Archive for June, 2013

We will be back in fighting spirit the first of September with a number of very interesting Posts which will give you plenty to pause and think about. From a behind the scenes look at the real politics in the Township of Langley, to what is fundamentally wrong with Translink (Transportation on the lower mainland) vs what is possible IF they had any kind of vision, to the financial dysfunction of the Township and much much more….. Stay tuned!!!

IF there are any significant developments with Council and/or their decisions between now and the end of July (their summer break), we will be back immediately!!

All the best

Rick Green

UPDATE – While it has been in the news a good deal in the last 24 hours we are thrilled to announce that Metro Vancouver stood firm in support of all residents of our region. This was not a left / right issue this is all about being a right / wrong issue. I am and always have been a staunch free enterpriser, but I don’t have blinders on and will not be like some of those in business that will always side with business despite any reasoned common sense.

Unfortunately out here in the Township of Langley our elected leaders are doing nothing but serving friends and insiders. While we are thrilled with the vote of the majority of Metro Vancouver Directors we are NOT thrilled but also NOT SURPRISED  by Councillor Bob Long’s vote (1 of 4) who supported this proposal. So out here in the Township of Langley, faced with an increase, from about 15 to 38 unit (12,000 foot) trains a day, we can now see that we have those in power Municipally who will have no problem sitting back and doing nothing but watching the destruction of our Municipality as we know it! I am still living in hope that one day there will be a recognition by the electorate of what is REALLY happening out here and will be willing to do something about it.



It is hard to imagine a more inappropriate use for this port facility in the virtual center of Metro Vancouver. Fraser Surrey Docks say there business is down by 75% due to it being a shallow draft port. With the greatest of respect, rescuing Fraser Surrey Docks at the serious health and quality of life expense of residents of the lower mainland is not a trade-off we want. Let us learn from experience! 

Let us start off with a little bit of history that I would bet nobody currently sitting on the Metro Board of Directors is aware of, (That includes Langley City and Township Directors) a bill of goods sold to the innocent people of the Township of Langley 45 years ago.

On September 24th, 1968, Hunter Vogel MLA, emissary for the late Premier WAC Bennett, William Mearns President of B.C. Hydro and Mr. King and Mr. Martin of B.C. Hydro came to as Special Meeting of the Township of Langley Council with a very serious request. They explained the proposal to run a fly over rail line from Fort Langley up over Rawlison Crescent, onto the joint section (part of the Interurban Corridor) and continuing onto the new Roberts Bank Rail Corridor at Cloverdale through to the NEW Roberts Bank seaport. The Township Council was reassured by this delegation, in writing, that there would be one coal train a day each way. Quote “Mr. Martin stated that the trains will be one mile in length and there will be one train per day each way at a maximum speed of 35 miles per hour. It would take approximately two minutes for a train to cross any road.” That was it, guaranteed! (We have a copy of the meeting minutes)

For the record, WAC’s vision for Roberts Bank as a seaport was definitely a forward thinking and visionary move, unfortunately they missed the boat back in the day for a far more appropriate location for a rail line. This decision for a rail line was in direct contravention to the recommendations of the Lower Mainland Planning Board, which was fired by WAC Bennett for making their recommendation.

Well the Township and City of Langley now see 14 – 18 trains a day, (Coal and Container) up to 12,000 feet in length. Those trains take about 15 minutes to pass a given spot. Despite the 9 overpasses that are being built between Delta and the Township of Langley, there are NO overpasses at 200th and the By-Pass and the By-Pass and Glover Road, the two heaviest congestion points. That is where it is today – with the expansion of Roberts Bank we will see 35 – 38 trains a day a few years from now. I have said many times before, in the future you will have two Langleys – one North of the Tracks and one South of the Tracks. It is all because nobody had a vision for the future and what the future was going to look like.

OH, and by the way, despite CN and CPs commitment to spray each train twice, once loading as well as once in Kamloops, I would suggest you ask anyone living in the Township and/or City within 100 yards of either side of the tracks and ask if they have a problem with coal dust? The Township of Langley has a Municipal Committee, the CP Community Advisory Committee that meets about four times a year. The issue of Coal Dust is brought up frequently due to resident complaints; the answer more often than not was there was an equipment break down in Kamloops, so they just let the trains pass. Residents of Chilliwack are severely aggravated by the dust from Coal Trains going through their community EVERY day! Coal dust is a serious issue and problem.

Talking to a prominent resident of the Township who just drove back from Calgary last week, he commented on seeing coal trains with this absolute cloud of coal dust that was visible above and on each side of the coal trains on their way to the coast.

So back to the proposal being considered by all of you this coming Friday, my point is very clear, you are not making a short term decision but one that will grow and expand exponentially. They openly admit to wanting to ship 4 million tonnes per year with room to grow to 8 million tonnes. Exponential growth beyond these numbers is a fact of life and history tells us that in spades – lets learn from it.

What is even more distressing is we are going through this process for U.S. Coal because it has already been rejected by a few locations across the border. Why would we do this to the City of White Rock (a Metro member), it’s citizens and summer tourism population, right on the waterfront? Why would we do this to the City of New Westminster situated so close to this activity? According to news reports the U.S. will be building two ports for this use, but they will not be open for about 8 – 10 years. Why are we going through this for a stop gap U.S. solution? What happens next? The number of jobs to be created are a drop in the bucket compared to other solutions for their economic problem.

I have heard a number of comments in the media from elected municipal/city representatives that it is not our decision (Municipal/City) but a Provincial and/or Federal decision? I absolutely beg to disagree; the Directors of Metro Vancouver have a fiduciary responsibility for air quality in the Lower Mainland. Everyone was up in arms over SE2 and the incinerator up the valley. So why are we even considering this proposal?

Despite and beyond the serious health / air quality issue how about trying something unique, SAY NO on the part of Metro Vancouver and send our senior levels of government and their agency a message. They can override your decision and approve it if they wish, but they do so at their peril. Let them the public know you are fighting for their best interests. They can take the heat if they overrode your decision. They would deserve it!

In the Township and City of Langley, thanks to the Social Credit Government who in 1988 sold the B.C. Hydro rolling stock and rails of the Interurban Corridor BUT had the foresight to protect passenger rights at no cost to the taxpayer. Thanks to this action we have a light at the end of the tunnel that would allow for a passenger service from Chilliwack through to Scott Road Station. This is due to an agreement that we forced renewal of (another 21 years) during my term as Mayor, 4 months before it would have been lost forever. CP and the Liberal Government were not at all happy with me, another anchor I am proud to carry! It is now up to a future Provincial Government to permit that passenger service which CP and CN would be contractually obligated to provide room for on that line. This would have the cause and effect of reducing heavy rail traffic on this corridor and provide for very low cost light rail passenger service, again from Scott Road Station through to Chilliwack.

It is long past time that our municipalities and cities have the courage to stand up to our senior levels of government and their agencies in cases that are demanded by our taxpayers. As I said earlier, IF a senior level of government wants to trample on decisions of local government, they do so at their peril. You don’t have to be complicit in their bad decisions.

On behalf of the residents of the lower mainland we urge you to vote against this proposal.

Good Luck in your deliberations

Rick Green


I am working on a few posts that have been asked for by readers – Interesting content to come, stay tuned.

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

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It is very disturbing when a Municipal Council thumbs their noses at a Regional Government (Metro) land use plan that they previously and unanimously agreed to. By Council proceeding with this proposal, despite significant local and regional opposition, that has everything to do with helping friends and insiders, our regions policy of building a sustainable and liveable environment is being put at risk. I am not overstating the seriousness of the Township of Langleys move, it is now up to the ALC and Metro Vancouver’s Board of Directors to STOP this insanity! 

It is up to all of you to stand firmly against the revised application which conveniently embraces quality farmland as housing to support the University District application. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was never part of the University District Application. If you give into this application it will be open season on the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) and it will end up being a useless document. It is interesting that RGS is an initiative that the Township Council supported unanimously. I was very pleased as Mayor to play a part!!!

Township of Langley University District – Wall Town House Development on Farm Land

vs Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy – The Facts!

Rich Coleman, Mayor Froese and members of Council are

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

It is another land deal, all symptomatic of what is wrong in the Township of Langley!



The latest NEWS? – May 27th 2013 Council meeting!

Langley Township council voted through its revised community plan and zoning to create a University district around Trinity University which incorporates a controversial housing development on Prime Agricultural Land just to the South of Trinity. While it is not affiliated in any way with Trinity it’s builders have promoted it as housing for TWU Staff. This move to incorporate the two must be seen as a blatant attack and affront to the Regional Growth Strategy.

How or why is this happening? Check out some comments from a few Council members (Langley Advance P12 / Mathew Claxton Tuesday June 4th, 2013) –

Grant Ward – “This is not spot zoning, it will be housing for staff and students”. How absolutely embarrassing and insulting Ward is to the residents of the Township of Langley, nothing has changed! We are talking 69 Townhouses which will be market housing. This is exactly what it is – Spot Zoning!

Bob Long – “The removal of the portion of the Wall lands to be developed will keep the rest of the property productive farmland in the Agricultural Land Reserve”. Councilor Long, don’t look now BUT without this development the entire property stays in the ALR where it belongs and can be productive IF the owners had the slightest interest, which they obviously don’t. That is their choice! You as an elected representative for the taxpayers of the Township of Langley are not obligated in any way to support their plan. I would suggest you have an obligation to deny this proposal.

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 plus or minus a few changes that seem to get elected 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 and Liberal Party supporter. I guess we are just to believe that this was an accident? The ALC has since rejected that proposal but the Township has 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. Not accusing, 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 did it go from there? 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 proposal has faced considerable opposition (not that that matters with this council).

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? Change is NOT impossible!!!



I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to Township of Langley Residents. Check in daily!

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

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.