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: Where should the next SkyTrain extension south of the Fraser River go – east to Abbotsford, north to Maple Ridge, or west to White Rock and South Surrey?
Mayor Jack Froese
A. Transit to the Fraser Valley is necessary; however, studies would need to be undertaken to ensure SkyTrain is the appropriate technology for the extension.
I’d like to see TransLink, BC Transit, and the province work together to determine the appropriate method of transit service.
Councillor Petrina Arnason
A. There is strong public support for the expansion of transportation options and enhancing transportation infrastructure.
We must consider integrated land use planning and projected population growth, as well as mobility considerations and employment opportunities.
There are a number of options other than SkyTrain that would be more economically feasible to connect communities in the region to, and beyond, the Langleys.
I agree with the suggestion that the provincial government should review the option to construct a public transit rail connection linking Metro Vancouver to the easterly portions of the Fraser Valley, which is conservatively projected to have a regional population of approximately 450,000 by 2040.
Any proposals should be based on tripartite funding and a business plan that would identify all costs and input streams and projected timelines for construction.
In support of regional and provincial climate action policies and the need to prioritize the reduction of transportation related greenhouse gases, I would support further analysis for a phased rail line system designed to initially link to Abbotsford.
Councillor David Davis
A. I think that the next SkyTrain extension should go east to Abbotsford and points beyond because it will connect the Valley to Metro Vancouver.
What is also very important is having bus routes and park and rides to encourage ridership.
Councillor Steve Ferguson
A. Langley, Langley, and more Langley.
Actually the SkyTrain is just touching the Langleys, it is just landing in the city.
We as a member of TransLink have been waiting for over 20 years for the rapid transit and of course SkyTrain to come to the Langleys!
1. Expansion to Willoughby (LEC) and where the population is growing in Langley!
2. Further expansion along to Walnut Grove,which also provides an excellent connection to the highway. (Buses to the Eastern Valley and of course to the existing buses to Surrey/Vancouver/Airport, etc.)
3. Feeder route to Brookswood/Fernridge anticipating future growth.
4. Continuation of SkyTrain along Fraser Highway [Murrayville, rural Langley to Aldergrove]
The answer is simple… More SkyTrain for the Langleys!
Councillor Margaret Kunst
A. This councillor failed to reply to this query, prior to deadline.
Councillor Bob Long
A. I am not a supporter of SkyTrain.
I think that ‘at grade rail’ is a far better option.
For the cost of just one of the suggestions made in the question… all three communities could be served with light rail service.
Councillor Kim Richter
A. I do not support any rapid transit expansion outside of Langley Township, until current Langley Township transit needs are fully met.
First and foremost, once the SkyTrain actually gets to Langley, I think Langley rapid transit expansion routes need to go north on 200th Street to Walnut Grove to meet population density requirements there.
Second, I think the Interurban Rail Corridor needs to link Langley to Abbotsford/Chilliwack. It should be fully and properly funded to do so.
Third, Maple Ridge already has rapid transit that our local taxpayers are currently supporting so no more is needed there in my opinion.
Finally, I strongly oppose any future TransLink rapid transit links to South Surrey.
Surrey’s South Campbell Heights development (200th Street south from 24th to 8th Avenues) is currently outside existing TransLink rapid transit corridor plans.
I oppose turning the 660 acres in this area to “employment lands” to the detriment of the Campbell River watershed, the Brookswood aquifer, and the future health and safety of area residents. I am ashamed by the Metro Vancouver Feb. 25 vote on this.
Development in this environmentally pristine, vibrant, and ecologically sensitive area passed at MetroVancouvour by 69-65 weighted votes.
If only one person carrying three weighted votes at Metro Vancouver had changed their vote, then this 660-acre, environmentally sensitive area would have been saved for future generations to enjoy and value.
I proudly used my three votes of Langley Township’s total six Metro Vancouver votes to oppose this future environmental destruction.
Councillor Blair Whitmarsh
A. The next extension for SkyTrain should accommodate the current population, but also consider where the future growth will be happening.
White Rock and South Surrey have a large population that could benefit from more public transit.
However, as we continue to see the population growth moving further east, it would make sense that there is a future expansion to Abbotsford, as well.
Councillor Eric Woodward
A. Given our significant growth recently confirmed by the 2021 census information released a few weeks ago, there is no question that the Township of Langley needs and deserves more investment in rapid transit infrastructure.
I am very much looking forward to outlining my vision for progress on this important issue, and many others, during the upcoming municipal election later this year.
Next week’s Langley school district trustees are being asked: What is the future of middle-school education in rural Langley and Walnut Grove, where it has not yet been implemented?
Watch for their answers online Sunday.