Archive for January, 2019

Deliberately, I have stayed away from commenting on the results of last years’ Municipal Election, deciding instead on watching the live streaming of Council Meetings, watching interactions and how prepared our Councilors are in preparation for the task at hand. It is no secret who I endorsed and some (I guess now some former) friends were mad about my choices? To them I say grow up and get over it, on balance I was pleased with the results; four out of seven I endorsed got elected.

Now, I am looking at the results objectively hoping that those I didn’t support will take a renewed look at the opportunities that exist by maybe viewing the issues and problems within the Township of Langley through a different lens. That lens is the lens of opportunity that every member of Council has within it’s grasp, specifically the change that is possible!

Through my past-experience, both as an Alderman in Delta and much later in my life as Mayor of the Township of Langley I have found a profound reluctance on the part of so many Councilors and Mayors to be willing to change. I believe much of that is driven by staff who are in their comfort zone and for the most part drive the agenda, and in some cases long term members of Council look at any suggestion of change as being somehow a slight against their past performance. I can’t understand that thinking but I have some facts to back up my belief. I am not looking to embarrass anyone, so I am not mentioning names, but it is interesting to look back at a few incidents that occurred.

My personal experience and reason – So right off the top why did I decide to run for public office? It wasn’t in anyway a wish for increased community profile or somehow a wish for any kind of power; but in both cases, for Alderman and Mayor, I ran because I didn’t agree with some decisions of the current council, in my view I had a better idea. As the old saying goes, if you don’t like what is happening step forward and get involved. Politics is all about the competition of ideas and I was always driven to bring about what I perceived to be positive change to the community in which I lived. From setting up and establishing the Toll Free Calling Task Force in and around 1988 (Yes it used to be long distance between Delta and Langley not that long ago) that was changed thanks to the support we received on that Task Force to a number of issues and accomplishments in the Township of Langley.

So what were the couple of experiences as referenced above?

Mayor’s Standing Committee of Finance – Shortly after I was elected in 2008 in preparation of and in support of budget discussions, I set up the Mayors Standing Committee of Finance as a result of, in my opinion, the poor record of tax increases and spending, for a number of years prior, by the Councils of the day. In a an In-Camera Meeting when Council was informed of my initiative, I received a very negative reaction by the majority of Council. One Councilor stated out loud, I don’t understand why you are doing this, we have been doing a good job? In this case the majority of Council responsible for the past record of taxation and spending approached this change as a slight against their record as opposed to jumping on-board and being a part of bringing progressive change to how the Municipality was being run.

Introduction of CACs – Early in my term I brought in a Mr. Bruce Maitland who was the just retired head of the Real Estate Department with the City of Vancouver who happened to move into Willoughby at the time. CACs? They are otherwise known as Community Amenity Contributions which are known in some circles as voluntary Bonus Density payments negotiated and paid for by developers for a wide variety of additional costs incurred because of development. They could be fire halls, rec centers, police stations and many more that are not covered by DCCs (traditional Development Cost Charges) which are covered by Provincial Legislation and have very specific rules governing them. I believe Bruce spoke to a couple of Council work sessions, where, and I remember it well, a Councilor spoke up and said well that is great for Vancouver, but we don’t do that out here in Langley. Surprising but true, the idea was defeated in a vote at a future Council meeting. Our past Council has just initiated them. I can tell you in the roughly 10 years since that day the taxpayers have relinquished Millions of dollars and many municipal services have relied on ever increasing taxes that would otherwise not be necessary!

The NEW Council, what are the early observations?

I am looking for members of Council, if incumbents, to take the opportunity to change and be willing to look at NEW ideas, theirs or from other members of Council. As I used to say to Council, we can disagree without being disagreeable but to my point be willing to look through the lens of change. To NEW Councilors – how are they willing to embrace change?

I have been watching the Live Stream of Council Meetings since their swearing in and I would suggest, while it is early, Eric Woodward is the one member of Council that is most effective! Eric is appearing to be well organized, seems to have new ideas at every meeting, posts Notices of Motion on NEW ideas, is debating in a controlled and responsible fashion and yet is having difficulty in getting the necessary support by the majority of Council. Now, are Eric’s Notices of Motion too technical for some members of Council, possibly, are they all great ideas, possibly not, but many of them should be supported and/or amended or at the very least go to staff and/or a works session of Council.

I know members of Council traditionally don’t like to come off and admit to not understanding especially in a public forum, but they have ample time to investigate and understand it by asking questions of Councilors and staff prior to going into a Public Meeting.

Frankly there has not been enough of a sample size to draw any conclusion on other members of Council. I would strongly encourage other members of Council to be more open in their participation at the Council table. We could go on and on and on about history, god knows I have done that. It is now time to be positive moving forward and call a spade a spade as this year moves on!

Message to the Township of Langley Mayor and Council, please take a step back, think about what positive change you can bring to the Council table and/or at least what changes can you support that other Council members bring to Council. Remember, it takes a good deal of time, effort, money and volunteer hours to get elected, when you leave Council, and you will one way or the other, do so being able to look back at what you have accomplished! It is a great feeling, even when you leave as the result of an election, you have done your part, be proud of it!


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.

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