Rebecca Darnell is running for councillor in Langley Township. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Rebecca Darnell is running for councillor in Langley Township. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

MEET THE CANDIDATES

IN THE LANGLEY TOWNSHIP COUNCILLOR RACE: Rebecca Darnell

Ahead of Oct. 15, the Advance Times offers a profile and Q&A opportunity to each candidate

Rebecca Darnell

RUNNING AS AN INDEPENDENT

Lawyer, age not provided

Brookswood resident who’s lived in Langley 27 years

Hi I’m Rebecca Darnell. The Township of Langley deserves transparency and accountability in their council.

Your councillors need to focus on the critical issues first, such as public safety – which includes fire, police, and infrastructure to catch up with development and fiscal responsibility.

I chose Langley 27 years ago, when I established Darnell Law Group.

I want what is best for all of Langley.

I hope to continue to contribute to Langley’s legacy, leaving a community that our children and grandchildren will be proud of.

I promise to listen to the people and act in their best interests. I ask for your vote on Oct. 15, 2022.

Facebook: www.facebook.com//RebeccaForToL

Website: rebeccacareytol.ca/news/running-for-township-council/

Phone: 604-786-0124

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Have you held office in past? If so, please specify: No.

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CLICK TO CHECK OUT OUR FULL ELECTION GUIDE ONLINE

Questions:

(These answers are presented as the candidates submitted them)

1. Should the Township 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?

Yes. Not only the Township but other Fraser Valley communities as well need to ensure affordable housing for low income, seniors, social housing, co-op developments and social housing. I prefer to see these housing classifications mixed in with other uses so that the residents do not become isolated and have the opportunities to fully participate in all aspects of our society. They must also be near Transit hubs to ensure they have access to economical transportation. The social and special needs housing needs to ensure there is access to essential health care services, including mental health and substance abuse treatment that addresses abstinence and harm reduction programs.

2. Should the Township create a performing arts venue within the next council term?

Yes. There are underutilized venues which should be explored for use until such time as a multi- purpose arts venue can be created and this should be by way of a public/private partnership model so that it is not entirely on the tax payers dime.

3. Does the Langley Township fire department need to be expanded in terms of crews, equipment, and/or halls?

Yes. The Langley Township Fire Department has been so neglected for so long that the neglect has become an issue. Township needs a multi-faceted Public Safety Committee that places fire at the top of the list. I have been in Langley for 27 years and not much has changed. This morning, September 28, 2022 there was a fire in Brookswood, located very close to the vacant Brookswood Fire Hall. Clearly there could have been a Fire Presence in less than 5 minutes but unfortunately with that response coming all the way from Murrayville it would have been at least 15 minutes. This translates into increased property loss and I can only hope there were no lives lost. We need four man fire trucks and enough fire fighters on shift at any given time to respond to a High Rise Fire. That will also require increased training.

4. Should property tax increases be restricted to the rate of inflation or lower?

Yes. If at all possible the taxes should be maintained at no more than the rate of inflation. However, if there are extenuating circumstances that require additional ongoing income, such as an increase in the complement of the Fire Department, that would justify an increase to ensure that we can meet the standards for public safety.

5. Should the Township encourage greater housing density in new and existing neighbourhoods?

Don’t Know. Greater housing density needs to be considered on a case by case basis. If it means high rise towers before we have the necessary public safety increase in fire resources, then no. However, if we can get over that hurdle then high density may be the answer to population influx and increase.

6. Should the Township do more to build and upgrade roads, sidewalks, and bike paths in fast-growing areas?

Yes. The roads, sidewalks and bike paths need constant upgrading and maintenance. The local transportation networks of today are so far ahead of even 10-15 years ago. Progress in this area addresses not only the needs of moving people, goods and services, but also doing so safely. Specific attention needs to be paid to intersections, safety and moving towards the “walkable” community models.

7. Is the Township’s population growing too fast?

No. It is not our “population” that may appear go be growing too fast but rather the influx of population from surrounding areas. This is urban sprawl. This is a function of not only what happens or not in Langley but also what is happening in the surrounding communities.

8. Should the Township consider switching to a municipal police force, instead of using the RCMP?

No. At least not at this time. We have an extreme shortage of boots on the ground with double digit vacancies in the local RCMP Detachment. That situation needs to be explored. I suggest an independent core review to discern what is happening and why. Surrey is in the middle of a transition and we should wait to see how that pans out. We also have Abbotsford, Port Moody, City of Vancouver, Delta, West Vancouver and other local police forces in British Columbia. One of the core issues I have experienced with the Langley RCMP is failure to investigate domestic violence and property crime. I advocate a Multi-Faceted Public Safety Committee to do a core review into policing. I advocate accountability directly to the Township from the RCMP, which is not currently the case. This may be as simple as a modification to the Policing Agreements with the RCMP or not. Until we have the independent research by way of an independent core review.

9. Does the Township have enough parks and public spaces to meet the needs of its growing population?

No. There is insufficient independent public space to meet the needs of the growth in population. However, there are many public spaces within our schools that are underutilized and can be shared by the Township and the School District to begin to address the needs for parks and arts venues while the Township addresses the more critical needs such as public safety, development and transit. We have fields, tracks and indoor gymnasiums that are very often vacant outside of school hours. Those facilities needs to be shared so that we can deliver the services to the Township residents first and neighboring residents next. There are a number of neighboring residents who use our Township facilities because they too have shortages. We also need to ensure that there is adequate staff. The entire Province of BC is facing labour shortages and staffing crisis. There is not much point in having facilities where there is nobody to staff them.

10. Should the Township commit to making a decision on proposed new developments within 12 months or less?

Yes. The Township should commit to making decisions in development proposals as soon as possible – and in any event no later than 12 months.

Having said that, be clear that we are entering a period of economic depression/recession, which is likely to significantly reduce the number of development proposals.

The Township needs to exercise prudence and caution as it relates to increasing development fees and imposing expensive restrictions, but also have in mind sustainability, such as solar power and air conditioning as well as ensuring there is canopy replacement by way of vegetation that is drought and flood resistant.

Climate change is here, and all development proposals must have sustainability built in.

Finally, the development proposals should ensure access to first responder services such as fire. Currently there is no ability for Langley fire to respond to proposals such as the 47-storey high rise recently proposed.

Public safety must come first.

Mixed-use housing must be considered to address the multi-faceted issues facing our people with different economic resources. The Township needs to catch up with reality.

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CLICK ON OUR ELECTIONS 2022 TAB TO FIND A WIDE VARIETY OF RELEVANT STORIES

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EDITOR’S NOTE:

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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