Langley Advance Times is offering this weekly feature called it “At Your Service.”
It’s another forum in which to put questions to our local politicians about key issues facing our community and its residents.
Using a basic question-and-answer format, elected officials will be asked one question at a time and given the opportunity to respond (to a maximum of 250 words) on that said issue.
Alternating between elected groups, Langley City and Langley Township councils, Langley school board, Langley MLAs, and Langley MPs each have a chance to participate.
The answers provided will be published in their entirety online Sundays.
Langley Township council was asked: Should the Township consider pay parking on the streets of Fort Langley to alleviate parking congestion?
Mayor Jack Froese
Councillor Petrina Arnason
A. Parking in the downtown commercial core of Fort Langley is currently under review by council.
Many years ago, a 50-per-cent reduction in the commercial parking policy was adopted. This was as a result of Fort Langley’s historical uniqueness and development patterns at that time.
This standard is now being reviewed based on the volume of available public parking given recent pressures such as local redevelopment, increasing tourism, and larger community events that bring more visitors to the area.
Finding the right balance on parking provisions requires an understanding of what combination of options will provide enough convenient parking whilst also discouraging over-staying, particularly in the commercial downtown core.
A recent consultant’s report did not focus on paid parking, and I would not be in support of such a policy proposal. I am very supportive of a number of options for the Fort Langley commercial core, including initiatives that are in alignment with the Township’s transportation-related climate action goals and our age friendly community framework.
Further to the need for more public parking options, the report recommended a review of current “cash in lieu” provisions for further off-site parking as an option for future development in the Fort Langley commercial core.
In order to expand current parking opportunities, I would support the development of a “green parking lot” strategy that would be financed by new “cash in lieu” charges.
This should include partnering with local businesses to develop area-specific advertising in conjunction with electric vehicle car charging stations, which would boost parking whilst supporting sustainable development within Fort Langley.
Councillor David Davis
A. This councillor did not reply before the online deadline.
Councillor Steve Ferguson
A. Quite frankly I not in favour of any public parking charges in Fort Langley.
I don’t believe if people are forced to pay that will alleviate the parking problem.
Councillor Margaret Kunst
A. I don’t think we should opt for pay parking yet.
I would prefer more monitoring of time limits then installing parking meters that nobody wants.
It was tried in Willoughby and was not received well.
There are some folks who’ve lived and done business for a long time in Fort Langley with some great ideas on improving the parking issue. It would be great to explore some of their suggestions.
I imagine one day parking meters will be a reality for some areas in the Township of Langley, but for today I am not in favour.
Councillor Bob Long
I don’t want to see any paid parking on any public streets in the Township. Adding a “charge’” won’t alleviate the issue… just aggravate it.
Perhaps an increase in the amount of parking spaces provided by any new development would help as the village appears to be growing.
Councillor Kim Richter
A. The excessive municipal costs of this far outweigh any potential benefits.
Councillor Blair Whitmarsh
A. I am not supportive of pay parking in Fort Langley as a way to alleviate parking congestion. It is a busy community, because it is such a special place for residents and those who come to support the local businesses. Local council should be working with residents and business owners to find ways to alleviate congestion without deterring people from enjoying the Birthplace of B.C.
Councillor Eric Woodward
A. No. Paid on-street parking in the commercial area of Fort Langley was considered by the previous council in 2018.
Little has changed to merit considering it again.
For destinations like Fort Langley, parking challenges are actually a sign of success. People want to go there, which is a good thing we should be proud of.
The day-to-day ongoing challenge in Fort Langley is caused by obsolete, outdated policies combined with petty, personal opposition to quality, mixed-use economic development, while some on council then vote for basically anything anywhere else.
In Fort Langley, it’s mostly business employees who are consuming much of the on-street parking supply.
We shouldn’t be frustrating quality, mixed-use development that could provide lots of parking that can be shared. We shouldn’t be encouraging single-use sites that aren’t walkable, waste land, and even don’t provide parking for any staff, let alone any customers.
We should do what is right for the future, not just what is easy.
For Fort Langley and Aldergrove, there are lots of good ideas of explore in the coming years.
A longer-term solution can be found with the right combination of on-site parking requirements, shared community parking, bylaw enforcement of posted two- to three-hour maximums, and supporting quality, mixed-use development.
This would be a balanced, proven and consistent approach for the long-term we haven’t yet found for Fort Langley.
Next week’s Langley school district trustees are being asked: In your opinion what is a key program, activity, or service that Langley School District students have had to miss out on because of COVID and/or pandemic restrictions?
Watch for their answers online Sunday.