A change of attitude at Langley Township

There seems to be a little more willingness to bend on certain issues at Langley Township council.

It may be a little premature to come to conclusions, but there seems to be a change of attitude on at least some issues at Langley Township council.

Issues that came up during the election, and in the two years preceding it, are being addressed in different ways. There seems to be a more conciliatory attitude on the part of most councillors, and there may indeed be some major changes in policy.

Having three new members of council is undoubtedly a factor, as was the defeat of three incumbents. Those who were re-elected are likely approaching each issue just a little bit differently.

One significant change in policy is on the subject of construction noise. When this issue first came up in May, 2014, several members of council were dismissive of those who expressed concerns about work going on from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., every day of the week. When Councillor Kim Richter brought forward some suggested reductions in the hours that work was permitted, Councillor Charlie Fox said she was engaging in “governance by complaint.”

Last week, Fox praised proposed new regulations which in some ways are even stricter than the ones Richter had proposed last May. While construction would be permitted until 8 p.m. weekdays (Richter had proposed 7 p.m.), it would be stopped altogether on Sundays, and limited to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

Council has also had some discussions about parking issues in Willoughby. Residents have been concerned about the lack of parking spaces, particularly as 80 Avenue has been four-laned east of 208 Street, but no street parking is permitted. It is similar to 72 Avenue west of 200 Street, except the volume of traffic is considerably less.

While some neighbours object to the call for more parking, saying the problem is solely due to illegal suites, the fact remains that people who live in all areas of Willoughby require cars because there is almost no transit service. Buses go up 200 Street, and one bus route goes along 202A Street by Mountain Secondary. There are no buses east of there. Meanwhile, the construction of new homes along or near 208 Street continues at a breakneck pace.

Many residents in that area get rides to the Carvolth bus exchange, while some brave adventurers walk to either Carvolth or 200 Street — a long walk from almost anywhere.

On another issue, council has already indicated that it intends to look carefully at the whole community planning process, to ensure that residents feel they are being heard much earlier in the process. It wants to prevent a repeat of the Brookswood-Fernridge fiasco from last spring.

On the issue of the contentious TransLink sales tax, council has agreed to hear from both sides on the issue — unlike most councils in the Lower Mainland, which are unanimously backing the plan. Langley Township councillors are well aware of the many concerns residents here have about TransLink and increased taxation, and despite Mayor Jack Froese’s backing of the tax at the Mayors’ Council, councillors will be making their own minds up after listening to two very different perspectives.