Archive for November, 2013

Pat Pimm, the Minister of Agriculture for our B.C. Government should resign for his attempted influence (about 5 times before and after being appointed Agriculture Minister) of a Quasi-Judicial Commission that was and is in place to prevent political influence over the Agricultural Land Commission and to maintain its independence. Premier Clark’s explanation and support of her Minister today (Tuesday Nov. 12th/13) was pathetic, however it does show the Premier for what she is really all about. It displays her support of and for a commitment to a common theme of her government, a clear lack of respect for and arrogance towards the taxpayers, they were elected to serve. It is all about looking after friends and insiders and it runs very deep within this B.C. Liberal Caucus, it should not be surprising to any of us in the Township of Langley! You know Rich Coleman’s support for the Wall (significant contributor to the Liberal Government and some members of Council) proposal (69 Townhouses in the middle of the ALR) among others.

First, I want to start off this post by singing the praises of the Chair of the B.C. Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), Richard Bullock. I had the privilege of meeting Richard in my capacity as Mayor of the Township of Langley and Vice Chair of the Metro Vancouver Agricultural Committee. It was during Metro’s invited presentation to the ALC when the ALC was conducting a series of ALC Review Meetings throughout the Province that I had the opportunity to get to know a man that I gained huge admiration for. The issue we were dealing with was the now infamous Mufford Crescent Diversion Overpass, probably the most contentious Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) issue of at least the last decade within the Township of Langley. But first a little history!

The start – The Mufford Crescent Diversion was and 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 signed in secret in the Township of Langley Council Chambers. The issue, not questioning the need but questioning the lack of process i.e. location and secret decision that was foisted upon the unsuspecting residents of the Township of Langley. The secrecy of this project was sheer stupidity on the part of the traffic transportation engineers and designers complicit with a high level attempt at removing a significant amount of Agricultural Land out of the ALR. The result of this plan, an unnecessary highway separating a large amount of prime agricultural land away from the real life farming viability for agriculture on this property. The ultimate result of this action would have been an application to remove this land from the ALR, as it would ultimately prove to be non-viable for agriculture.

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

Leading up to the 2008 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 leaking 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 and Bella Vista Farm properties in half, funneling 500 cars an hour onto 64th at 216th, onto farm roads incapable of handling this traffic.

For the record, the then Mayor Kurt Alberts, 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. (Should there not be a law against a member of Council misrepresenting the facts to the public?) The decision to give conditional approval of this ill planned highway 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, just the same members of Council once again misrepresenting the facts!

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 and I initiated a public consultation process.

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 was and is unheard of.

Throughout this consultation process we tried, unsuccessfully, to have Translink, the lead agency initially, 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 and believe me nothing changed throughout my three year term.

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 still 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 as promised. 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.

So that was that, or so I thought. You see the approval given by the ALC back in November of 2008 was conditional on nine very specific conditions that had to be met. In June of that year, upon hearing that the funding partners had submitted their report through their consultant, the Pacific Land Group, I asked for a copy of the report. After reading their submission it was very obvious to me that I had to make my own submission, along with three community members, to correct the facts as presented. The inaccuracies in this report were outrageous. As my introductory letter said in our submission to the ALC staff, I was NOT fighting the vote of council and I was not there in any way representing council. I wanted to be assured that the ALC Commissioners, when making their final decision, would do so based on the facts.

Unfortunately, Councilors Jordan Bateman, Charlie Fox and Grant Ward were outraged (not letting the truth get in the way of a good story) they met with ALC Staff to counter our presentation. I am not sure to this day on what basis – but all of this was a major controversy as these Councilors, who were tied at the hip to Kurt Alberts and his actions, objected strongly to our presentation to ALC staff. Another case of “Inconvenient Facts”.

So back to the occasion of meeting Richard Bullock, Chair of the ALC – It just so happened that our meeting with the ALC and Metro occurred late in the week before Richard was hosting a Mufford Crescent Diversion / Overpass ALC Public Hearing at the Langley Events Center, the Monday evening following. On wrapping up our ALC/Metro Committee meeting Richard came up to me, gave me his business card and asked me to contact him at home over the weekend, which I obviously did. He made it clear that he had talked to other principles on the issue. That included Mayor Fassbender of Langley City, a Public Meeting with the Agricultural Community held at the Coast Hotel and a Private meeting with those members of the Agricultural Community directly affected. This meeting was held at the Milner Church Hall.

To the telephone conversation I had with Richard Bullock, Chair of the ALC – He wanted to know (obviously) my position on the issue. Paraphrasing our conversation:

Mayor Green – Forgive me for being blunt but I don’t see that you have a choice.

ALC Chair Richard Bullock – He asked what did I mean?

Mayor Green – I said it was quite simple, if your responsibility as Chair of the ALR is to protect Agriculture land, which it is, you have no choice. It is not your mandate to help with the design of a highway and/or overpass, it is to protect agriculture. If the Provincial Government wants to override your decision by Order in Council (which threat was mentioned by a couple of Commissioners in the meetings they held), so-be-it, you will have lived up to your commitment and your responsibility.

ALC Chair Richard Bullock – What would you do if you were in our position?

Mayor Rick Green – I said that is easy, reject this proposal (he mentioned our brief which he had seen). Send it back to the funding partners for a new design. I stated I would move heaven and earth to come up with a far more acceptable proposal to the community.

The Result – That is exactly what was accomplished. I am not pleased with the option the Provincial Government selected, unfortunately the Provincial Government was and is consistent in breaking their promises to work with communities. We were promised input which was never allowed.

It is interesting to me that the original proposal for Mufford Crescent was finally defeated based on our two main objections to the submission made by the funding partners. It was returned to the funding partners for a new proposal.

Provincial Government undue ALC Influence –  What has been made public is only the tip of the ice-berg and consistent with the behind the scenes objective of this Provincial Government. The backlash, which has just started has them scrambling to protect their backside. The Core Review by Bill Bennett and it’s real objectives?  Given the actions and words of Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm, the actions of his constituent, who has ignored the ALC decision and initiated construction on the site, as well as the leaked internal documents, the public is once again being treated like idiots. I can tell you first hand, this Provincial Government and their friends on this and our former Township of Langley Council – Ferguson, Fox, Bateman, Long, Ward and Dornan were furious at the decision of the ALC. Don’t think that the ALC did not receive significant pressure from a number of sources. We owe a lot to Richard Bullock for having the guts of his conviction to protect Agricultural land despite insurmountable odds!

Summary – The whole issue of protecting the ALC is personally a very interesting development in my growth as a person. During my term as Mayor I was invited to speak at a salute to Harold Steeves who is considered to be the father of the ALC. As a surprise to all in attendance I started my salute to Harold by being very honest – “In 1975, my wife, I and our two kids at the time delivered pamphlets up and down the slopes of North Delta on behalf of the Social Credit Party to defeat the NDP, as did many thousands of others:

Why – Because of their imposition of the Agricultural Land Reserve.

I was wrong! That is the issue that got me into politics, something I never thought was possible. For 39 years since that election I am still fighting, now to protect the Agricultural Land Reserve. I have no problem admitting today that I was wrong in my original position relating to the ALR. I have a strong record while on Council in Delta and as Mayor for the Township of Langley for fighting to protect Agricultural Land. I am still a staunch Free Enterprise supporter but that doesn’t mean I follow nor agree with this so called Free Enterprise Government, I don’t! It’s blatant record of corruption starting with B.C. Rail (the list is just too long to get into here) is non-supportable by any clear thinking taxpayer of this province. The NDP lost the last election, the Liberals did not win it – Unfortunately, you are now seeing what we are having to deal with within this pompous arrogant government, Premier and many of it’s MLAs / Cabinet Ministers.


I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to Township of Langley Residents, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

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.

Who is running this municipality? Staff or Council? Who is making policy for this municipality? Staff, or Council? What does General – Protective Services on our property tax bill cover? 

For the record and for those that haven’t seen The Province front page story published Friday Nov. 1st written by Kent Spencer, this is a REAL LIFE story of a taxpayer in our Municipality. Her name is Mrs. Oksana Fedjko who is an immigrant to Canada from the Ukraine who made the Township of Langley home about four years ago.

What wasn’t mentioned in the article is that Mrs. Fedjko called the office of Mayor Jack Froese requesting a meeting to discuss the problem she had, but was told that would not be possible. She phoned Mayor Froese’s office on two occasions with the same request for a meeting and was denied both times.

Democracy in the Township of Langley? An opportunity to talk to the Mayor?

What a foreign concept!!!

I will provide the following brief event time line clarifying the facts as it appears some have been blurred by the Township of Langley. Just in case some have not heard of this incident –

  • On or about April 4th, 2012 Mrs. Fedjko, at home, was feeling ill. She proceeded to take her temperature, unfortunately while shaking the thermometer it hit the side of the table and broke, leaving the mercury content of the thermometer on the floor.
  • Now, remember she is new to Canada (trying to develop her English skills) but she remembered an incident she observed in her home country so she called 911 who then patched the call through to the Fire Department. She explained the problem to the operator; the Fire Department arrived shortly thereafter.
  • The Fire Department arrived on or about 5:00 PM on April 4th, 2012 in full gear presumably ready to deal with this spill (mercury content of the thermometer). Mrs. Fedjko was told at that time her whole family would have to leave the house immediately. Everyone complied except Mrs. Fedjko’s mother who was upstairs and refused to leave; the Fire Department continued to demand that her elderly mother go outside and she had to submit to their demands.
  • The entire family, including Mrs. Fedjko’s young children, ages 20 months and 12 years, were barred by the Fire Department to re-enter the premises and were left outside that chilly night in early April. The Fire Department would not allow Mrs. Fedjko’s crying baby to touch her mom at all, wouldn’t allow Mrs. Fedjko to hold her baby – even though Mrs. Fedjko had not once touched the mercury (mercury content of the thermometer). The three firemen who arrived stayed on-site (outside or in their truck) from 5:00PM through to approx. 10:00 PM until Tervita arrived. Tervita is a private company contracted to the Township of Langley to mitigate and clean up hazardous spills. The firefighters were intent on preventing members of the family, including a 20 month old baby in diapers, both kids cold and uncomfortable plus an elderly mother in chilly temperatures, from re-entering their home. No effort was made to find the family a comfortable environment to stay in during this episode which I understand is standard practice in most municipalities.  Mrs.Fedjko was able to borrow a cellphone and find a place to take her family for part of the evening.
  • The Ambulance was called and upon arriving wiped Mrs. Fedjko’s hands and then left (even though she had not touched any mercury). She had not called them.
  • The Fire Department personnel on the scene were having difficulty in deciding how to deal with this spill (mercury content of the thermometer) issue and waited for the Deputy Chief to attend. On his arrival he advised Mrs. Fedjko that he had called Tervita in to clean up the spill (mercury content of the thermometer). Now remember how minor the Ministry of Environment stated this issue should be.
  • The Deputy Chief informed Mrs.Fedjko it would cost her $6,000 for Tervita to deal with the problem (mercury content of the thermometer). She absolutely refused, so he handed the phone to her and told her to speak to Tervita who then brought the price down to $2,000. Mrs.Fedjko’s asked the Deputy Chief to phone her husband – who also refused to pay and said he would clean it up himself as they could not afford to pay. The Fedjkos were of the understanding that such services were part of the responsibility of the Fire Department.
  • Once they realized that the Fedjko family was not willing to pay any money, the Deputy Chief told Tervita that they, the Fire Department, would cover the cost to get the job done (mercury content of the thermometer). The Deputy Chief told Mrs. Fedjko that they would have one month to pay the Fire Department back. As the Fedjkos didn’t have the money to do so, Mrs. Fedjko asked the Deputy Chief where she could go to challenge this? He said, “It’s their right to challenge this.” Now remember how minor the Ministry of Environment stated this issue should be.
  • Mrs. Fedjko asked the Deputy Chief what happens if we don’t have Tervita clean-up the spill? (mercury content of the thermometer) . His response was that they will have to stay outside and would not be allowed back inside. Now remember how minor the Ministry of Environment stated this issue should be.
  • Tervita attended at approximately 10:00 PM, dealt with the spill (mercury content of the thermometer) and the Fedjko family (kids and all) were not back in their home until about midnight. Tervita actually contacted the Fedjkos and told them they could come home, but when the Fedjkos arrived Tervita made them stay outside for a while longer; especially unpleasant for the little children and grandmother.  Now remember how minor the Ministry of Environment stated this issue should be.

Interesting notes re: Tervita bill (Your tax dollars at work) – The bill from Tervita states it was for the “cleanup of CORROSIVE materials” for a date in September 2012 (NOT April 2012).  Tervita invoices from the time it receives the phone call, in this case they billed for 6 hours (7:00PM to 1:00AM). They arrived at approx. 10:00PM to clean up a couple of drops of mercury. They charged for 4 KG of towels, when challenged they reduced it to 3 KG. According to Mrs.Fedjko they used no more than 200 Grams of towels. Now remember how minor the Ministry of Environment stated this issue should be.

  • 30 days later Mrs. Fedjko received a bill from the Township of Langley for $1,945.00. (mercury content of the thermometer). She was frustrated and confused so she phoned the Mayor of the Township of Langley and was told he was unavailable. She tried to make an appointment to try to see him but was refused; basically being told that the Mayor does not make appointments with private citizens.
  • Not satisfied she again contacted the office of Jack Froese, Mayor of the Township of Langley requesting a meeting to discuss her problem. She was flatly told that would not be possible.
  • A short time later she was contacted by the Municipality to see if she wanted to talk to the fire department which she readily accepted. She asked what would happen if she didn’t pay the bill and was told that the Township would force her to by sending a Collection Agency. In that meeting with Deputy Chief Bruce Ferguson and Bill Storey it was suggested that she could pay $50.00 a month on this bill (now $1,700.00) to which she refused. After long negotiation, she and her husband were then asked if they would accept the bill being cut in half to $850.00 ($847.56 incl. tax to be exact).  Mr. and Mrs. Fedjko were not happy but accepted it and started paying $50.00 a month from July 24th, 2012 through to April 24th, 2013 for a total of $500. There is a total of $347.56 still outstanding. She has stopped paying! All of this for a spill of mercury content of the thermometer.

So let’s see if I have this right? A resident of the Township of Langley has an accident at home with what is considered hazardous material. The resident follows protocol and calls 911 to look after the problem, you know, the General – Protective Services (First Responder) each of us pay a considerable sum of tax money for every year? You know, the services we are constantly informed about that are there to look after us? The last time I looked it didn’t provide a menu of services that are covered – It is for General – Protective Services!

So In Summary, what has happened since this story broke –

  • In a compassionate move Mr. Paul Zalesky, CEO of AllWest Insurance donated $1,000 and his employees donated a $500. Safeway Gift Certificate recognizing and knowing what it is like to be in a tight spot.
  • Prior to this incident going public, this policy of the Township of Langley (It must be a policy given the comments from Chief Gamble that his staff acted appropriately.) there was to be no bending of the rules. Remember Mrs. Fedjko was told that the Mayor’s office that they would send it out for collection and then the Chief said the balance would be tacked onto their Property Tax Bill? Which is it?
  • After the initial story broke and a follow up story re: the kind donation by a reader (and interesting comments from the Fire Chief) Mrs. Fedjko received a voice mail from Chief Gamble that she will not have to pay the outstanding balance. Great news (interesting what happens when you go public with an injustice) but this leaves many more questions for the Mayor and members of Council to answer to.

What still needs to happen –

  • Can the Fire Chief cancel a fee just like that? If so, under what circumstances can it be cancelled?
  • The policy of the Township of Langley (What is it?) now must be made public! If not residents, given this publicity, will obviously be reluctant (in the case of a dangerous goods spill) to call on our first responders which will or could pose a danger to all.
  • Mrs. Fedjko absolutely deserves an apology from our Municipal Council because of the actions of The Township of Langley.
  • Mrs. Fedjko absolutely deserves an apology from Mayor Froese for refusing to meet with her. (Two requests.)
  • Mrs. Fedjko absolutely deserves a refund of the $500. her family has paid to the Township of Langley on this erroneous bill for a service that should be covered as a taxpayer of the Township of Langley. I am told it is covered in all other municipalities.
  • Frank Bucholtz, Editor of the Langley Times wrote an editorial on their web-site on this issue Nov.7/13, an editorial I have to congratulate Frank on. (Although I must say it mysteriously disappeared by the next day on their web-site and we haven’t seen it in print, that is surprising isn’t it?) In response to that editorial he received a couple of email responses from two members of Council that require a response. They are –

Councilor Richter –“What happened here is just simply wrong – from start to finish how very sad the majority of Council did not agree with me”. Councilor Richter it will require more than your normal lip service to correct this wrong. For once in your Municipal career stand up and be counted, stop this verbal diarrhea.

Councilor Long –“The Township won’t be going after the poor family for the balance of the clean-up costs”. Councilor Long, that is really big of you. I find it interesting that you continue to try to find favor with the public despite wrong-headed decisions. Why don’t you have the guts to stand up for this family; do what is right and credit the Fedjko’s the $500.00 they should never have had to pay in the first place. Shame on all of you!      

In summary, this case, spilled mercury content of the thermometer quite frankly displays how out of control our bureaucracy is- led by this inaccessible Mayor.  A Mayor who has more time for his business buddies than for the private citizens he was sworn to serve. If Mr. and Mrs. Fedjko’s is “just another” nuisance complaint from a taxpayer, our community will be the poorer for it. This could happen to any of us!!!!

PS – I don’t put this on the back of our Firefighters; it is clearly on the backs of the senior bureaucracy as well as the current Mayor and Council!

Remember the line from Ralph Klein, then Premier of Alberta when questioned about the costs his Province endured when there was a BSE outbreak represented by one single older dairy cow which never got into the food chain –

 His answer was – “Shoot, Shovel and Shut Up”!

Is this the attitude our local government wants all of us to take????


I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to Township of Langley Residents, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

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.

Writing a community BLOG on the Township of Langley is a challenge, there are more serious issues than there is time to prepare and write. Where is our local media? After reading a recent Frank Bucholtz editorial it is apparent that they (he) just don’t get it and are drinking the Township of Langley (establishment) bathwater, a real disservice to all of us! Thankfully we have The Province (Kent Spencer) and The Sun (Kelly Sinoski). The following is a recap of some major stories and issues affecting you the taxpayer in the Township of Langley.

Read on:

The Province / Tuesday October 15th 2013 – FRONT PAGE and Full Page 3

“Giving Money Away”

Township spent $2.7 million buying land that Trinity Western University had received for free. (Kent Spencer – The Province)

Thanks to Township of Langley resident and taxpayer Dennis Townsend, he has been steadfastly digging into the very questionable property transactions that surround Trinity Western University. He has been willing to stand up and be counted, using his own resources to uncover what can only be described as a travesty to Township of Langley Taxpayers – so much so that The Province reporter Kent Spencer ran with this story on their front page.

What is the issue? $2.7 million paid for a 20.5 hectare property with an assessed value of $1.5 million, 80% over it’s assessed value! So beyond this outrageous purchase by the Township of Langley, The Province lays out the following interesting and questionable elements of the story-

  • “May 14th, 2012, the 23 hectare property on Glover Rd. was owned by Hugh and Sharon Little. Hugh Little is a North Vancouver businessman who has served on Trinity’s board of governors and with Trinity’s charitable foundation.”
  • “The very next day, the land was subdivided into two sections. The larger 20.5 hectare parkland-zoned section was transferred by the Littles to Trinity Western University for just $1. and other good and valuable considerations.” What other good and valuable considerations? How would CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency) view this transaction – a dramatic increase in value that IS NOT backed up by B.C. Assessment? Just asking?
  • The 2.5 hectare property, zoned-student-dormitory conveniently by the Township is retained by the Littles.
  • “Trinity then flipped the 20.5 hectare property to the Township for $2.7 million later the same day.” Assessed value $1.5 million.

So why a $2.7 million purchase price on land valued at $1.5 million? Why am I not surprised; there were three independent Appraisals. While Township Property Manager Scott Thompson and Bob Kuhn, Trinity President defend the sale and purchase price being based on an average of three appraisals, Trevor Brown of B.C. Assessment knew about this high valuation and insists he stands by their assessment as being accurate at $1.5 million. Where is the full copy of these Appraisals – they would make for interesting reading!

The Province / Friday October 18th, 2013 – 1/3rd page Page A6

Council not told land value: Richter (Kent Spencer – The Province)

In response to the first news story about this land (above), Councilor Kim Richter, an experienced (close to 15 year, 5 term Councilor) is quoted extensively in this feature with the following:

Councilor Kim Richter doesn’t believe council was told it was buying land for 80% over it’s assessed value in 2012.

  • What an amazing statement – A Councilor with her experience and years of service coming up with this. Ask the question Ms. Richter ask the question!!!! It is your fiduciary responsibility as an elected representative of the taxpayer to ensure we get value for money. Just maybe residents will stop being fooled by your fluffy meaningless questions followed up with no follow through and no answers in open council. They are and have been nothing but a smokescreen for years! It is amazing what you can find out when you challenge staff reports; when are you going to start, and mean it? How much damage has to be done to this community before members of council wake up and start doing the job they were elected to do?

“From my perspective it seems like quite a gap” said Richter.

  • Do you think Ms. Richter? 80% (or $1.2 million higher) equates to about a 1.5% tax increase. $1.2 million that is gone for good thanks to the incompetence of this council. A million here, a million there, pretty soon you are talking real money! Unconscionable!

Richter wasn’t aware that the costs of the Appraisal were shared with Trinity? It then becomes a serious issue of objectivity or perceived objectivity.

  • Obviously further proof of the incompetence of this council. Appraisals and the details behind them are not questioned. How convenient!

Richter says she will ask to see the full Appraisal documents?

  • Ms. Richter, will you release them to the public? Otherwise, given council’s actions to-date this action is absolutely meaningless!

“If this deal had not (already) been implemented, I definitely would have been asking for more information. Can we undo it? NO – Can we learn from it? YES – Would we do it again? Absolutely NOT.”

  • The old 20 / 20 hindsight routine? Ms. Richter, are you now speaking for other members of council when you say it won’t happen again? That would be an interesting meeting to sit in on!!! We could sell tickets to that meeting.

More interesting, has it happened before???

Some of us know the answer to that question don’t we!

Given what happened in this case there should be a Forensic Audit of all Real Estate transactions over the past 10 plus years. But who on Council will have the guts to raise that prospect!

 The Province / Wednesday October 23rd, 2013 – 2/3rd page – Page A6

B.C. Assessment won’t use sale price (Kent Spencer – The Province)

In a follow up news item dealing with the questionable Appraisal stated the following:

The valuation of the property lies at the heart of the controversy and on Tuesday, Trevor Brown, senior appraiser at B.C. Assessment expanded broadly on his reasons for believing the land was only worth $1.5 million.

He said the Township paid so much over the assessed value that the amount will not be used to determine future assessed values.

“We could not use that purchase price as market evidence for setting assessments” said Brown.

Through the course of the article he explains why this property is assessed the way it is through outlining a description of the property and by comparing six large agricultural parcels sold in Langley in 2012. When you have such professional opinion go public it definitely puts into question the management of our assets as well as the decisions that are being made in the taxpayer’s best interest.

Vancouver Sun – Metro Board rejects move to develop agricultural land

(Kelly Sinoski)

Then we move on to a series of three property applications to the Metro Vancouver Board.

ALR / Urban Edge Planning: Two of these applications dealt with edge planning between ALR land and Urban. The issue is, as I say, edge planning between Urban and ALR lands. This encroachment has become a frequent request of the Township of Langley by land owners who own these edge properties. If you follow this idea to it’s illogical conclusion there is no end to how far you go in edge planning and removing land out of the ALR. It breaches the RGS which the Township unanimously approved a short two years ago. Just recently there have been noises out of Victoria that the B.C. Liberal Government have included the ALR in their Core Review currently being carried out by Minister Bill Bennett. There is currently considerable angst that the ALR is in jeopardy!

NEW Revisited OCP – The next application was dealing with a change in the Township OCP dealing with changing the designation of an area next to Port Kells from mixed employment to general urban which was contrary to the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy. Now let’s be clear, the Regional Growth Strategy is a product of Provincial Legislation going back to the 80s, it isn’t something a few Mayors dreamt up over a beer one night. The RGS was reviewed extensively for two and a half years (2009, 10 and11) by ALL member municipalities and ALL members of ALL Municipal and City Councils. It was adopted unanimously in later 2011. Seeing I was leading the Township approval process when I was the Mayor I can tell you for a fact, we held an extensive number of private and open meetings with Metro, including a public hearing, and we had a considerable number of objections which we went about resolving. In the closing days of that process I had asked Mark Bakken and Ramin Seifi directly in front of Council in an in-camera meeting if there were issues of concern and both said there were. Given that, we went back to Metro and resolved those issues in question. Given all of this we brought it to an open Council Meeting and unanimously supported the RGS.

NOTE: We established a number of special Study Areas for future discussion which would require a simple majority vote of the Metro Board for approval of any change. It was and is clear any other changes through the Regional Context Statement would require a 60% weighted vote to change.

IMPORTANT re NEW OCP – I find it very intriguing that in a municipality that takes up to two years to create a new neighborhood plan, this Council and staff revisited the TOL Official Community Plan (OCP) and adopted it in not much more than a five month process with by-law readings and public hearing held in the summer. I have a copy of the NEW OCP and the c ommuni9ty should be alarmed at the changes.

Conclusion? After all of this, within a short time, less than two years, in the middle of a Court Action between the Township of Langley and Metro Vancouver over the RGS this Council goes cap in hand asking for changes to something that was just extensively agree upon. In my view it has become a very unhealthy poisoned relationship with our Municipal Partners within the region, all to be laid at the feet of Mayor Jack Froese and this Council.

And Now we get an Editorial from Frank Bucholtz Editor of the Langley Times

“Township and Metro in midst of land use confrontation”!

Unfortunately BUT in typical Mr. Bucholtz fashion he is defending the Township at all costs. He goes on by blaming the disputes on being nothing but political, dragging out a bunch of irrelevant issues, gossip and innuendo (where have I heard this stuff before) about Derek Corrigan and Burnaby Politics, then about Harold Steves being the godfather of the Agricultural Land Reserve and both of them being NDP members. So what, lets deal with the uncomfortable facts Frank!

Now it won’t take any of you 5 seconds to discover my politics are staunchly right wing and Free Enterprise. My argument against Bucholtz and the local Langley Press is not left vs right it is about how one sided their stories are and how unchallenging they are to sitting local politicians, Municipal, Provincial and Federal. So if Frank Bucholtz wants to complain about Metro argue THE FACTS, don’t offer a bunch of hyperbole. If you are complaining about Metro’s RGS have a little courage and go up against your Provincial friends Frank, or is that just a little too uncomfortable?

There are more than enough facts to argue how and why the Township is at fault on a wide variety of property deals, where is that in print? Where are the uncomfortable facts in print?

Now, we have just witnessed a very interesting B.C. Supreme Court decision on the Coulter Berry building in Fort Langley – are you going to come out and blast Council for the process they created that has been found to be improper and thrown out? Why don’t you ask the Township for their legal costs associated with defending themselves against this community based action? Now, what will add insult to injury to the citizens of the Township is if this Council Appeals the decision?

Something to really think about – Next time you receive the local paper in your mail box, (Times / Advance and Star) tally up the advertising pages from the Township of Langley, City of Langley, Developers who are marketing developments in both the City and Township as well as their inserts and flyers – This is known as the lucrative economics of the local newspaper business. There is nothing wrong with this as long as the news is objective, independent and tells the full story (both sides)!

Conclusion:  What we have seen over the first two years of this Council’s mandate is one of deals for friends and insiders, an increasing number of land deals / issues, constant conflict with Metro Vancouver and not one positive achievement.

I won’t count the just announced Glen Valley Park, the credit for that clearly goes to those dedicated residents of the Township of Langley. Don’t forget, if it was up to this Council you would have seen ALL of that land sold off, there was no other option.

It is long past due that we get off this train wreck to nowhere and fight for changes to our Municipal Governance before it is too late.


More interesting Township Features coming soon!

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

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The decision of Justice Groves was very clear… The process was improper, are you surprised? The sad reality is this was a manufactured process by the Township senior bureaucracy to appease your Council (minus David Davis) to satisfy Eric Woodward and key supporter Kurt Alberts plus the Langley Establishment. They, Senior Staff and Council, got caught out by the courts! All of this was not supported by planning staff.

Have you ever asked yourself, who is really running the Township of Langley?

It was all I could do to get through what is being passed off as news by the local media.

Langley Times – An often used picture of the sod turning for, as it turns out, a non-existent building.  Virtually no examination of what the verbal decision was or no attempt to examine what the complaint was all about from the Petitioners – all public information. You would think, given the decision, that there would be a balanced attempt to understand the complaint with an effort to explain it to the public. Rather the Times offered us a fluffy public apologetic piece from the developer / builder to his supporters. Not one attempt to clearly explain the point of law and/or process that this challenge was founded on.

Then we get the following from Mayor Froese – “Council made every effort to ensure all opinions were heard and that proper process was followed. Council’s decision was made in the best interest of the public at large, to benefit our entire community. A community open house and a two day public public-hearing was held, with a great deal of input received by council from members of the public, Township staff, and legal counsel prior to granting the permit”.

What? – Did I read that right?

Remember the following-  Is this the same Mayor Froese?

These are not the actions of a reasonably thinking Mayor and Municipal Council.

Remember Pete McMartin’s column in the Vancouver Sun on Mayor Jack Froese?

(Pete McMartin Vancouver Sun) Nov. 29/12 RE Coulter Berry Building in Fort Langley             

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, it sure says something about what is going on, doesn’t it!

Conclusion – The actions (votes, process and procedure) of this council speak volumes about what they are all about. This is more about serving special interests than it is about responsible government.

Mayor Froese, this is nothing but disingenuous self-serving BAFFLEGAB! You and your council have proven in spades you don’t have a clue what public consultation is all about. It is very clear that you and your council just don’t get it!

Langley Advance – It was stated by the Township CAO that the grounds in the verbal decision given by Justice Groves in the Supreme Court of B.C. in Chilliwack, were based on the permit varied density of the site? Well I was in the court room, I do not profess to be a lawyer, but I will be very interested in the Justice’s written decision. I believe this decision goes well beyond that issue.

I would like to say that the Mathew Claxton article in the Langley Advance offered a much more balanced approach to this significant news development.

Here is a unique concept! How about the Township of Langley go back to the drawing board, and come back to the community living up to the rules, by-laws, zoning and process that previously had been legitimized by the community and council of the day. Two stories with an appropriate site coverage, the community would love it!

A layman’s view of the Court proceeding: As I indicated in my last BLOG Post on BREAKING NEWS re Coulter Berry, there is a much more significant message outside of the decision itself. On what appeared to be every available occasion during the proceedings the TOL Counsel referred to the power of council and on a separate occasion stated if residents don’t like the decisions of their council they can vote them out. He referred the Judge to as he says “A more Generous Approach to Municipal Powers”. The Judge clearly had issues with the view of Township Counsel and challenged the TOL interpretation of Provincial Legislation and much more throughout the hearing.

Taking all of this dialogue into account in my experience I would suggest the Township of Langley has set themselves apart from the majority of Municipal Governments by doing what they want. An unhealthy culture has been fostered and sustained going back a number of years involving over time members of Council supported by key members of staff.

I would suggest that they rationalize their actions (we have the power to do so) and by extension saying or suggesting (subliminally at least) anyone who doesn’t like it can sue the Township. We are very fortunate that someone came out and put their money where their mouth is, which obviously most cannot afford. Remember the Township is operating with deep pockets, our tax dollars. I would refer you to cases like the Woods Property on which a stream was diverted on the Willoughby slopes, the Athenry Development up on 208th which I have written extensively about (a travesty of justice in my view) and the Sue Leyland Land Fill issue just to name a few a very few.

In summary – There will be much more published on the Coulter Berry issue in the near future. We will publish the written decision as soon as it is available to do so. Stay tuned, stay vigilant!!!


I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to Township of Langley Residents, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

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.