Letter: Langley resident wary of community associations and grant request

A Fernridge resident says community associations should not receive taxpayer funds.

Dear Editor,

A ‘public engagement’ delegation appeared before Township council on Jan. 29, requesting grant money from us taxpayers.

Andy Schildhorn and Barbara Sharp represented six different community associations (CAs) ; Aldergrove, Brookswood, Fort Langley, Willoughby, Murrayville and Milner.

Note: In past decades such groups were known as ratepayers associations who’s more practical purpose was to bolster value for taxes paid.

These six CA groups have organized into an overall umbrella group identified as Township of Langley community associations and claim to have a direct reach of from 15 to 20,000 residents. Questionable, as in reality they represent a very small fraction of residents compared to our local newspapers.

Why are they suddenly in an election year spending a lot of energy to organize Township wide?

How does a community issue in Aldergrove, make it necessary for a Brookswood group 15 kilometres away to be connected?

It’s quite obvious they are structuring to have power in numbers for political influence.

We know one of their combined issues is to establish a Township wide tree-cutting bylaw.

What a ruse! They repeatedly said they were ‘non-political’ which they must be in order to qualify for grant money.

Community associations are basically advocacy groups and almost always endorse certain politicians. These politicians are quite willing to encourage and use these groups for publicity especially at campaign time.

The hypocracy… Councillor Richter (now running for mayor) is suddenly all for funding these groups, but voted against the ‘Public Engagement Strategy’ and always voted against budgets that provided funding for community groups.

Many times we have observed CA members at ‘public hearings’ and ‘letters to the editor’ threaten to politically un-elect members of Council that vote to approve development projects or don’t agree with their point of view.

The CA groups may be volunteer in nature, but they demand costly civic staff interaction time which further eats up our tax-dollars.

While these CA groups carry out activities of varying degrees of value, much of the information they post on their websites is inaccurate, biased and misleading.

For up to date valid information, we should use and rely on the existing taxpayers Township’s professional website.

There is no question their underlying motives are political and could be to create an anti-development advocacy power group. Many of these CAs have been asking for elaborate or unnecessary amenities which drives up the costs of housing and our taxes.

Example, the Brookswood-Fernridge Community Association has basically been a special interest anti-development protest group who are also politically campaigning for Richter, Arnason and Davis.

These special interest CA groups should not be given tax-dollar grants for their basic existence (functions and operations). However they can apply for grants like any group can for ‘specific events’ or ‘projects’.

Roland Seguin, Fernridge

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