Langley Vineyard pastor, age 58
Willoughby resident who’s lived in Langley 26 years
My name is Leith White. Patti, my wife, and I have been married for 38 years; with four daughters and a “grand” total of eight grandkids.
We’ve loved living in Langley for over 25 years.
While we do live in Willoughby, I have pastored a church in Langley City for the last 22 years called Langley Vineyard.
Why am I running for council? I care. I care about people, from the vulnerable to the vibrant and independent. I care about the kind of community Langley City is and becomes in the future – and those two are very closely linked.
So, I’m prepared to roll up my sleeves and work alongside you – for today and to see Langley City thrive tomorrow. Simple.
Have you held office in past? If so, please specify: No.
(These answers are presented as the candidates submitted them)
1. Should Langley City have its own, separate RCMP detachment?
NO – At least you’re not asking if we should have our own police force!
Seriously – we are being serviced well with the current force. Yes, could we use more policing presence within the community – always … and this will improve with the recent addition of RCMP members within the City.
2. Should the City create a performing arts venue within the next council term?
YES. As a city – we need to to enhance people’s lifestyle experiences – and developing our cultural, recreational social infrastructure within Langley City would certainly help this. While important – its fortunate this process will take time – as we need to keep any further tax rate increases to 0%.
3. Does the City need more overpasses to reduce train-caused traffic delays?
4. Should the City set targets for the creation of more low-income and seniors rental spaces, social housing units, and/or co-op development to improve home security?
The next several years will be critical for us as a community to address the issue of accessibility and affordability to housing and housing security FOR ALL!
There are best practices from other regions and cities we need to adopt. Updated and proper housing reviews, meaning community consultation, proper planning with inclusionary zoning , efficient development processes that balance speed up access and maximize the affordability through adopting innovative policies and best practices. Like making sure we always have a % of non-market rate housing options (Inclusionary Housing policies) that take the desperation out of the market. We need a greater and wider range of housing mix that serves a higher density and that meets the need – from a wide range of rental options (low & mid rise apts), co-op developments, townhouses, duplex, four-plex, and make it easier and less burdensome for single homes to develop secondary suites as well.
5. Are City taxes too high?
YES – Not in favor of ANY property tax increases.
We’re struggling to emerge from a global crisis that impacted us more than anyone thought economically possible. People are doing their best – given job insecurities, and inflation – just to make things work and keep their heads above water. We need to be supporting our businesses in this time and fostering an environment conducive for growth.
That said – we can’t decrease property taxes so our efforts must be in stewarding our resources as wise and best we can; looking for efficiencies and savings in every area and everything we do – a 1% savings on the City’s proposed expenditures in 2022 of $16.7M is $167,000! 1% savings add up and can make a difference for us all. We also can make sure that we’re maximizing available grants made available to us through the Provincial and Federal Gov’ts.
6. Is the City’s population growing too fast?
NO – But we have to be planning ahead appropriately the necessary needs of our community and the infrastructure to match that growth. We don’t land to expand … so we have to be realistic but always looking for new and most efficient ways to maximize our growth with our resources and working with developers and construction methods that can deliver.
7. Should the City institute pay parking in some downtown areas?
YES – eventually. Parking is a challenge and a premium. Its also what helps provide long term sustainability for our infrastructure and services. People understand this as a reality.
8. Will the arrival of SkyTrain change Langley City for the better?
YES. With careful planning, taking the best from other municipalities and learning from their success and executing the right development policies. (Transit Oriented Development) The Sky Train will not just help Langley City for the better – but will help us thrive – economically – attracting new business. It will enhance our livability with access to affordable housing. The Sky train of today is not the sky train of 20 years ago – stations are new, bright, secure – there’s the presence of transit police. It is change – for us – but this kind of transit expansion is necessary to continue to accommodate our growth now and in the future.
9. Can municipal staff and council do more to attract new green and high-tech businesses to open in Langley City?
YES – But we have to develop a clear strategy to attract new green business and the high-tech business. This will take time because personally I think that if that’s an industry we want to attract – we have to be incorporating it into our community. Green industry is looking towards net-zero and sustainability. New business growth in the future is being developed with that in mind. If we’re wanting to attract it – we have to be operating with it – in the development of our communities, our buildings, our transportation.
10. Does the City have a handle on the problems created by homelessness?
No. Langley City’s policies and approach to homelessness has exacerbated the homeless crisis in Langley.
The City has long criticized the provincial government for their failure to address the situation, but their own lack of action and leadership has negatively impacted the City, itself.
The last two years (2021/2022) the provincial government allocated over $100 million through the “Strengthening Communities Program Grant” for every municipal government to take advantage of.
The program’s goal was to support unsheltered homeless individuals and address related community impacts.
58 Municipalities submitted grant applications and over $80M was awarded to those municipalities to address unsheltered homeless and the related community impact on the municipality.
Langley City was eligible to receive $562,000. But, instead they chose to do nothing, and Langley City received nothing.
So, on your way to vote… and you’re passing the homeless – please don’t be hasty in your judgment.
Reserve that for who you vote for council.
You’re going to need it, because they may affect your future more than you think – and things aren’t always what they seem.
How the questions were presented to each candidate
Langley Advance Times readers have repeatedly told us how much they value this important, straight-forward reference guide that helps orient them with the range of choices on the ballots – both at the council and school board levels.
Towards that end, we have attempted to make this package available (along with the following instructions) to each of the candidates in a timely fashion ahead of the Oct. 15 election.
Please read carefully before you start to fill this out.
To help voters in Langley make their choices on election day, the Langley Advance Times is asking local candidates 10 issue-based questions.
You must provide a ‘yes,’ a ‘no,’ or a ‘don’t know’ (Y, N, D) response to EACH of these questions.
Each question MUST be answered with yes (Y), no (N), or Don’t Know (D). This will be published in a grid in the Oct. 6 edition. Any questions not answered will be LEFT BLANK.
Candidates may also expand on ANY OR ALL of these questions (to a maximum of 200 words each). Please note any responses longer than that will be cut off at the 201-word mark.
Due to space limitations, we can only guarantee to run one of these answers in the Langley Advance Times print edition ahead of the election. You must CLEARLY indicate which expanded answer you want to see published in print. If you do not specify, we will choose. Any and all expanded answers provided will be published online at www.langleyadvancetimes.com.
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