Column: Are we nearing the end of the road on the Old Yale debate?

It’s been a long and winding road. After all this time, perhaps it’s too much to hope that an open house hosted by the Township of Langley last Thursday evening could signal the beginning of the end of the debate over Old Yale Road.

Then again, maybe this time, things really will get rolling.

The fate of the one-km stretch of concrete that runs between the Langley City boundary and Five Corners in Murrayville has been the subject of discourse for a number of years now, with a fair sized chunk of the population calling for its resurfacing in asphalt — the sooner the better.

Others bang the heritage drum and insist that the road’s unique status as the only segment of Old Yale that still retains the concrete surface poured more than 90 years ago, makes it worthy of preservation in some version of its present state.

Township staff deserve credit for coming up with a trio of options that take both sides of the Old Yale Road debate into consideration.

Of course, not everyone will be happy with whichever option is eventually selected.

Some are concerned — and reasonably so — that if it’s paved,  it will become a de facto speedway.

Others fear the increased traffic a smoother surface would no doubt draw, could detract from the road’s picturesque nature.

Since the City installed traffic lights, making left turns onto Fraser Highway from Old Yale an actual possibility, I’ve become a regular user of the road. I’m happy to plod along at the speed limit, to help ensure the road’s enormous cracks and potholes don’t swallow up my little car.

Keeping my speed down has the added bonus of permitting me to enjoy the bucolic surroundings for the couple of minutes it takes to drive from one end to the other.

Not everyone, I’m sure, is delighted by my leisurely approach, but then I’ve got the law on my side.

For myself, I’d be thrilled to see an option which maintains or replaces at least a portion of the old road — not because I’m all that sentimental about concrete, but because both options that include these measures, also call for a multi-use path which, from what I can gather, would be separated from the road.

To me, that’s both a safer and more pleasant option for walkers and cyclists — whether they’re using the route as the shortest way to and from downtown or are just out for some exercise  with the family dog.

Of course, we live in a democracy, which means the best option is the one favoured by the majority. The more feedback the Township gets, the more closely their decision can reflect the will of the people.

Judging from the relatively large turn out at the open house (I got there early and had trouble getting a close-up look at some of the boards) Langley residents do seem to be invested in the road’s future.

For those who want to have a say, but weren’t able to get there in person to fill out a survey, the information and the forms are available on the Township’s website. It’s worth taking a few minutes to complete, because it may be the one opportunity we all get to help steer the Township in the  preferred direction.