1- What is the most important issue facing the Township, and how would you propose to deal with it?
Based on what I am hearing from the community, it is growth, specifically in Willoughby. Langley is an appealing place to live, and what was projected as 30 years of growth seems to be happening in 20. As a result, investment in infrastructure has not kept pace with the accelerated rate of growth. A priority for me is ensuring we continue to have a mix of housing, including a variety of town homes and apartments for purchase and rent, as well as high quality, affordable assisted living and full care facilities so our residents can age in place. We must ensure that first time buyers and seniors don’t have to leave the community they have known all their life, to lose their connection to friends/family because they don’t have a local option for affordable housing, downsizing or receiving a moderate level of care. We need to continue to approach development that respects diversity. There are a lot of great things about Willoughby and I believe a lot of lessons to be learned about how we move forward in other areas of the Township. The key to moving forward is to listen, make adjustments where required and ask good questions, so we are considering all of the options available to us. Then we are able to make the best decisions we can for the residents of the whole community. We cannot have these conversations and get a positive result by being adversarial. We must be collaborative, work with the development community, all levels of government and the school district to ensure we are striking the appropriate balance – having good relationships with all of those participants is critical to the success of managing the challenges we are experiencing.
2 – Should there be restrictions on development in Willoughby until the situation regarding funding for new schools has been resolved?
My goal as a new councillor is to ask good questions that lead to meaningful conversations and positive results. How do we restrict development ? How do we decide which development proceeds, and which doesn’t, without favoring one over the other? There are no easy answers, every option must be considered. It is time to discuss new, creative ideas, to find solutions while we work in collaboration with the school district to continue to challenge the provincial government for more capital investment. The Township cannot solve this in isolation. We need to work very closely with the school district to stay on top of the situation and find practical ways to work within current constraints. Although the solutions may not be ideal in the short term, we have to pull together to make things work. Putting blanket restrictions on development could create serious risks to our long-term growth and prosperity. Right now, there are three neighbourhood plans still in process – those could be possibly paused while some of the other issues get resolved.
3 – Do you support a pool and recreation centre complex in Aldergrove, and if so, when should construction begin? If not, why not?
Yes. Absolutely. The pool and recreation center in Aldergrove is very high on my priority list. This facility is much more important than just a rec center. It will breathe some enthusiasm and excitement into the community. It will give families a place to meet, play, learn and gather. It will help attract new residents and foster other opportunities for the community. It will provide new programs and contribute on so many levels to the growth and community well-being in Aldergrove. I am not sure when construction can begin but I believe the project should proceed as soon as possible. There are still some logistical issues to deal with, as well as budgeting commitments, but I am sure that with the will of council they will be easy to overcome. There’s work to be done to make it happen and I will work hard to keep the plans moving forward to completion.
4 – What type of development, if any, should be encouraged in a new community plan for Brookswood and Fernridge?
The “type” of development in the Brookswood/Fernridge area needs to be decided on by the community, and it’s important that these communities retain their character.
All of the stakeholders need to come together with the Township to create an Official Community Plan (OCP) that everyone can live with. A new OCP needs to be built around community feedback and participation. As a community, we need to work to strike a balance between agriculture, commercial and residential. All three of those components are incredibly important to the future of our community and we must respect the importance of each of them. In order to maintaining the high quality of life we already enjoy here in Langley, we need to support diversity in our development plans, prioritize public safety and the environment. First and foremost, we can’t put the interest of one group ahead of another.