and renovations which could increase the hospital’s capacity and help it serve our community even better. I believe it’s critically important that we work to ensure there are enough primary care centres with general practitioners and specialists in our neighbourhoods for people to go to, so that they don’t have to rely on the hospital if they don’t have to..

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9. Does Willoughby need its own dedicated library?

Answer: Yes – it is going to be the largest population centre and needs the adequate services.

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

Answer: No – we need to be building our communities in more creative and innovative ways. Instead of continuing to build strip malls and typical suburban areas in close proximity to farmland, we should be building higher quality low-, medium- and high-density projects in the right locations. This way, we can preserve more of our greenspace that’s adjacent to farmland, and we can create communities that have character, instead of more of the same, uninspiring development.

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11. Should Langley allow construction of residential towers?

Answer: Yes – however, these towers need to be built in the correct areas. Willowbrook and Willoughby are high-density areas that have access to public transit and can accommodate higher towers. Areas such as Walnut Grove, Murrayville, or Fort Langley should not have these towers. In the Aldergrove Core Plan, there was allowances made for towers, but it will be through listening to the community there that we determine if we should permit tall towers in the area..

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

Answer: No – I personally believe that our RCMP is doing a good job, and that there will be challenges within any municipality. I think we need to continue to support our RCMP and we need to ensure they have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively.

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

Answer: Don’t know – I believe that we need to be good financial stewards and use people’s tax dollars wisely and efficiently. This means that that we need to be getting people the most ‘bang-for-their-buck’ and ensure the services people are paying for are adequate. If we are not providing adequate service with the amount of taxes we’re gathering, then yes, taxes are too high.

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

Answer:Yes – with growing uncertainty in our leading trading partner to the South, I think it is important that we are able to get full value for our product. By taking away the opportunity to collect royalties and taxes on our trade goods, we are taking away the opportunity to build new schools, new hospitals, and new roads that our community needs. This is an issue that I believe requires more than 100 words to answer effectively, and I do believe we need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Overall, however, I do support the expansion.

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

Answer: Yes – The Township should be the best place in the Lower Mainland to do business. The more people that can live and work in the same community, the better. With more businesses, we can afford better services and our community can become an even more vibrant place. We should make sure our community is an attractive place to live, work, and play.

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16. Is Langley being pushed to grow too fast?

Answer: Yes – every community will have its growing pains, but I truly believe that we can keep these to a minimum if we plan properly. People should not be worried about whether their kids can get into the local school because of overcrowding. Walking on our main streets shouldn’t be a safety issue because of the lack of sidewalks due to our current planning practices. I believe we can grow, even relatively quickly, but with more forethought given to the plans and while ensuring our neighbourhoods are livable, with adequate services and character that makes them exciting places to live.

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

Answer: Yes – as the ‘Birthplace of BC’, Fort Langley is as unique a village as you will find in the entire province. There are guidelines in place that need to be followed to ensure that it retains the character that makes it special, and any redevelopment should adhere to these guidelines. However, we need to ensure the Fort remains an exciting destination for people so that it does not return to the ‘seasonality’ of the past and remains busy all-year round.

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18. Should development of Brookswood be phased in?

Answer: Yes – this is proper planning practice in my opinion and I would be an advocate for phased development in Brookswood-Fernridge.

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

Answer: Yes – this project should have been completed from the start, and I believe we need to work to get it done as soon as possible.

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

Answer: No – if the people of the Township feel that they are being represented well by a Councillor, they should be able to continue to elect that person until they no longer have the confidence and trust of the voters.

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