What are our Transportation Needs South of the Fraser; fair question given our transportation deficit? Council should be on top of that issue, right? Not in the Township of Langley, Mayor and Council have completely failed us again!!

Posted: May 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

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.

RG

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!!!

 

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Comments
  1. Lee Lockwood says:

    The citizens of Langley have simply laid down, and closed their eyes re the encroachment of increased rail traffic, more overpasses than ever conceived in the infamous funding partners Agreement of June 2007 and lack of truly viable rail transit issues in the Township. The current plutocrats pander to the pleadings of the populace but do NOTHING of substance. What happens when petroleum hits it’s true value ie $200+ per barrel??

    • Unfortunately our Council, Mayor included, don’t give two seconds of thought to be procative in looking after the Township of Langley. They are reactive at best and only when it doesn’t affect their friends and insiders. Lets wake up before it is too late, and that is getting close!

  2. “What happens when petroleum hits it’s true value ie $200+ per barrel?” – Exactly! Everyone should read “Why your world is about to get a lot smaller”. Unfortunate in Langley we have a Council who are brain washed into thinking that high density development (without planing for transit, parking etc) is the key to lower taxes – they believe its a revenue – when in fact the way they are doing it costs the people; both in taxes and long term plans. Idiots on council suggest people in Yorkson don’t need parking but they have no suggestions on how to help transit??? (do Councillors bus to meetings?) Our mayor is too busy spending tax dollars fighting in court on behalf of his developer friends!

    • Mike, it is a long term established fact that residential development DOES NOT pay for itself. That doesn’t mean in any way that you stop development and growth but it DOES MEAN that you go forward proactively generating assets through development and growth through proper planning (not what is happening in the Township) that will create communities that all of us would want to live in going forward. The disjointed transportation connection between Metro Vancouver (who has the planning function) and Translink (who has the Transportation function) speaks volumes about what is wrong within the lower mainland. How do you separate transportation and Planning? I rest my case! Until we get representatives at these two regional boards who are going to tell it like it is within and then to the Provincial Government, nothing is going to change. RG

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