1 – What is the most important issue facing the City, and how would you propose to deal with it?
Social issues are among the important issues facing the city. This includes drug activity and poverty/homelessness. Since the Gateway of Hope (G of H) shelter has opened (five years ago), many less advantaged people have been assisted in finding permanent lodging and are drug free. As a member of the G of H community council, we continue to look at ways to better serve the disadvantaged. I believe the provincial government is focused on the downtown east side and I will advocate to meet with representatives from the provincial government for further assistance to address the problems we face in Langley City.
2 – What is the best way to deal with the crime issues in the City?
Crime in the City of Langley is actually down by 17 per cent, but that doesn’t mean to say it should be ignored. Langley City has one of the highest police to population ratios in the Lower Mainland,1 officer for every 502 residents. Our police budget is almost one-third of the total city budget ($10 million) so hiring more police is not the answer. We are fortunate to have a detachment which sees the advantage of having officers walk the beat and on bike patrol, and this should continue. Officers are involved in our community. Unfortunately, as has been said in the past, it’s a few offenders committing the crimes. City council and staff communicate with the RCMP on a regular basis, with this opportunity the RCMP are kept up to date on what should be focused on.
3- Should the city apply most if not all of its annual take from the casino to upgrading its aging infrastructure, such as water and sewer lines?
The City already applies most of the casino proceeds to infrastructure. Almost 90 per cent of the approximately $5.5 million goes to capital projects. The remaining $582,140 goes to operating grants that fund such things as the ice users, Grade 5 swim program, seniors centre, community grants ($150,000) and enterprise fund. By having the capital dollars in place, no tax increases are needed to pay for the capital projects.
4- Do you support term limits for members of council?