Township council will take another look at plans to widen 208th Street and other Willoughby roads. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Plans to widen 208th Street get another look from Township council

Council voted to take another look at a plan to use development fees

A road-widening plan for 208th Street and other major routes in Willoughby is back on the agenda of Langley Township council after a vote on Monday, Jan. 13.

Council had voted not to move ahead with Councillor Eric Woodward’s plan at their Dec. 2 meeting, facing a number of amendments.

The plan would collect fees from developers to go towards the multi-million dollar cost of widening 208th and other key roads, including those leading to local schools such as R.E. Mountain Secondary.

On Monday, Woodward asked council to have Township staff make a full report on the plan, to help clarify any confusion around how the project would work.

“I’m trying to contain that frustration and present solutions to council,” said Woodward.

The fate of 208th Street has been much discussed in recent years, including in the 2018 civic election. Originally a two-lane rural road, the overpass to Walnut Grove and the addition of thousands of new residents in Willoughby has turned it into one of the busiest streets in the Township.

However, much of the road remains two lanes wide, because current Township policy is to have developers widen the road in front of their land as developments are built. This means 208th Street currently widens and contracts several times on each side between 68th Avenue and the overpass in the north.

Woodward’s request for staff to explain the cost charges plan as it currently exists could revive a proposal to collect money and widen key sections of the road before development takes place.

“I think it’s the beginning of a more in-depth discussion,” said Coun. Petrina Arnason.

Other councillors had mixed feelings, but were willing to take another look at the idea.

Coun. David Davis note that his instinct when confused about a piece of legislation is not to vote for it. If he can understand it better, he might change his mind, he said.

“Let’s give it a try,” said Davis.

All the councillors voted in favour of receiving the new staff presentation, except for Coun. Bob Long.

“It seems there’s been a change of heart at the council table,” Long said. “For me there hasn’t.”

Long pointed to the risks of potentially borrowing $33.5 million for the roads, with the money to be paid back by development cost charges.

“I think there are many risks,” said Long.

He also said he would prefer fixing Fraser Highway, which is also two lanes in many long stretches, to 208th Street.

Coun. Blair Whitmarsh was also concerned about the possibility of borrowing money.

“There are lots of concerns, there are lots of what-ifs in this plan,”

Woodward said there is no mention of borrowing funds in the current plan.

But Whimarsh said that borrowing is a possibility – and that if there is no borrowing, it could take several years to gather enough money through DCCs to start any work at all, and perhaps five to seven years before significant construction could be done.

The date of the presentation was not set at Monday’s meeting.

Woodward noted that the cost of the land the Township would need to purchase to widen 208th and other major roads Willoughby has been increasing rapidly.

“The latest staff report in 2018, and now land costs are $46 million,” he said, up from $16 million in 2015. “Inaction and doing nothing increased the cost of the problem by $30 million.”

developmentLangleyLangley Townshipmunicipal politicsTraffic

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

Just Posted

Dancing and cheering together, apart

How Xtreme Cheer Dance in Langley is handling the COVID-19 outbreak

Fraser Health stops hospital television set service to limit COVID-19 spread

Dr. Victoria Lee said personal mobile devices can still be used by patients at this time

Langley School District Foundation asking for donations to feed hungry students

Organization has put out call to businesses to sponsor gift cards in wake of COVID school closures

VIDEO: Langley Advance Times launches Workout Wednesday with Brand Fitness

Starting April 8 local fitness trainer will lead weekly workout session

Langley ER nurses, doctors pay it forward to local students

The ER is donating to help feed Langley kids in need

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

Most Read