The voters have spoken – and newly re-elected Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese said the issues raised in the campaign will be front and center for the new council in the next few months.
Following Saturday’s victory at the polls, Froese told the Langley Advance that trees, roads, and development issues will be among those tackled quickly.
A tree protection bylaw is expected to come before council quickly, Froese said.
“That is a priority,” he said.
Council has batted ideas on tree protection back and forth for years, but has never implemented a permanent Township-wide bylaw.
Dealing with one of the Township’s major roads is also on the agenda.
“208th [Street] was front and centre,” said Froese.
The busy road through Willoughby has gone from a quiet country lane 20 years ago to a busy artery through the community’s largest residential area.
Froese said he wants to reach out to developers as partners in the project to finish widening the road, which ranges from two to three to four lanes across several kilometres.
Getting a building permit in Langley Township should be quicker and easier, Froese said, saying he would like to see a review of the process.
“Our staff are taxed with trying to keep up,” Froese said, as the building boom has stretched resources thin.
He promised to keep development moving and to add density “where it belongs.”
“Affordability and density go together,” Froese said.
Also dealing with affordability, rental housing, and homelessness will come together in ongoing development. The proposal for the supportive housing at the Quality Inn is expected to come up for a vote as soon as this fall.
Regionally, plans for transit and light rail will require the Township to work with the other communities through the TransLink Mayors’ Council.
Surrey’s new mayor Doug McCallum wants some radical changes to plans for light rail, which could affect whether SkyTrain or at-grade light rail eventually arrives in Langley.
Over the longer term, there are a number of other issues, including the plan to redevelop a sizable piece of downtown Fort Langley around a new and expanded museum and cultural centre.
There are three new faces at the council table – Councillors Steve Ferguson, Margaret Kunst, and Eric Woodward will join incumbents Petrina Arnason, David Davis, Bob Long, Kim Richter, and Blair Whitmarsh. Of the three new councillors, Ferguson has previously served multiple terms on council.