Archive for February, 2013

So let’s see what we have today; Gordon Campbell’s Liberals became Christy Clark’s Liberals became Today’s Liberals? Who is kidding whom? Today’s Liberals are Yesterdays Liberals!!!

What is happening today is a mirror image to what happened in the dying days of Social Credit – I know – I was there in the thick of it. They are trying to trot out and sell the same old and tired un-saleable rhetoric of the scary NDP. When is Free Enterprise going to learn that when you become arrogant, cocky, non-consultative, don’t listen, introduce self-serving policies and legislation and above all have a major credibility problem, the province pays the price? Remember the sale of B.C. Rail (they said they wouldn’t), the introduction of the HST (they said they wouldn’t), multiple deficit budgets (they said they wouldn’t), the intriguing payout of $6 million to pay Basi and Virks legal bills on the eve of MLA Gary Farrell Collins court testimony despite their guilty pleas (against Government policy) and the list goes on! To top it off they remove the best Auditor General this province has ever had and they want to be re-elected?

After a decade of the foregoing and with bad news breaking daily the public just wants a change. Many don’t know who they are going to vote for they just know they are not voting B.C. Liberal! A message to Rich Coleman – You need to do far more than change the deck chairs on the Titanic.

A little history – For those that don’t know, Social Credit used to be the Fee Enterprise Coalition in this province at one point in the late 80s with over 110,000 paid up members. I was a life member since 1975. Elected Alderman in Delta in 1987 I won the Social Credit nomination for Delta North in 1989 and lost in the election of 1991. Social Credit was a government that won consecutive elections from 1975 through to annihilation in 1991. Make no mistake about it, we deserved that result in spades – the public had enough! As is the case today, we filled the news daily with blunder after blunder and dumb decision after dumb decision. That was THE end of the Social Credit Coalition as we knew it and it was the birth of the B.C. Liberal Party under then leader Gordon Wilson. The early years of the B.C. Liberals were dysfunctional at best. Gordon Campbell subsequently took over the leadership of the B.C. Liberal Party, ran and won in the Quilchena by-election of 1994. The B.C. Liberal Party became the new Free Enterprise Coalition which in my view had its problems for years convincing traditional conservatives that any banner with the name Liberal is something they could support!

The reason for laying out this history becomes obvious when you look at the fiasco under the current governing B.C. Liberal Government. As a traditional Free Enterprise supporter I always had difficulty with Gordon Campbell as leader, knowing him during my early municipal days serving on the Metro Labor Relations Bureau. Having said that I have voted Liberal since 1991 but never again, enough is enough!! A vote for a Liberal candidate this year is “an endorsement of their record”! If the voter does not start standing up to government, Municipal, Provincial or Federal who have been so responsible for such irresponsible actions, what will it take? The election is your only chance to make a statement!

Today’s Liberals – “They have completely blown their credibility” The responsibility for the decisions that put the B.C. Liberal Government in this situation are of their own making. Take a long look at the current Liberal MLAs that are running for re-election? Now go back to our abbreviated list of bad decisions (above) and ask yourself which MLAs fought against the sale of B.C. Rail? Basi / Virk? HST? Deficit Budgets? Not one with the exception of John van Dongen who had the guts to take a stand, albeit a little late in the process. At least he is paying his own legal bills in his hunt for the truth!

My thoughts, from a Langley perspective? Our representatives are culpable in supporting every one of these controversial decisions and did nothing except to preach their virtues. No consultation, no public input, they know better! The art of ignoring the public has been practiced and preached in the Township of Langley for years. Should we be surprised?

  • Rich Coleman – Deputy Premier, Minister Energy Mines and Natural Gas, B.C. Housing, B.C. Lotteries, Liquor Branch and PAVCO lately of Surrey Casino Gate and of Smart Meter fame.
  • Mary Polak – Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

In my three years in the Mayor’s office I gained a good deal of first-hand experience as to the record of our MLAs, a record of consistent defense of bad government decisions. This is the government that eliminated $80K immediately from the Langley Senior’s Resource Center for much needed senior transportation.  These two ministers were nowhere to be found to find funding for that much needed service. I took my initiative to take a request back to our council and had interim funding approved to year end. Unfortunately funding was terminated for the next fiscal year by the Provincial Government!

B.C. Liberal Candidate Rally just held – So now we get everyone trotting out the line of renewal. First you have to ask yourself who in good conscience could run with a collection of individuals who so abused the public trust and have NO credibility with the public. We hear they have attracted a number of star candidates. Well I guess that is subjective, what qualifies as a Star Candidate?

What are my thoughts about Peter Fassbender running; from a Langley perspective?

  • Mayor Peter Fassbender, Langley City – Now being called a “Star Candidate” in Surrey Fleetwood. Really?
  • Now Peter Fassbender is quoted as saying “I am not a parachute candidate” and he is serious about winning. Well if that is the case what should the residents of Langley City think about their Mayor who just, one year ago, was reelected Mayor. Does this mean that if Mayor Fassbender loses he will run and be satisfied with being Mayor in 2014, or will he run for Mayor just to hold him over to the 2017 Provincial Campaign? Just asking?
  • This is the same Mayor Fassbender that was appointed Chair of the Provincial Crown Corporation PAVCO by his good friend and Minister responsible Rich Coleman. (Coleman said that in the Legislature). Peter Fassbender gets appointed and then Peter Fassbender becomes a candidate? Just asking the question? Sounds like Lets Make a Deal?
  • As the Mayor of the City next to a much larger neighboring Municipality Mayor Fassbender showed zero respect and consideration over the difficult Mufford Cresc. decision by writing, in opposition, an open letter to the Mayor of the Township, no phone call, no conversation, no respect.
  • As Vice Chair of the Translink Mayors Council during my three years, Mayor Fassbender showed his stripes by supporting the provincial position for property tax increases despite the majority of Mayors opposing this position, thankfully he wasn’t successful.
  • As the observer and point person for the recently concluded RCMP Contract negotiations, it seems there were cost issues that have arisen that were unknown, but Peter Fassbender worked with the Province (AG Shirley Bond) to get it signed off. Mayor Fassbender, the father of an RCMP member, (not that there is anything wrong with that) consistently took the lead role in representing member municipalities during contract negotiations. If you are going to volunteer to do the job, you had better understand who you are representing! (Municipalities / Cities as opposed to the Province)
  • And now in a Global BC News report Saturday evening Mayor Fassbender, the NEW Star Candidate for the B.C. Liberals is quoted as saying:
    • “There is no question that there are a few things that we could of done better but you know It is great to be an armchair critic and say I would have done it differently and I would have done that.” – Well Mayor Fassbender I could only of hoped that it wouldn’t take an armchair critic to have to tell their MLA the difference between right from wrong. We would only hope our MLAs knew the difference! For you to not know the difference, I rest my case!

So the election is on (well almost) and it is incumbent upon all of us to weigh the options pro or con. Who deserves to benefit from the exercising of your franchise? Your Vote! I wanted to write this piece early on in the process and offer my thoughts based on many years of political experience. I am sure I have managed to outrage some, appease others and hopefully at the very least get people thinking!!

As I said in my opening BLOG Post my intent is to educate, engage and inform residents. Given my first-hand experience in the Mayor’s office we have more to be worried about than you would think.

Of considerable concern is municipal interference by MLA Rich Coleman contacting and meeting with selected candidates in the last municipal election, clearly stating that his purpose was to establish who he would support in the upcoming municipal election. An affidavit can be provided. Here we go again with the resident Bully, Rich Coleman, just how involved was he in the last municipal election? Who does he think he is? What a contemptible action!

Don’t be apathetic or indignant, if you disagree with me do so based on facts you know to be true, not rumor gossip or innuendo. If you want to challenge me on my facts please do so, I am prepared to back up everything I say. Your comments and thoughts are always welcome!


My next Post, unless there is breaking news will be a detailed account of the ultimate municipal taxpayer funded financial boondoggle, otherwise known as the Langley Events Center. Now just to counter those that might lite their hair on fire and suggest I am opposed to the Langley Events Center, nothing could be further from the truth. I am and always have been a staunch supporter of the LEC facility. What I am against is the outrageous process, planning and waste of taxpayer dollars. It didn’t need to happen!!! Who benefitted? Great question!

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

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The TRUE story behind the high profile public fight over the Mufford Crescent Diversion (Highway and Overpass) which best exemplifies what is and has been so wrong in Langley politics BY the current elected representatives, Municipal, Provincial and Federal!

The start – The Mufford Crescent Diversion is a product of the 2007 multi-stakeholder (Federal, Provincial and Municipal Governments / Private Industry) Roberts Bank Rail Corridor agreement featuring nine projects (overpasses) in the lower mainland of British Columbia. This agreement was arrived at in secret prior to it being signed in a closed door meeting in the Township of Langley Council Chambers. A limited number of the public were allowed to attend as observers only, no questions were allowed. While the need for an overpass has never been in dispute, the process, design, location and a secret decision that was foisted upon the unsuspecting residents of the Township of Langley is what has always been at issue.

What was being planned that you were never told about? (Not a surprise in the Township of Langley)

In the 2008 (pre-election) we discovered information on this project. It took three visits to the Township Engineering Department by three different citizens to have someone admit, confidentially, to the facts complete with a map of the project. The secret plan for the Mufford Crescent Diversion (Overpass and highway) was a design that split the historical Hudson Bay Farm which included the Bella Vista Farm property in half funneling 500 cars an hour onto 64th at 216th, onto farm roads incapable of handling that traffic.

For the record, the Mayor of the day in answer to questions from a resident in mid-October 2008 said NO application had been made to the Agricultural Land Commission. THE TRUTH? Contrary to what the Mayor said (surprise) an application had been made in September of 2008. The decision to give conditional approval by the ALC was given the week after the election in 2008 a week and a half before the swearing in of the new Council. No public consultation, no notification, no advice!

Important, for the record! – As the Mayor Elect I contacted the Agricultural Land Commission the Wednesday following my election and served notice that despite what they may do in their deliberations I would follow through with my promises made during the election campaign and bring this project back to a public consultation process. The ALC went ahead with conditional approval that week in spite of my call.

Public Consultation as promised and the RESULT! – Two Open Houses and a Public Meeting later that saw over 1,000 people involved with 97% in opposition. This was the measure of public interest and public opposition. This level of public response is unheard of.

Throughout this consultation process we tried, unsuccessfully, to have Translink, the lead agency, move the dollars for this project to another Langley location. The Roberts Bank Rail Corridor Agreement states “In the vicinity of 64th and Glover Rd.” The response from the nine funding partners to our request was NO. The then Minister of Transportation Kevin Falcon wrote me an open public letter stating this plan was the only option.  Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender, wrote an open letter saying the City of Langley had no interest in another plan. What a great start post-election. An interesting neighbor showing no courtesy of a phone call, no class! All I was doing was delivering on what I promised during the election. If all of this doesn’t reinforce the belief that there is an incestuous relationship with Langley politicians at all levels, nothing will!

The Vote – At the conclusion of the public process the Council of the day at a 4:00 PM afternoon Council meeting (nobody in the audience) indicated they wanted to have a vote on the Mufford Crescent project as presented. I advised members of Council that if their wish was to vote and it was in favor I would use my Mayor’s authority to bring the vote back for another vote in two weeks at a public televised evening meeting. Council chose an immediate vote which we held; the result 6 – 3 in favor of the project. I served notice as promised that I would bring it forward for another vote. My point was that on such a contentious issue you cannot hide behind an afternoon meeting with nobody in the audience. Well, not that it was a surprise, but two weeks later with over 300 overflow in the Council Chamber audience and on TV the second vote was held, the result a 6 – 3 in favor. Mayor Green, Councilors Richter and Kositsky opposed, Councilors Ward, Ferguson, Fox, Dornan, Long and Bateman in favor. These six dismissed the results of the public consultation process and the wishes of the electorate.

Just a thought – Given the incident in Surrey over Casino-Gate with Rich Coleman contacting members of Council during a Public Hearing, is there any chance he contacted members of our Council prior to our vote? Do you think? Just asking the question? Interesting thought isn’t it!

If all of this was the case, how on earth did this original proposal get defeated? – At this point I was satisfied despite the insurmountable odds we faced; we were able to bring this project forward to see the light of day. I was pleased, for reasons of democracy and a solid public process, that I was able to buck the wishes of all senior levels of government, their agencies and Private Sector partners. The vote was the vote, it was a done deal. At this point, in my opinion, it would be up to the public in the next election to deal with those members of Council who ignored their wishes if they wished.

That was the case until June of that year. I was apprised of the submission by the proponents consultant to the ALC on behalf of the funding partners. This submission was in answer to the nine conditions (conditional approval) by the ALC with respect to this initiative. I contacted our CAO Mark Bakken requesting a copy of this report.

Reading this report was a revelation! How wrong and misleading could a report possibly be?

Now here is the Question for those reading this Post. What would you do in the position as Mayor? Now consider your promise during the election campaign, the overwhelming response to the public process, the attempts by the Provincial Government and the City to interfere and the two votes held in favor of the project despite an overwhelming public rejection of this proposal.

Then you read a report submitted on behalf of the funding partners to the ALC in answer to the ALCs conditions and you find statements that are patently false. You can use whatever adjectives you want, I prefer to be polite! Do you support the truth or do you capitulate and give in to the powers that be?

A couple of the nine ALC conditions required for ALC to support:

  • 216th St from Milner through to Murrayville must remain two lanes.
  • The bisected farm properties south of the New Mufford Crescent Diversion road shall be consolidated to enhance farming activity.

Well here are the facts:

  • 1) Nobody can guarantee 216th St. would remain two lanes. No Municipal Council can regulate or enforce a future government to live by that decision. 2) Funneling 500 cars an hour onto a two lane country road would require four lanes on 216th from 64th up to Murrayville.
  • Who was going to consolidate the farm properties in question? The Township of Langley is not in the farming business nor would it have the funds required to purchase the properties in question to consolidate as required.

Given the fact that the proponents through their representative, had misrepresented the truth to a Government Agency (on the above points at least) and given the ALC was preparing to make its decision based on that report we had a choice; respond to the ALC with the facts or let it go despite the truth.

I asked our CAO, Mark Bakken if I could respond with a group from the community in response to this report; he advised I could as long as it was clear I was not representing Council. I proceeded to book an appointment with ALC Staff and made our presentation. My letter of introduction to the ALC emphasized that I was not fighting the vote nor was I representing council. I made it clear that when the ALC made their decision they had to do so knowing the facts.

A short time later, members of Council made a presentation to ALC Staff countering our presentation. It seems they were very upset that I would make our presentation, despite the facts involved. Given their actions and votes throughout this process I have to believe they were in on it from the beginning. There was never any interest in facts, a different option or public process. As I have said throughout this Post, I had a choice – be honest or buy into the long standing Township program of deception!

During the period of time that followed, the ALC was considering all submissions with respect to the proposal before them. It was during this period that the Provincial Government appointed a new Chair of the Commission, Richard Bullock. Surprisingly it was Richard Bullock who ultimately initiated a series of public and private meetings with residents in the Agricultural Community. Richard Bullock also initiated a large Public Meeting at the Langley Events Center with about 350 people in attendance. Easily 95% opposed to the project. At Richard Bullock’s request I had a phone conversation with him with respect to my opinion on this project as he apparently had with numerous people on both sides of the equation.

The Decision – Well after all of this the community won on the principles it was fighting for, an overpass yes but send it back to the drawing board for a different option. The decision to reject this proposal was made primarily on the two points I raised above and why we had to make our points on the facts!

The point being made in all of this – It is a lesson for all of us, you don’t have to accept wrong doing in your community, you can fight City Hall. While I was in office we won a number of battles, now all we have to do is win the war! I would do it again and I don’t apologize!



The first of next week will be a surprise but I believe WILL be interesting to all readers!

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

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How pathetically bereft of any ideas that aren’t fantasy! The death knell of a political party!!

The B.C. Liberal Government’s Throne Speech this past week was an unmitigated joke, perpetrated on an unsuspecting public that has had enough of the embarrassment going on in Victoria! Looking under the surface and behind the scenes, who is really running things?

As I am obviously going to embark on a critique of what is happening in Victoria, I want to make it very clear; I am a staunch free enterpriser and have never voted NDP in my life nor will I. I will say that I have friends who are staunch NDP supporters and we get along well, we certainly have many disagreements on principle but we respect each-others views.

Now, to the Throne Speech – By design it is supposed to be a message from the government of the day laying out a framework of priorities for the public. It is traditionally designed to lay out the government’s vision for the immediate year ahead and possibly the remainder of their mandate. In the case of the current Liberal Government it could lay out a vision of their ideas for another term, should they be elected; BUT a pie in the sky proposal that goes out thirty years estimating a market price that is impossible to establish with no contracts and no industry commitments for one LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) Plant let alone the five they are talking about? How stupid do they think we are?

In principle the “Prosperity Fund” is a great idea, but it should not be established as a vehicle built around a single resource (LNG). Many have compared this to the Alberta Heritage Fund which is a fare comparison, but unlike Alberta, B.C. has a greater diversity of natural resources and not a single resource the size of Alberta’s oil industry.

The success or failure of this LNG supported Prosperity Fund as proposed will be determined by the market prices of the day. I spent a good part of my life as a professional buyer in the food industry where we had to buy correctly within the dramatic swings of the commodity marketplace (on a daily basis) or you would become non-competitive very quickly. Being non-competitive at retail in the food industry meant huge losses. Failure wasn’t an option! Pinning the province’s future on a speculative plan of gauging markets 20 – 30 years out? Absurd! Today you are paying 1/6 of the current world price because of no access to world markets, North America is awash in supply of Natural Gas thanks to fracking, and would you take this gamble?

What is behind such bizarre Liberal actions? Why, in the face of such party adversity did the B.C. Liberal Government come up with such an inept and ill prepared Throne Speech? I have another view of what is behind the actions of this Liberal Government, and his name is Rich Coleman. The Township of Langley’s resident Bully, the MLA, Cabinet Minister Rich Coleman, Liberal Provincial Campaign Chair is in my view in charge – move over Christy Clark! Isn’t Rich Coleman the Minister responsible for the provincial LNG initiative and the fact it took over the Throne Speech? It fits his power broker status within the government which has increasingly been unwelcome within the Liberal Caucus. There are an increasing number of Liberal MLAs within caucus who has had it with his actions and decisions. It is interesting though that a few months back when Kevin Falcon and other senior Ministers decided to announce they weren’t running Minister Coleman announced he was staying on – OH right, on the heels of that decision he was awarded with the Deputy Premier’s job, held onto his major portfolio as well as the responsibility for B.C. Lotteries, B.C. Housing and the Liquor Branch. As an aside Coleman has held onto those last three responsibilities for a number of years which is very unusual for a Cabinet Minister. Governments usually move these responsibilities around frequently so as not to get into familiarity problems, no different than your local bank branch (if you know what I mean?). Do you think Christy Clark could have withstood a Rich Coleman departure? It sounds to me like it was “Let’s Make A Deal”- Rich Coleman wrote his own ticket. If anyone has watched Coleman’s body language lately during interviews – he comes across very blustery, bombastic and fearful. That he should be!

I don’t know who Rich Coleman thinks he is speaking to when as recent as a couple of days ago he was raving in the media about how great and qualified Christy Clark is as Premier. The fact is she is completely incompetent (which suits Rich just fine) but forget about Christy Clark, as long as Christy Clark is in the Premier’s Office Rich Coleman will be the most powerful politician in the province, supported by those back room power brokers (I talk about below) you know the ones from the 80s and early 90s!

History is definitely repeating itself! What is happening today is a mirror image of what happened to Social Credit 1990 – 91. I know because I was there. As an Alderman in Delta, President of the Delta North Constituency Association, a Life Member of Social Credit, our party and our government imploded. I was a Social Credit candidate for Delta North in that election. Through the actions of Social Credit this province was turned over to the NDP. The NDP did not win it; we lost it and deserved everything we got! Unfortunately it was the poor unsuspecting public and the provincial economy that paid the price for the best part of ten years. Now I could go over the list of wrong doing (there is not enough time nor room to do so) but suffice to say, as bad as that period was by Social Credit (and it was bad) heading into the election, it was nothing compared to the record of this corrupt and dishonest Liberal Provincial Government that is in Victoria today.

Another interesting comparable is the election and/or selection of the Premier. Back in the Social Credit days, Rita Johnson was selected by Cabinet to take over as Interim Premier after Vander Zalm resigned until a party leadership campaign was held. It IS interesting that many of the same power brokers (hangers-on) were backing Rita Johnson who won the leadership back then as who backed and supported Christy Clark. Why? A simple fact, they can be controlled. Christy Clark is in a million miles over her head. Now that is not a sexist remark, I can think of a number of female leaders who could handle themselves very well equal to any man out there.

The Day of Reckoning is coming! There is no question in my mind that the public have written off a government they no longer want anything to do with. I am sure there are a quite a few sitting in government today in Victoria or former B.C. Liberal provincial politicians elsewhere sweating a few bullets, and they should be. It is my fervent hope that a new government would immediately establish a provincial inquiry into B.C. Rail and more as the need requires. It is imperative that in cases of intentional wrong doing, governments and the people in them must be held accountable. That is the only way the public will ever re-gain a measure of confidence in their elected representatives.



Later this week I will post the true and enlightening story surrounding the Mufford Crescent Diversion overpass project. It is a detailed account of how citizens successfully helped the Mayor fight City Hall, the Provincial Ministry of Transportation, Translink, the Federal Government and more. WE WON!

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

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Translink in its early incarnation, pre Transportation Minister Falcon and pre senior government (Federal and Provincial) interference had in my opinion a good chance of being successful. Senior government politicians then got involved and screwed it up royally!

I will give the B.C. Liberal Government credit for something, setting up a system of protective agencies that the province controls but others get blamed. The Liberals have insulated themselves, don’t be fooled!

The Liberals have made it an Art Form and not for the good of the province! One of the best examples of this is the Private Board of Directors who are really in charge of everything Translink, contrary to public opinion. The Mayor’s Translink Council of which I was once a part has very limited to no authority and responsibility. I heard an interview today with Gregor Robertson suggesting the Mayors were more an advisory body! What? In three years of endless meetings and discussions, there was nothing advisory about it! The government and the Private Board treated the Mayor’s Translink Council with complete contempt and yet the Mayor’s through their city/municipal councils are on the front lines. The Mayor’s know their community’s needs but are ignored!

Governance Model of Translink – Trust me you couldn’t write this stuff, but it is true.

The Translink Mayor’s Council is responsible for approving funding BUT (and it is a big but) the required funding packages are set by the senior executive of Translink through their Private Board. In other words the senior executive of Translink determine what funding they require to look after their specific needs/service improvements and then take it to the Private Board for adoption. They will then come to the Mayors Translink Council with, as an example, three packages i.e. A) for $300 million, B) $200 million or C) for $100 million. Now of particular interest; the Mayors are NEVER asked for input with respect to the content of those packages or lower mainland needs and service improvements and they cannot add or subtract items from each package. So in other words it is their way or the highway. Provincial Translink legislation permits the Mayor’s Council to raise additional funds in three ways 1) taxing authority for an additional Property Tax supplement (beyond an automatic maximum 2% Translink property tax increase without the Mayors Translink Council Authority annually) 2) Gas Tax or 3) User Fees (Fares). Now, under Provincial Legislation the Mayor’s Council could implement a 4th option – a vehicle levy, however they have no way at the present time to collect that fee under existing legislation to involve ICBC as an example.

Beyond this very fuzzy and questionable funding responsibility the Mayors get to approve appointees to the Private Board of Directors and to the search committee.

The search committee then advertises, receives applications and vets all the resumes and applications received for the Private Board. In the last year of my term I believe we received five recommendations from the search committee to choose from, when I asked how many applications they received, the answer was about 220. That is it, five to choose from a list of 220? It was and is all about manipulation and control by the province!

I served on the Mayors Translink Council from Dec. 1st 2008 through to the end of November 2011. I saw first-hand and heard directly about the history from long standing experienced members (Mayors) about provincial intrusion and interference in Board deliberations. The dysfunction goes back to on or about 2004 – 05 when the then Mayor’s Board of Directors were dealing with the infamous Canada Line, not liking the results of working with the Mayors they were fired by the then Minister of Transportation Kevin Falcon, and the new governance model (Private Board) was implemented. No input from the Mayors and no meaningful input from the public.

The Evergreen Line was the next source of contention. The communities and committees from the Tri City area experienced considerable interference from the Provincial and the Federal Governments when dealing with the technology to be introduced. As funding is and has been very scarce ALL those municipalities, cities and committees from the Tri Cities area and the Translink Board of Directors of the day (Mayors) requested at grade Light Rail which is used successfully all over the world and at a fraction of the cost of Skytrain (approximate saving $400 million). They were told by the Province and the Feds that they would implement the transit system but it had to be Skytrain!

Now back to December 2008 after I was elected Mayor of the Township of Langley and appointed to the Translink Mayor’s Council. It was very early on in our mandate and we were faced with significant pressure to approve the $400 million Translink funding share for the Evergreen Line. Those funds would have had to come through a significant property tax increase given the limited sources of funding given to Translink under Provincial Legislation, something that we stated we would not do, property taxation was maxed out in our opinion)! This funding issue created a good deal of press and with that attention through meetings with the then Ministers of Transportation, first was Kevin Falcon and then Shirley Bond. Both arrived with their arrogance fully intact. There wasn’t the least bit of interest in consultation to discuss the issues of great concern to the Mayors, that of adequate sustainable funding to support the Metro Transportation network. It always came back to “you have enough options, increase the property tax”. The Mayor’s position against additional property tax, was for 2 ½ years of my mandate unanimously supported. We had repeatedly gone after the already implemented Carbon Tax which was always a non-starter for the province but in our collective opinion made absolute common-sense; but you know what they say about common sense “it isn’t too common”!

Now, after the Liberal Leadership contest and the election of Christy Clark, there was initial hope for a new era of consultation. As you will recall, Blair Lekstrom, who had left caucus under Gordon Campbell, was invited back by Clark. He accepted that invitation and became our next Transportation Minister. Given his history and the respect many had for him for standing up to the then Premier, many of us thought we had a chance to change things for the better. We must have held six meetings with the Minister and he was saying all the right things which gave us hope. It was at this point, through discussions around the table a tentative agreement was drafted which called for a gas tax increase of 2 cents a litre as well as an additional increase in the Translink Property Tax levy. A key component of that tentative agreement, which required Cabinet approval, was a willingness to discuss and look at changes to the Governance Model of Translink. As I said above, the current iteration of Translink is dysfunctional. Without a legislated change in the governance model at Translink, nothing will change!

So where did it go from there? Following what we considered was a move in good faith, major news reports the next day from the Premier, she wasn’t interested in the proposed gas tax increase of 2 cents, followed up by her statement to the major news media that she wasn’t interested in changing the Governance Model, killed any trust that was potentially built up with many on the Mayor’s Council. As I told Minister Lekstrom in the next meeting, the Premier just showed her stripes and threw you under the bus. I advised the Minister he just lost my support and I believe there were a number of other Mayors feeling the same way. The Tentative agreement, now a proposed agreement was voted on. I plus another five members opposed the agreement but obviously it passed. The Mayors caved in and accepted the increase in property tax and the Provincial Government denied any changes in governance. So much for trying to develop a good working relationship. Since this point in time the Mayors backed out of the property tax increase but the gas tax increase was implemented.

Now what is happening? The Mayors, members of the Translink Mayor’s Council have now come up with a list of five new funding sources to pay for transit expansion, ranging from a resurrected vehicle registration fee to a regional sales tax for transit!

Have the Mayors lost their minds?

The only ones on the list worthy of discussion are funding from the already established Carbon Tax and Land Value Capture (around Sky Train Stations). Mayor Jack Froese suggests “they are all worthy of discussion”. We already know Langley City Mayor Fassbender has had an insatiable appetite to support everything B.C. Liberal regardless of what it costs or how the taxpayer feels! I would like to think this was not a unanimous vote? Who knows?

So let’s look at funding and put it into perspective for the Township of Langley. I was very hard on accepting no more tax increases. You just have to look at the fact we submit (ballpark numbers) $12 million+ in property tax plus probably $10 million in gas tax for what? A park-n-ride in Walnut Grove? Sorry about being parochial but there comes a time when the Township of Langley has to step up and say no-more! We need someone at the table to take a stand for a fair share of Transit Services.

Let’s compare North and South of the Fraser River!

North of the Fraser (Maple Ridge West) they have a $300 million Pitt River Bridge (no tolls), the Hwy. 1 interchanges and highway widening plus the West Coast Express into downtown Vancouver through all connecting suburbs.

South of the Fraser (Township of Langley, City of Langley and large part of Surrey) we have a toll over the Golden Ears, a toll on the Port Mann and NO rapid or Community Transit.

We had talked for a few years when I was on the Mayor’s Council that all major bridges and tunnels in the region should face a small i.e. $1.00 toll which would create equity throughout the region. We had discussions about a graduated vehicle levy that would be based on the level of service you had in your community. In the Township it would be zero at first and come into effect when there was an adequate transit option!

The long and the short of it is this. It is long past time that Municipal Politicians start treating taxpayer’s money like their own. To even suggest a sales tax of any size be imposed is ludicrous at best. I will say, that there are a number of Mayors around the region that have shown responsibility with taxpayers money, the Township of Langley is not one of them, just check this council’s record, it was and continues to be abysmal!



The first of next week I will have an interesting view, musings and opinion of this weeks Throne Speech – Just who is running things for a party on it’s way to ruin!

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

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Rich Coleman, Mayor Froese and members of Council

“Not letting the facts get in the way of a good story”!

Another land deal? It is all symptomatic of what is wrong in the Township of Langley!


The University District idea within the Township of Langley (TOL) is not new; it has been around for years. Unfortunately, like so many issues within our community, it is sadly lacking in any kind of democratic public process thanks to the control of a few!! This is the same municipal government you continue to elect time after time after time after time – WHY?

A little history – During my term as Mayor (2008 – 2011) I had regular meetings with Jonathan Raymond President of Trinity University (a very important and valuable corporate citizen to the Township of Langley) and follow up meetings with TOL senior staff on the subject of Trinity issues which included the University District concept. There were a number of conceptual plans for the University District idea that had been somewhat in limbo due to the ALR approval process. Through my initiative, in an effort to find some direction and approval we arranged for members of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) South Coast Panel of the day (Commissioners Bose, Tomlinson, Pranger and Chair Bullock); to meet and have lunch with Senior Staff of the TOL and Trinity University as well as myself at the university. Through those efforts and subsequent application, it was approved. BUT make no mistake about it, this approval / support was for a very confined and limited area that supports a very valuable educational institution that has been a part of the Township of Langley for decades.

Now the intriguing pieces of this puzzle – How did this confrontation with Metro come about?

Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) – Metro Vancouver, as required by Provincial Legislation, has had a Regional Growth Strategy in place since the late 80s. This was put in place to control growth by drawing Urban Boundaries within each member Municipality to stop urban sprawl as well as protecting Green Zones and the ALR. As required by that legislation is the need to review and update that RGS every so many years. The RGS must be unanimously adopted by all members of Metro or it goes to arbitration involving the Provincial Minister. Immediately following the 2008 election Metro Vancouver initiated the renewal and review of the RGS. As the Township of Langley Metro Director involved directly in discussions involving that RGS renewal process I served notice to Metro initially that we would probably be their first arbitration case. I, members of Council and staff were very concerned about the process and their ultimate intent. After two and a half years of discussion, negotiation, numerous public and private meetings with Senior Metro Staff, members of our Council and our Senior Staff and much more, recognizing the principle of the RGS and its governing Provincial Legislation, the NEW RGS was adopted unanimously by all members of the Township of Langley Council, all member Municipalities and their Councils as well as the Metro Vancouver Board of Directors.

So to Rich Coleman and his comments (May22/12 Langley Times) “Metro Vancouver Regional District has gone too far by meddling in Township business needs to be reined in”! It is obvious and not surprising that he doesn’t know what he is talking about. Look at YOUR government Rich! The Langley Times Editorial “Local land use decisions should not be in the hands of Metro Vancouver’s Board period”! This editorial reflects the Times (local media) complete lack of due diligence and knowledge about what they are writing about. They (Langley Times) should be embarrassed and are doing a disservice to TOL residents. Maybe the Langley Times should have gone after Coleman and Polak for their governments’ perceived interference directing Metro per THEIR legislation!  – But then again that would be too uncomfortable as it would compromise their pandering to government MLAs!

The Wall Development proposal and its apparent conditional approval by the ALC in 2007 did not come to my attention until the final year of my term. When I first heard of this I frankly couldn’t believe it, even in the Wild Wild West of property deals known as the Township of Langley. I have seen this decision which I might add came about prior to the appointment of the current ALC Chairman Richard Bullock, a man I have great respect for. There are many questions about that decision of 2007! Now let’s be very clear, the Wall proposal, while receiving conditional ALC approval in 2007, (It was rejected on a couple of occasions in the early 2000s by a different ALC panel) was NEVER tied to or discussed with the University District plan in any way shape or form, I was involved in those discussions! Now interestingly enough, the NEW Mayor and his Council are lighting their hair on fire over Metro Vancouver squashing their by-law, in short because they do not fit the terms of the RGS.

HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? The Township of Langley Council has involved lawyers (Don Lidstone, an interesting choice) vs Metro Vancouver and are talking litigation at our expense all over the RGS that members of Township of Langley Council and Staff supported unanimously, a provincial legal requirement. What – Another land deal?

Further, in an effort to try to get around Metro’s legal argument they filed an application with the ALC to increase the original size of the University District to somewhere around four times its original size enjoining the Wall Proposal and much more within its boundaries. It is very interesting that this move embraced the private property of a very well-known Township of Langley family. I guess we are just to believe that this was an accident? The ALC has since rejected that proposal but the Township have brought back the original boundaries adding on the Wall Townhouse Development as an attachment to the original University District. This was NEVER the case!

This is an outrageous attempt at a private property deal on farmland, but it is in keeping with the Township of Langley’s methods and ways of doing business. Now who is this going to benefit?

Important side-note for the record – the Wall family and/or their owned companies were significant contributors to the Provincial Liberal Party, the leadership campaign of Premier Christy Clark as well as donating to a number of Township of Langley Councilors. Just Saying!

Going back to the introduction of the FIRST by-laws for the original University District and the Wall Development? By-Laws for 1st and 2nd reading were introduced for each project separately at the last Council Meeting before the last election (Last council) – In my opinion it was totally out of line for staff to introduce these by-laws in the last meeting of the old council, prior to the election. Having said that, I voted for both as under a principle I believe strongly in and my voting record supports this, the proponent (owner) has the right to be heard and be considered as does the public have the right to respond. Again remember, for the record, these two proposals came forward as two distinctly different items (by-laws) for consideration. They weren’t attached in any way. Now under the newly elected council, many of the same old faces, after a lengthy Public Hearing (large opposition) 3rd reading was given on the original University District by-law. The Wall proposal did not come forward for a reading at that time.

As mentioned above, the Township by-law was sent to Metro for approval as required under Provincial Legislation (Rich Coleman please note) and was denied, the by-law was quashed. So where are we now? The Township of Langley has since rescinded the original by-laws and has adopted a new singular by-law which covers the original University District plus the Wall Townhouse Development located smack in the middle of one of the finest farm properties in the valley. This NEW by-law has received 1st and 2nd reading and is now in the middle of the Public Hearing process. The Public Hearing has not concluded, it has been held and then adjourned a couple of times. This proposal has faced considerable opposition (not that that matters with this council) and is now adjourned to mid-April. I would encourage a large turnout when this Public Hearing reconvenes. The Township of Langley is awaiting a report from the Agricultural Land Commission and then the TOL will have to deal with Metro Vancouver and it’s non-compliance with the RGS (Regional Growth Strategy).

So once again the Township of Langley, spurred on by its resident Bully MLA Rich Coleman (see Rich Coleman comment) is trying to circumvent a provincially legislated requirement in the RGS, something that every municipality and/or City in Metro Vancouver is required to follow. Whether you or I like the idea of Metro Vancouver dictating that we follow the legislated requirement is immaterial, it is that way due to a provincially legislated mandate. I can tell you from first-hand knowledge, every member of Metro Vancouver has the same or similar problems, if the Township is permitted in this case, every member will be following suit! This attempt is particularly galling given the attempt to meld a legitimate concept (original plan for the University District) in with a well- connected private property deal.

It is yet another example of an outrageous attempt to manipulate or ignore the rules for the sole benefit of a few. IF you are OK or don’t see a problem with this happening I would suggest you would be OK providing special treatment to a very few at taxpayer’s expense. For those that suggest that this is an anti-university position, you are completely wrong, it is about treating everyone with fairness, morally and legally.

I would encourage, based on my years of inside experience in the Township of Langley, for taxpayers when considering issues such as I am presenting, to carry with them a good dose of skepticism. It is human nature not to do so I understand that but whenever you challenge issues such as this there is an old saying; “Connect the dots, follow the money!”

NOTE: There have been some interesting property sales, purchases and swap activity surrounding the proposed University District. This will have to be a topic for another day.

So as it is life in the Township of Langley! Enjoy what is happening so far? Just think, if we band together we could stop this kind of government!



Later this week I will post my thoughts on Translink and the knowledge I gained from being on the inside sitting at the Translink Mayor’s Council table. The problem – Interference by the Provincial Government in the governance model has made it completely dysfunctional! More later in the week.

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It is all about Bullying and Intimidation by Mayor and the majority of Council !!

The Municipal Hall and by extension Council Chambers are owned by the taxpayers of the Township of Langley. Contrary to comments by some members of Council it IS NOT A COURT ROOM! Proper decorum is one thing but for the most part the formality within Council Chambers is intimidating to many; it is time we make things inviting and comfortable not more intimidating! Isn’t intimidation the act of a bully? What hypocrites! 

The move in this direction started during my term when the majority of Council, upset for whatever reason that residents attending Council applauded from time to time during presentations by the public  at Public Hearings and/or meetings, passed a resolution of Council to prohibit applause and/or heckling at any time. Now let’s be clear, at no time would I allow heckling, I would stop a meeting and eject anyone guilty of that act. Having said that I was very opposed to the prevention of applause, BUT as history would have it my opposition had no affect!

The Democracy that is provided us, thanks to the efforts of Canadian men and women and the sacrifice of Canadian lives on a number of fronts in history, is a pain in the backside and disturbing to many, but its value in our society is immeasurable and wouldn’t be traded for anything. To use an old expression “it depends on whose Ox is being gored”. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a foundation of rights, all of us as Canadian Citizens rely on heavily to protect our universal democratic rights. We might not all agree because of our own personal biases, but would we trade what we have? Not a chance!

This council has acted in an irresponsible way on a number of fronts with respect to Council Chamber decorum and principles of debate. There has been the banishment of Jacob De Raadt who has been a thorough pain in the derriere to members of council and it could easily be argued (Jacob presented before me on many occasions) went too far and should have received a penalty, but banishment without process, never! This banishment prohibits him from setting foot in the Municipal Hall without written permission from Mayor and Council. De Raadt has also been banned from directly contacting either council members or municipal staff. There was no warning of penalty, just a decision made in-camera with no appeal and/or discussion. I think it could be fairly argued that Jacob, who was doing a considerable amount of work fighting for residents in opposition to projects throughout the Township (contrary to some press reports, some were very justified fights) caused staff and Council members discomfort and considerable frustration, given his arguments. So what is the real reason, a perceived loss of power and control by council?

When looking at the issue of decorum and infringement on rights in Council Chambers I will quote the following from an editorial written by Matthew Claxton in the Langley Advance. This is very well done and very appropriate –

“Dealing with him (Jacob De Raadt) has been a chore for the past half dozen Township councils. But does this mean that he should be banned for life, with each and every future appearance subjected to the whims of the mayor and councilors? Should there not be a time limit, an appeal process? We are considering whether people have the right to address their elected leaders on matters of public policy, at open forums. Mayor Jack Froese has said that any policy on when someone can be banned from council would be too restrictive. This is a slippery slope in its classic form.”

Matthew goes on “Rules around free speech in general, and about transparent government and open meetings, were not created only for the polite and well spoken. They were created for the boorish, the ignorant, the arrogant, the stupid, and the just plain mean. It is easy to say we respect free speech with which we agree; the real test is whether we can screw up our courage to be insulted by morons.”

Now as to Matthew’s last comments I am sure he was not referring specifically to anyone in this feature, it was a general comment, right Matthew?

In another case, although tied to the story on Jacob above, are the residents surrounding the very contentious Athenry project up on 208th Street. I wrote on this project briefly in my last BLOG posting and will be doing a detailed posting in the future. In any event, the residents surrounding this development justifiably came out in very strong opposition, the project was approved and they launched a law suit and then withdrew, still holding the right to bring back an action against the Township of Langley at a later date. The residents have been advised they cannot speak to council and/or staff about any issues they may have with the building of the project, and must go through Township lawyers. (How does an elected council interfere with residents’ rights to be heard?) Think about it, if the residents affected have a serious problem with what is happening in close proximity to their home they must go to the lawyers for the Township with their issue, the same lawyers who would be defending the Township in the case of any action by these citizens? What? Does anyone else see how inappropriate this decision is?

Now we have a motion by Councilor Grant Ward supported by Councilor Sparrow designed to limit Notices of Motion by Councilors. The proposed motion was to limit Councilors Notices of Motion to one a month or ten per year. This is designed to go after the biggest offender on council, Kim Richter.

Now for anyone out there who isn’t aware (you obviously weren’t following my three years on council) I have no time for Kim Richter, in my opinion she is political dynamite to any Council good working relationship and governs herself on the immediate political wind of the day with no substance behind her public position. There is a reason she hasn’t got along with at last count four Mayors and I can’t count the number of councilors. There is a common denominator and her name is Kim Richter.

Having said that, one of the many reasons I ran for council was watching how the previous council (pre 2008 election) would never second her motions which would prevent any public debate. Democracy comes with a price. Kim Richter might pose or present what some or many might think are ridiculous motions, if council feels that way they can second her motion (for purposes of debate), have the guts to debate it with her or anyone else and defeat it if that is their wish. Remember debate gives other members of council the opportunity to prove the good, bad or ugly of her or anyone else’s motion to those watching the proceedings. In the case of filing Notices of Motions, restricting a duly elected Council member the right to file a limited number of motions fly’s in the face of everything our democratic process stands for. While I am completely opposed to Councilor Richter and what I believe is the truth behind what she really stands for, I will stand behind her right to pose resolutions and/or motions as she sees fit. Council has referred Councilor Ward’s motion to their Council Priorities Committee for further discussion. I can only hope that they see reason and withdraw such a ridiculous motion designed to stifle debate.

I can tell you, spending three years in the Mayor’s Chair you have to deal with a wide range of issues and a wide range of personalities both on Council, with Staff and during proceedings with residents and taxpayers. I fought for three years an apparent willingness by members of council that could only be described as being unnecessarily restrictive. When you couple these actions with those of this council’s dealings with respect to public hearings, a very uninviting and undemocratic pattern is starting to emerge.

I go back to this quote from Mayor Jack Froese “any policy on when someone can be banned from council would be too restrictive.” In other words, we will ban anyone council deems appropriate; we should not be governed by a policy that dictates fairness and rights, no appeal just a hammer!

It is long past time that taxpayers sit up and take notice! Is this the government you voted for?




The Township of Langley University District in and of itself is not the problem, but is typical of an issue in the Township of Langley that offers so much insight of what is wrong in the Township of Langley. By adding into the equation the Wall Development, Township OCP, Metro Regional Growth Strategy, the Agricultural Land Commission and Rich Coleman’s bullying outburst we start to see the classic manipulation for the benefit of a few! The first of Next Week, starting to tell the real story!


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Public Hearings are an integral part of Municipal Governance, unfortunately all too often politicians treat this requirement with disdain and pay lip service to those who take the time to appear before council or sign petitions. And we wonder WHY taxpayers are jaded with their elected representatives!

The problem? Many elected politicians think they were elected because they are smarter than those that elected them? NEWSFLASH – NO , we elect representatives, NOT dictators. It’s called democracy! 

Last week Surrey Municipal Council was the latest victim of Provincial Government Political Interference (Minister Rich Coleman’s phone calls to Council members during a Public Hearing process); Congratulations to Mayor Watts for standing up for her community, voting against the Casino! Rich Coleman as of February 1st claims he did no wrong? Well, what can I say, he just doesn’t get it! One has to ask the question, why is the BC Lottery Commission and it’s Minister so involved in this project; it should be the DEVELOPER who leads and wears the process. Rich Coleman as Minister of the Crown is the REGULATOR; he has absolutely no business being involved. – Could there be another reason? I don’t know, I am just asking?

I want to congratulate Mayor Watts for doing what she felt was right in casting a vote against the Casino development in South Surrey. It had to be a very tough decision, on one hand it would mean considerable revenue for Surrey but very easy on the other hand, she is listening to the voters of Surrey. I am not speaking for or against the Casino – I am saluting Dianne for having the guts to make THE very difficult decision.

Rich Coleman – I know this is hard for you to understand because you have never let it to get in the way before, (HST, Smart Meters to name a few) but it is called DEMOCRACY, the people’s right to be heard! This is what the Public Hearing Process is all about, god forbid we have to explain that (democracy) to those at the Provincial level.

Traditional Public Hearing / B.C. Community Charter – For the record; the process for a traditional development to proceed under the B.C. Community Charter requires the Municipality to formulate a by-law and for that by-law to receive 1st and 2nd reading by a Municipal Council majority before it can go to a Public Hearing. Receiving 1st and 2nd reading, it then must be advertised in the local paper, circulation of a notice to the immediate area in addition to signage being posted on the affected property with the necessary detail about the project prior to the upcoming Public Hearing. Council members can receive public input before and during the Public Hearing either by personal verbal and/or written presentation, but they cannot receive input in anyway after the termination of the Public Hearing until third reading (approval in principle or rejection) is voted on and dealt with by Council.

Other Consultation – There are other Public Consultation forums offered by some municipalities, public council delegations and/or public meetings among them. As a politician, if you are going to take the opportunity to ask the public’s opinion either mandated or optional, then I get the sense more than ever in today’s world (the way it should be) you had better start to listen and hear, otherwise you WILL pay the price. For those in the Provincial Government (B.C. Liberals) who do not seek public input and consultation, listen or hear (HST, Smart Meters, B.C. Rail among so many other issues) there is no question you WILL pay the price!

A few Interesting examples out of recent and past History –

Spetifore / Southlands (Public Hearing) – Tsawwassen – In 1987 I was elected Alderman in the Municipality of Delta. During this term, we faced the electorate over a proposed development by-law to designate the approximate 800 acres of Spetifore Lands in South Delta Urban. These lands go back to a controversial Social Credit Cabinet “Order in Council” withdrawing  these lands from the ALR. The Spetifore family were very long standing supporters of Social Credit. At the time I was Vice President of the Delta Social Credit Constituency Association with over 2,200 members (I was in the crosshairs of opponents). We supported 1st and 2nd reading and went into the Public Hearing process which still holds the Canadian record for Public Hearings – 108 hours – the proposal was denied unanimously – I moved the motion to deny 3rd reading! It is called listening to the public even though throughout the process we worked with the proponent to present what we thought would be a good option to be considered by the public. As a Council we did not have or feel any obligation to the proponent to support the proposal at the end of the Public Hearing process, absolutely not. Was the proponent disappointed, absolutely, but that is the process and they knew it. By the way, our very pro free enterprise council did not receive any bullying or threats by the then Social Credit Government or anyone else.

Mufford Crescent Diversion (Public Meeting / Open Houses) – Langley – In 2008 one of many reasons I ran for the Mayor’s office was the secret planning and development of the Mufford Crescent Diversion which was going to funnel 500 cars an hour onto 64th at 216th, unknown to anyone until we discovered what was happening and notified property owners east of 216th Street. No public consultation, not even notification or advice! I promised during the election that I would bring this back for public consultation. Two Open Houses and a Public Meeting later that saw over 1,000 people involved with at least a 95% opposition, the Council of the day voted on two occasions 6 – 3 in favor of the project. (Given the incident in Surrey with Rich Coleman contacting members of Council, is there any chance he contacted members of our Council prior to our vote? Not accusing anyone, just asking the question?) Three weeks into my term as Mayor I received a very public letter from Kevin Falcon the then Minister of Transportation with an ultimatum, this is the only plan they will consider otherwise they will withdraw their funds and move the funds to another Municipality. My answer was, don’t threaten us we will not be intimidated. (Provincial Government Political Interference – sound familiar?) Despite Council votes in favor, the ALC rejected this planned route seeing serious flaws in the proponents written presentation. (A full post on this issue at a later date)

Athenry Development / Willoughby (Development Permit Public Hearing) – During the week of Nov. 22nd, 2010 I became aware of an agenda item (Athenry Developments) scheduled for a “Development Permit” Public Hearing on Monday November 29th, 2010 which had received 1st and 2nd reading, public hearing and 3rd reading (conditional approval) in June of 2008 prior to my election as Mayor. In doing my due diligence in preparation for the upcoming Public Hearing I researched this project and it’s history, through a variety of Staff Reports. I was frankly shocked in finding the project that was proposed and given the appropriate readings, including Public Hearing bared no resemblance in my opinion to what was before us at Development Permit Stage and 4th and final reading. Changes can only be made after 3rd reading in Form, Character and Design. These changes in my opinion did not qualify!.

The original June 2008 approved project was for one building located roughly in the center of the property while the 2010 version was for three, four story apartment buildings, a two story office building and a Cultural Center. This change impacted all surrounding private homes severely with a dramatically reduced set back, increased height of buildings and close imposition immediately next to surrounding homes. In my opinion and experience this was and is a travesty that happened to local hard working taxpayers. (NOTE – As I understand it, the affected residents had launched legal action but withdrew without giving up their right for taking action in the future.) Due to their position they have been denied access to speak to directly to councilors (They must go through Township lawyers) about ongoing problems with the development that has so dramatically affected their quality of life and home values!

For any residents reading this and wondering what their reaction might be IF they were in the same position, I can assure you, anyone with a pulse would be marching on the Municipal Hall. It is an absolute outrage! (A Full Post on this issue at a later date)

Township of Langley Public Hearing / Consultation process – 

The Township of Langley has over a long period of time created a culture of ignoring public input, either in Public Hearings or Meetings. While in office I encouraged public debate, dialogue (Monthly Mayor’s informal forums) and community involvement, much to the chagrin of members of Council. The planned 208th St. Truck Route making it part of the Translink MRN (Major Road Network) is a case in point. I encouraged residents, IF they did not want that to happen to involve the community! They took up my challenge – Involve the community they did, a 2,200 name petition and 700 resident turnout to an Open House at the LEC will do it every time. Show me a community that doesn’t stand up for each other and fight for what they want and I will show you a community that is dying!

You have to look at the record of the majority of the current members of council, ask yourself just who are they working for and who are they looking after? Aside from the issues I talked about earlier, consider:

  • The infamous condominium wall at Bedford Landing in Fort Langley, among a number of problems adding a 4th floor at 4th reading / development permit stage was approved while completely ignoring a very large opposition from the community – WHY?
  • The Forewest Development on the bottom of the Willoughby Slopes. Staff worked with the developer and made an attempt in my last year in office to change the OCP and complete a rezoning (two by-laws) in one process that would completely change the density and character of this community. With a very strong opposition it was turned down. With very little change from the original proposal this development was brought back in front of the New Council, received strong opposition and it was approved. Ask yourself WHY?
  • Fort Langley is one of the most unique communities in the Province of B.C. It’s heritage protection has been paramount as the Township of Langley has grown over the years. Recently, a building development (Coulter Berry Building) proposal on the old IGA site that contravened several of Fort Langley’s preservation guidelines received approval. It was too tall by 4.5 meters, site coverage that exceeded the allowable limit and it was contrary to the town’s main street heritage character. Approval was given despite wide spread opposition of a 950 person petition and 2 – 1 in opposition at the 2 evening Public Hearing. (There is only roughly 2,500 that live in Fort Langley)

Now the kicker – Eric Woodward, the owner of the Coulter Berry building, a Township of Langley appointee to the Heritage Advisory Committee, President of the Fort Langley BIA, fellow resident with Jack Froese in Bedford Landing and a donor of $2,000 to Jack Froese in the last election received approval! Only in the Township of Langley you say!

As hard as the following comments are to believe they tell an interesting story of the contempt the Mayor of the Township of Langley Council has for Public Hearings and Public Consultation – the residents of Surrey have to be very thankful that their Mayor and Council represent their views!

(Pete McMartin Vancouver Sun) Nov. 29/12

Mayor Froese was asked why he voted for it despite the evidence of so much local opposition states:

  • “he does not govern by petition”.

Of the preponderance of speakers opposing the variance at the official hearings Mayor Froese states:

  • “We really have to listen to the silence of the people who didn’t come out.”

Pete McMartin states “How Froese intuited that this absent cohorts silence was in favor of the Coulter Berry development and not against it, or split down the middle, is a mystery I will leave with him. Politicians have powers of the mind I cannot fathom.” Despite the size of the opposition only one councilor voted against, it sure says something about what is going on, doesn’t it!

I am going to be more to the point – Is Mayor Froese at all well? This kind of thinking for someone in the Mayor’s chair is unconscionable. Go back to my opening – Many elected politicians think they were elected because they are smarter than those that elected them, well here is the proof. This kind of thinking is unmitigated garbage, all taxpayers should be outraged!

So let’s see if we understand what is going on – Apparently Mayor Froese doesn’t make decisions based on petitions, he doesn’t make decisions based on speakers at a Public Hearing – So WHY DO WE HAVE PUBLIC HEARINGS? – We will just have Mayor Froese and his Council colleagues determine what is best for the Township based on their seemingly special powers. (Other municipalities and cities apparently lack this special insight) It is a pathetic excuse for Municipal Governance !!

There is much more that could be said and examples that could be shown. It is long past due that the taxpayers in the Township of Langley unite in opposition against the Township of Langley Municipal Council’s continuous willingness to proceed with developments despite the will of the people they represent. What is it going to take to motivate the taxpayers in the Township????



It is hard to keep up with all the issues being presented by this council but my late week Post will deal with the subversion of democracy in Council Chambers, for those elected or for those that just want to know what is going on!

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE !!!

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