Archive for May, 2014

Has anybody paid attention to the news coming out of Translink and more important out of Victoria, namely from our rookie Minister of Transportation Todd Stone, MLA from Kamloops? Making a long story short, imposing a referendum on Translink and the lower mainland, taking charge by saying they would create the question and then in typical fashion throwing this hand grenade back at the Mayors Council of Translink to develop. A number of months ago the Mayors were advised that they had to formulate the question as well as develop a costed priority list of projects for the Lower Mainland with a deadline.

Well the Mayors, despite their continued lack of support for a referendum which I agree with them on, dutifully set up a committee to follow through with these instructions by the imposed deadline of June 30th this year. Well, in the Township of Langley a funny thing (it would be funny if it wasn’t so irresponsible) happened on the way through this exercise – Our Engineering Division submitted a report to the May 12th Township Council meeting requesting Council “authorize staff to forward their report and attachment to the Mayor’s Council Subcommittee on Regional Transportation Investment Plan as well as the full Mayor’s Council requesting acknowledgement of the need for consideration of grade separation at provincial highways, Major Road Network roads and railway crossings.” Now remember, this committee whom they are sending this report to, is setting a priority list of need throughout the region… and this is all they could come up with for the Township?

That is it, that is all we asked to be included, no involvement by our Council, no kickback by our Council, excuses by Mayor Froese that we are out of time, the Mayors blathering endorsement of our traffic engineer and his report and that the report must be finalized. It is too late for more input! It is being dealt with in-camera, can’t talk about it. What?

Where has our Mayor been over the past six months, where have our Council members been over the past six months? If they haven’t been receiving information from the Mayor on this issue, it has been splashed all over our regional newspapers for months. No questions? This has been a complete abdication by the Mayor of his responsibilities to Council and to all taxpayers who deserve a return on investment of their substantial Translink Property Taxes being submitted each and every year! 

This is no different in importance than what we went through with developing the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy and I can tell you that Council was involved in every respect of that process going forward, which is as it should be and they were unanimous in their support.

Transportation in the Township of Langley is the single most important issue our taxpayers and property owners will face in the decade ahead. I have dealt with the idea of a Translink referendum in an earlier post but suffice to say the wording of it and the selection of the projects to be included will be all important to its success and/or failure. In simple terms consider these questions –

  • If the referendum fails what does that mean for the prospect of looking after our transportation needs going forward? If a NO vote is received that will be the end of it for years to come? In a growing municipality that would be devastating.
  • If a NO vote is received it will not change what all of us are now paying for the non-existent Translink services we are now receiving.
  • What NEW Township specific Translink project(s) will be incorporated in to the referendum question? If any?
  • Will a couple of major Light Rail projects in Surrey satisfy Township residents to the extent of receiving a yes vote?
  • Will Translink endorse a Light Rail project down Fraser Highway from Surrey center to Langley City at a cost of close to $2.5 Billion (12 miles) when they could endorse the Chilliwack to Scott Road Station Interurban corridor at a cost of approx. $900 million (65 miles)?  We don’t think so. This is otherwise known as the Fastbender Fantasy!
  • What is the position of our Mayor and Council on what Township beneficial projects should go forward within this proposed referendum?
  • What is the position of our Mayor and Council on what additional funding options (if any) should go forward within this proposed referendum?

The privacy and secrecy with respect to the whole issue of Translink Township of Langley services and the proposed referendum is outrageous. Yes, the Mayors Council of Translink can have their in-camera meetings while going through the challenge ahead of them but it is not OK for Council to have no debate, no input and no involvement in formulating a public position of demands. The only thing that is consistent is this Council’s non-transparent method of dealing with serious issues out of the public view. It is clearly not acceptable!!!!

Another past Transportation Issue that is conspicuously similar… The ineptness of this Council just doesn’t quit! Remember this?

The Roberts Bank Rail Corridor Initiative Signed in Private – On June 28th 2007 an agreement was signed by 12 funding partners in Township of Langley Council Chambers at what was a closed session initially, but after complaints from some present were allowed in with the proviso no questions would be asked. This Rail Corridor agreement was put together to put in place nine overpasses from Delta through to Langley to deal with the issue of needed grade separations due to the imposed expansion of the Roberts Bank Super Port. A key part of those expansion plans is the controversial Terminal 2 given its lack of a lineal environmental assessment.

Where this issue is conspicuously similar to the Translink issue is its complete lack of transparency, public input on community impact and lack of open Council debate. This has been a significant issue within our community for years but the community was not being listened to. Our esteemed Traffic Engineer just recently went public with a statement suggesting that our area will be in a state of gridlock given that no overpasses were built on our key traffic corridors. What? We have been saying that for years and now somebody is waking up? Ask yourselves, when Terminal 2 is finished and we go from 15 to 38 unit trains a day what do we do about the following corridors with NO overpasses –

  • Fraser Highway
  • 200th
  • The bypass

The majority of this Council is not standing up to our Federal and Provincial Governments due in large part to their respective intimidation to fall into line. Any time that senior levels of government become so influential on your local council, the community is the big loser!          

Back to Translink – What is being developed is a 10 year transportation investment plan. What is at stake for the Township of Langley is a 10 year void of any transportation improvement! Are you satisfied with how your Council has represented us on this issue so far? Given everything they have known, they are now lighting their hair on fire for public show? Don’t be fooled it is nothing but incompetence and we are paying the price.


I am working on a few posts at present that I believe should be of significant concern and interest to residents of the Township of Langley.

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.

The following historical account of the Athenry Development issue and subsequent actions spells out in detail how this Council and staff are completely out of control and must be stopped. The Township of Langley LOST in this misdirected and irresponsible appeal to a B.C. Supreme Court Justice regarding a Provincial Information and Privacy Commissioner decision. The Township of Langley’s B.C Supreme Court action named the Commissioner and Jacob de Raadt (a local area resident and consultant) in a Judicial Review action.

(The Langley Times) – The decision – In a 22 page written decision filed in the Vancouver Court Registry on April 15th – Justice Bruce Cohen ruled the Township rendered the whole matter moot when it handed over different versions of a storm water management plan for the Athenry Development project in Willoughby per the Provincial Information and Privacy Commissioner decision… but there is more!

What makes this an even more relevant and damning decision Justice Cohen goes on to say (which he was not required to do) “he would have ruled in favor of de Raadt and the commissioner”.     

I have written about this travesty four times on this BLOG, on February 4th, March 11th, April 24th and September 26th 2013. In my opinion the Athenry Development will go down as the biggest injustice done to neighbors of any development that I have had any familiarity with over my many years in local politics. It was and is just wrong. Here is a recap –

First a little history on the Athenry Gate Development – During the week of Nov. 22nd, 2010, I became aware of an agenda item (for Athenry Developments) scheduled for a “Development Permit” Public Hearing on Monday November 29th, 2010. This 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 its 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 bore 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 meet that standard and I stated that in a meeting I had with the CAO prior to the Council Meeting. Staff and legal advice claimed the changes were covered under form, character and design, which I did and still totally disagree with.

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 plus a two story office building and a Cultural Center.

The decision of your Municipal Council to bring this reinvented proposal forward for fourth reading and Development Permit from the PREVIOUS elected Council’s first and second reading, public hearing and then third reading was wrong and completely off base given the following –

The Local Government Act – Division 4 – Public Hearings on Bylaws

Provision after a Public Hearing

894(1) After a public hearing, the council or board may, without further notice or hearing.

  1. Adopt or defeat the bylaw, or
  2. Alter and then adopt the bylaw, provided that the alteration does not

i.      Alter the use,

ii.      Increase the density, or

iii.      Without the owner’s consent, decrease the density of any area from that originally specified in the bylaw.

The approved Athenry development in my opinion breached i. and ii. above. Unfortunately that would require affected citizens to take the Township of Langley to court in what is always a risk and patently unfair. The approval of this development was in my opinion poking residents in the eye with residents only recourse being a lawsuit. The Township of Langley’s deep pockets (taxpayer funded) is nothing more than financial intimidation against well-meaning and affected taxpayers.

Another case – The 2005 Council approved the first controversial phase of the Bedford Landing Condominium development in Fort Langley adding a 4th floor at final reading and development permit stage, which once again breached the above Local Government Act 894 (1) b ii. (it increased density at final reading which is not permitted)      

Back to Athenry, 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. How high and how close? On the plans there was a large condominium building estimated to be about 50 – 60 feet high, less than twenty feet from their back fence. With these dramatic changes to the project there were a number of serious concerns not the least of which was the issue of drainage given the potential for flooding of surrounding homes.

You made the decision to buy and move into your dream home based on what had been explained to you by the planning department at the hall. How would you like to be made aware of these changes after you moved in?

In my opinion and experience this was and is a travesty that happened to local hard working taxpayers. (NOTE – 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 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 know of one resident who has sold their dream home that backed onto Athenry; it has cost them about $100,000. This has been verified by local real estate representatives.

So if anyone reading this BLOG Post figures on this being an exaggeration of the impact of this development or the facts of the case, do yourself a favor and drive by the just moved Willoughby Hall and check out the NEW 5 story (4 on top of a ground level parking garage) Condominium building that is just being finished which abuts these homes. Now you tell me that there is nothing wrong with this development and more importantly how it came about? Just put yourself in their shoes?

So to the Langley Times – Where do they get their information? Here are the facts!

Yes, interestingly enough this is the same Jacob de Raadt who was subject to a number of complaints by this council and banishment from Township Council Chambers!

Jacob de Raadt filed a Freedom of Information Request (FOI) with the Township of Langley to obtain copies of all versions of the storm water management plan for the Athenry Development. He was denied that information through FOI, that part is true.

As is his right and that of any other citizen of the Province of British Columbia, he, acting on behalf of his clients filed an appeal request of the FOI denial through to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia as he objected to being denied what he thought were documents he had the right to view. His appeal through the Privacy Commissioner was detailed, thorough and complete. The B.C. Privacy Commissioner took the complaint and passed it on to their adjudicator Elizabeth Barker who took some considerable time to view and consider all of the information provided by both sides and she released her decision dated July 24th 2013.

The lengthy and detailed decision and the reasons for it are available on the “Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner” web-site her conclusion is –

“For the reasons stated above, and pursuant to s. 58 of FIPPA, I make the following orders:

  1. Langley is not authorized by s. 12(3)(a) of FIPPA to refuse to disclose the original and the four subsequent revisions of the storm water management plan.
  2. Langley must give the applicant a copy of original and revisions 1, 2, 3, and 5 of the storm water management plan, on or before September 6th, 2013. I also require Langley to copy me on its cover letter to the applicant, together with a copy of the records.”

So the decision and all of this seems relatively straight forward, correct? NOT in the Township of Langley! The Township of Langley in a letter to Mr. Jacob de Raadt dated August 20th, 2013 from Township’s Bull Housser lawyer Mr. James Goulden advised, “on behalf of the Township seeking a judicial review of the Order in the near future. In those proceedings, the Township will be asking the court to overturn the Order.”

So the Township being the Township, why stop there (with the Order) let’s spend more money on lawyers which in my view is bad enough. NOW the kicker, where the Langley Times misinformed the public and a couple of intriguing questions to ask yourself:

  1. The Township of Langley is seeking to have the order to release the documents overturned? Excuse me! THEY RELEASED THE REQUESTED DOCUMENTS AS ORDERED TO ONE MR. JACOB de RAADT. So, NO Langley Times, they had released the documents as ordered but at the same time appealed their release through the courts. What you say? Only in the Township of Langley. Why spend a few dollars on legal bills when you have an open ended budget using tax payer dollars! (BY THE WAY, THE JUDGE AGREED!)
  1. Why was Jacob de Raadt named in this Judicial Review? Yes he sought clarification which surely is anyone’s right in our democracy, BUT it was the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner that investigated, conducted the review and issued the decision and Order. The Township’s argument, IF they had one, was with the others named on the Petition namely The Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia and the Attorney General of British Columbia NOT Jacob de Raadt. This couldn’t have anything to do with their on-going fight and intimidation of Mr. de Raadt could it?
  1. A fair question would now be, is this the Township’s new strategy? That is to force anyone who applies for information through an FOI request, is denied and appeals successfully to the Information and Privacy Commissioner to challenge that decision through a Judicial Review? Forcing tax payers (at their expense) into court to defend themselves against what has to be considered their basic democratic rights? Is this another way of saying, to anyone who is attempting to get at the truth, if you try this, the same thing could happen to you? What is happening in the Township? Is this what you want out of your local government?
  1. The Langley Times stated the Township of Langley is suing over the FOI request. NO, Langley Times, the Township of Langley is petitioned the Court requesting a Judicial review of the decision and the Order of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. So, Jacob de Raadt is named in the Petition for a Judicial Review of an Information and Privacy Commissioner decision, not his FOI request. All of this because a taxpayer exercised their democratic rights? Shame!

In summary, I am not sure who is running this municipality but IT IS NOT Mayor and Council. However, Mayor and Council are complicit in everything that is going on in the Township of Langley by their actions or more important their inactions in their support of staff decisions! So where are we at, as a community?

Does something have to happen to you personally before you will be responsive and fight back? This Mayor and Council are worse than the Council of Kurt Alberts, IF that is at all possible, they are completely out of control.

I know it is nice that members of Council claim they get along, nothing could be further from the truth. Remember the majority of council’s claims that during my term and the last election campaign that the dysfunction was the fault of the Mayor!

The INCONVENIENT TRUTH – All of the dysfunction that has gone on within our council for the last three years and beyond can be laid squarely at the feet of Richter, Ward, Fox, Dornan, Long, Froese, Ferguson and Sparrow!

In my opinion all of this makes this Council’s decisions suspect!


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.