Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese spoke during Monday night’s council meeting. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Langley Township takes out $85 million in loans for land

The extensive spending requires public approval

Langley Township is planning to spend more than $85 million on land for schools, parks, and roads, but the plan can be blocked if 10 per cent of local voters sign a petition against it.

On Monday, Township council voted in favour of three measures to borrow for various future land acquisitions and park upgrades.

The projects include:

• $1.919 million for McLeod Athletic Park upgrades

• $16.39 million to buy multiple properties, including a 2.5 acre site northeast of the Langley Events Centre off 80th Avenue and properties in Aldergrove’s downtown core

• $67.67 million for a strategic land acquisition near the LEC and in the Smith area of Willoughby, expected to include a 36-acre park

The majority of councillors were in favour of the spending, describing it as an investment.

“We are planning prudently, for the future,” said Councillor Eric Woodward.

The need for more parkland, particularly in Willoughby, was one reason Mayor Jack Froese cited for the borrowing.

“We can’t continue to keep building condos and townhouses without these green spaces,” he said.

The ever-rising cost of land was a factor.

Township administrator Mark Bakken was asked about historical land costs.

He noted that Willoughby 10 years ago saw land sell for about $400,000 to $500,000 an acre, five years ago prices had risen to $1 million an acre, and it’s now in the range of $2 million an acre.

Even with the recent slowdown in housing sales, prices for raw land aren’t dropping.

“We’re seeing people holding their properties, waiting for the market to return,” Bakken said.

Coun. David Davis acknowledged the loans were for large amounts of money.

“It is going to put our taxes up,” Davis acknowledged. “But if we don’t have something [land] there in two, four, five, seven years, where are we going to put a school?”

Some of the lands will eventually be sold to the school district, recouping some costs, councillors noted.

Council was not entirely united behind the plan.

“Excessive borrowing like this is not living within our means,” said Coun. Kim Richter.

All three borrowing measures were approved with Richter and Coun. Petrina Arnason opposed.

The borrowing, despite low interest rates, will have an impact on taxes, according to Township staff reports.

The first two measures, totalling $18.3 million in borrowing, could result in a 1.3 per cent tax increase.

The report on the $67 million did not include an expected tax increase.

Richter noted that voters have an opportunity to overturn the plan if opponents of the borrowing can gather enough signatures.

Under provincial law, municipal governments can’t borrow for terms of more than five years without giving voters a chance to veto the loan.

Because these loans are for between 20 and 30 years, if 8,545 voters in Langley Township fill out and return an Elector Response Form to the Township clerk by 4:30 p.m. in the 30 days leading up to Nov. 29. Each of the three borrowing chunks could potentially be the target of a petition against it over that time period.

Ads will be placed in local newspapers letting residents know about the petition process.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Langley City library has children read to therapy dogs

For kids who struggle with reading, a dog is the perfect audience

VIDEO: Car reportedly dropped off and burned in Langley residential neighbourhood

Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) was on scene Monday morning at 73B Avenue

UPDATED: SPCA and RCMP remove 20 animals from private animal rescue in Langley

Dogs, birds, cats, rabbits and one pig in ‘distress’ according to agency

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants burned by Kamloops Blazers

Home ice loss sees Kamloops extend winning streak to eight

Langley Christian Lightning player makes all-star roster at Top Ten shootout

Makenna Gardner lauded for ‘lights-out’ shooting

Young child seriously injured in suspected drunk driving crash in Delta

“This needs to stop,” says Insp. Ciaran Feenan, head of the Delta Police Department’s patrol section

Poll suggests some don’t think Canada should send troops to stop genocide

The findings are being released just before the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz

B.C. woman crowned the fastest female marathon runner in Canadian history

Malindi Elmore ran an incredible 2:24:50 at the Houston Marathon

Alberta bulldog breeder ordered to give refund to B.C. buyer due to puppy’s behaviour

Tribunal ruled a verbal agreement to send a new dog superseded the written contract

UPDATED: Man dies in backcountry near Nelson’s Whitewater Ski Resort

The victim was found unresponsive in a tree well Friday

Cariboo Memorial Hospital on the mend after cold weather wreaks havoc

Burst pipes and water leaks cause three different incidents

Dog reunited with Tofino owner, months after being taken from beach

Shannon Boothman ‘ecstatic’ at pet’s return after a tip leads to social media search

Most Read