Michelle Sparrow

ELECTION: Langley Township council candidate Michelle Sparrow

A Voter’s Guide to key election questions.

Michelle Sparrow

Running for council in Langley Township

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Owner/operator North Langley Paint & Decorating Benjamin Moore, 38

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• Have you held office in past? If so, please specify: Yes, serving my second term as a Township councillor

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Candidate provided bio: I’m a Township small business owner and every day I look forward to meeting and working with our residents. I am a single mom to four amazing daughters, and I feel lucky to be raising them in the same community which I grew up in.

I love this community and it has been such an honour to be given the opportunity to bring a strong voice to the council table for the last seven years.

I have stood strong for what I believe in, even when it was difficult and I am proud of the difference that I have made. I ask for your support to allow me to continue to bring my voice to the important issues that our community faces over the next four years.

Please visit my website to find out more about me and the issues I’m passionate about.

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Website: VoteSparrow.ca

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Facebook: @VoteSparrow

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Phone: 778-298-8503

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• Who is your favourite superhero, and why? While maybe not a traditional superhero, hands down my favourite superhero is my mom. My mother is the most caring and kind woman I know it’s her superpower, her passion and commitment to helping people is inspiring. I know that she is not just my superhero but that I share her with all the those she has helped and will help as they face their journey after stroke.

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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: Walnut Grove

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2. How many years have you lived in Langley?

Answer: My whole life (38 years)

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

Answer: All

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

Answer: Yes. Well one could argue this should be a provincial matter I believe all levels of government will need to be working together towards ending homelessness. This will require cooperation across the region at every level. There are many facets to why we have a homelessness issue and one that cannot be solved by strictly focusing on proving a roof over someone’s head. We must work towards addressing the whole issue and caring for the whole person. Working with and supporting those who are working on the ground will be critical.

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

Answer: No. I believe light rail builds communities along the whole line not just at the stations, as well as providing for the widest range of placement to allow a made in langley solution to our transit needs.

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6. Should the municipality fund an arts centre?

Answer: Yes. My daughters have been involved in competitive dance and I am very aware of the need for a new arts centre in our community. I am a big supporter of this and believe there is much potential and opportunity and I hope to be given the opportunity to be a part of working to see this become reality.

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

Answer: Yes. I been a big supporter of our protective services and I will continue to be. We must be proactive and ensure that we keep up as our community grows.

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

Answer: Yes. A larger hospital is needed and we must continue to advocate for that. I would also like to see us work to address the issues with our walk in clinics. As a mother of 4 daughters I know well the frustration of arriving at a walk in clinic only a few hours after opening to see they are not accepting any more patients. This is forcing people to our emergency room for issues that could be addressed in a walk in clinic setting. We need to advocate and work to find ways to attract more doctors to our community.

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9. Does Willoughby need its own dedicated library?

Answer: Yes. I think this would be a great asset to our community. My motion to see the implementation of a Community Amenity Contributions policy which passed and has now begun to be implemented will now allow us to collect funds from developments for exactly these types of social infrastructure which we have not had a funding mechanism for in the past, this makes the funding and building of these types of community benefits something we can plan for.

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

Answer: No. The fact that our agricultural lands are being allowed to be developed with large urban developments is in my opinion, one of the biggest threats to our community and to what makes Langley Township such a unique place to live. We are continually sending the message that if you try hard enough and spend enough money that the agricultural lands in our community are open to development. This creates more land speculators than farmers and only drives up the price of farmlands. This must stop and our council must stand strong against this.

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11. Should Langley allow construction of residential towers?

Answer: Yes. I believe the 200th street corridor is where our highest density should be placed. I supported the 20-storey tower of seniors housing which is a unique project and offers a full range of care for our seniors and the ability to age in place.

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

Answer: No. This has been explored and the cost increase to our community in my opinion does not offer a benefit. I believe we are well served by our RCMP and the many shared resources it offers.

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

Answer: No. Taxes are not something anyone enjoys paying but it is a necessary funding mechanism. The Township remains one of the lower tax rates in the region and the budgeting decision process is one of the most important roles council has. The new tool I brought forward of an online budget simulator is a tool residents can use to give feedback and to try making some of the decision that is the budget process. My motion which created a new community amenity contributions policy is also a new funding mechanism that can take some of the funding pressure off property taxes.

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

Answer: Don’t know. I believe there is still much more fulsome consultation needed. I share the concerns of placement and environmental concerns as well as risk mitigation. I believe there is still much more work that needs to be done.

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

Answer: Yes. I believe there are many opportunities and ways to think outside the box when it comes to attracting companies to our community. There are tremendous benefits that come from being able to live and work in the same community and the trickle down effect from bringing more well paid jobs to our community is numerous. I am in full support of looking at ways to incentivize companies to set up in our community and I believe there is tremendous opportunity in our community for just that.

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16. Is Langley being pushed to grow too fast?

Answer: No. Langley Township is a fast growing community, all regions across Metro Vancouver are dealing with the same pressures for growth. I believe it is about how we manage that growth, It is shortsighted to think that we can just close the doors and not accept more growth. That approach will only drive up our housing costs making it even more difficult for our children to live here and raise a family. I believe we must work on ways to plan and manage the pressures so that all our residents new and old are afforded the best quality of life possible.

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

Answer: Don’t know. It would depend on what that development consists of. I believe we need to continue to ensure what makes Fort Langley so special is preserved while still planning for the future. I believe we can find that balance and I’m hopeful to be a part of the conversation.

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18. Should development of Brookswood be phased in?

Answer: Yes. I believe the whole TOL needs a development phasing strategy as it could change the way we develop the community as a whole, it is not something we currently have a Township wide strategy for. My motion for a report passed 8-1 but unfortunately after the report was received there was not enough support to move it forward and to see this strategy implemented. Regardless, this is still an initiative that I will continue to work towards if elected next term, as I believe it to be a valuable tool in addressing the pressure our community faces from growth.

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

Answer: Yes. I believe we need to look at options and go to the public with those. Going into debt for the $83 million that it would cost to finish 208th ahead of development is something I believe every taxpayer should be consulted with and given the chance to weigh the pros and cons of and we should make the decision fully aware of all of the risks. I also believe as I say in #18 development phasing could have been used to plan for more orderly growth and is something we should learn from moving forward.

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

Answer: No. While I agree with the idea that it is great to have new perspectives and ideas on council I believe that the democratic process of an election is the appropriate way for the public to determine when a councillor has served enough terms.

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