A petition bearing 1,724 names has been submitted to the Township of Langley, by residents asking that 216 Street, from Highway 1 to 88 Avenue, not be designated a truck route.
A large crowd of supporters gathered at Township council on Monday night, when resident Linda Nash presented the petition to council.
“Let’s all work together for the greater good, in this case health and safety,” Nash said.
Along with the petition, she provided council with several documents that support the group’s quest for keeping their neighbourhood clean, quiet and safe.
“I wish to thank from the bottom of my heart all the volunteers who went door-to-door gathering signatures, requesting that 216th south of 88th Avenue to the highway be restricted to local commercial traffic only. Young and old, working alike, working together for the greater good. I am so very proud of my community,” she said, as the audience began to applaud and cheer.
Coun. Petrina Arnason asked Nash for an update on the exploration of making 192 Street a full access interchange, and for more information regarding the Health Impact Assessment (HIA) for the project.
“I really was struck by what you were talking about, working together for the greater good, because I think that that is something that we all really care about and want to achieve,” Arnason said.
Nash replied that her understanding is that 192 Street is in the 10- to 20-year plan, not for the near future. She believes it is the “most obvious solution” to take trucks into Port Kells.
In terms of the HIA, Nash said it is UBC professor Dr. Chris Carlsten’s “expert opinion” that the 10-year-old certificate is not adequate.
“No one is opposed to local commercial traffic delivering groceries, we respect that,” Nash said.
“We need truckers, it’s all part of our lives … we get our goods and services this way, which is absolutely wonderful. It’s just a matter of how it happens, and as long as health is honoured.”
Coun. Kim Richter asked Nash to read the preamble of the petition, and to clarify if any municipalities have signed on to the David Suzuki Foundation’s Blue Dot campaign to give Canadians the legal right to live in a healthy environment.
Nash replied that yes, 155 municipalities in Canada have joined.
Following Nash’s delegation, a second Walnut Grove resident, Nathan Jones, spoke to council.
He said there are many positive examples of projects that work well in the Township, but he opposes “unnecessary spending on infrastructure.”
“For me, this isn’t about truck routes, or car routes, or EV (electric vehicle) lanes or HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes or stop lights or stop signs. The challenges that we have here, they’re not technical problems in search of a perfect interchange, these are moral problems. And they’re routed in the political differences between the movement of commercial goods taking precedence over the health and safety of the families and children of this community,” he said, as the audience applauded him.
Jones said the “community has woken up” and will continue to push back against the project.
“We will do everything within our personal and collective power to not only fight this project on the basis of its legality, we will fight this project on the basis of its morality for the health and safety implications that (the Township) have chosen, and willfully chosen, to ignore.”