The Township of Langley needs to break away from the chains and control of Insiders – We need Change…. Rich Coleman is running to prevent that change!

Posted: September 8, 2022 in Uncategorized

There is an old (adage) saying: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

This is a tried but true expression which I have learned through my life experiences to live and learn by. In my opinion and experience, Rich Coleman is the epitome (a perfect example) of that saying!

So why do I say that? You just have to read my previous BLOG Post regarding the dialogue I had with Rich Coleman when I innocently requested a meeting after announcing I was running for Mayor of the Township of Langley back in 2008. (A verbatim transcript of that meeting was laid out in my previous BLOG Post to this one.) At that time, after about 36 years in politics, my experience with bullies and those that practiced intimidation, mirrored my experience with Rich Coleman in that meeting. Throughout my life I had never capitulated to bullies or intimidation and I was not going to start with Coleman. He did not get his way as he thought he would.

Getting back into politics after many years was not my plan when we bought our farm, our horses and moved here from North Delta in 1996. We lived there for close to 30 years. Why did I get back into politics? As a taxpayer and citizen of the Township of Langley I followed what was happening through friends, neighbors, and the local media. To say I was shocked on a wide variety of issues including property deals for friends and insiders would be an understatement. All of that coupled with a year and a half campaign connecting with residents in all parts of the Township, very quietly I might add, made up my mind to go for it. An uphill battle yes, for me a relatively unknown at the time, but I had years of experience running major campaigns as well as being previously elected municipally and a candidate provincially.

So fast forward – You work hard, meet lots of great people, and we are focused on winning, Election-day comes around and you win! A shock and surprise to many – As the old saying goes “Be careful what you ask for,” I could, and I should write a book! The following is just a short snapshot of my experiences, leading up to, during, and after winning the 2008 election. As I see it now, nothing has changed; the chains and controls of insiders are still in place, and it will not change until you, the voter, decide you are not going to take it any longer!

The Athenry Development on 208th: The Athenry Development on 208th on the Willoughby Community Hall corner was brought forward to the new council. The previous council had given this project 1st and 2nd reading, public hearing and 3rd reading. As it dealt with approvals given to it by a previous council it is required that the new council be provided with all of the information and material to-date. I wanted to ensure we had all of the information, so I requested the layout of the proposal that was given 3rd reading. That reading was for a large mixed-use building in the center of the property while the NEW layout showed multiple buildings very-close to homes – about 15 feet from their back fences and 4 stories in height (over 40 feet) hovering over single family homes surrounding that property. This was an obvious breach of regulations surrounding what changes can be made at 4th reading. Those regulations state that the only changes that can be made at 4th reading are form, character, and design, NOT an increase in density! It was a highly contentious and controversial project which I strongly objected to, spoke, and voted against. However, despite the protestations of hundreds of local residents, the majority of Council approved the project. There were lawsuits and/or threatened lawsuits, however I know first-hand there were family break ups and loss of home values of up to $100,000. It was a travesty. Once again, the owner of that property had inside connections. It is Interesting, that this development property was-flipped since, and to-date only has one building built on the site. Favors for friends and insiders – Density was added!

The Dixon Pit property sale: Prior to the 2008 election the Township sold the Dixon Pit property – 40 acres of bog plus 40 acres of non-ALR developable property in North Langley. Advertised in the Aldergrove Star (not in a paper distributed around the property in question per legal requirements) with legal address only and sold to a prominent Township of Langley family for pennies on the dollar, compared to the market value. The purchaser donated the 40 acres of bog property to Metro Vancouver and received a tax benefit. This is the sale that Rich Coleman was OK with! Favors for Friends and Insiders, Rich Coleman said WE are OK with this? Who is WE Rich – Developers? Power Brokers? Establishment? Who, is WE?

The Parklane Fort Langley Condo Wall: Fort Langley’s Park Lane Condo Wall project on the waterfront. In the 2008 election year, mid-year, the Township Council when giving 4th reading to the by-law for a 3 story Condominium Development, approved a 4-story development. At 4th reading you are only permitted to make changes in form, character, and design – NOT density which they ignored. Are we trying to suggest a 4th story would not add density? NOT! Favors for developers who benefit!

Landfill on Agricultural Land: A significant issue was an apparent breach of ALR regulations allowing a free reign for dumping fill on agricultural land. After a significant period of time fighting this issue, a diligent land-owner brought to my attention that there was a memo sent to the ALC from our CAO that Council had agreed by resolution to send all applications through to the ALC for their consideration and/or approval. After doing my due diligence internally I discovered a copy of the memo and, that, no such resolution had been passed by Council. In my view that is a deliberate act to mislead a provincial crown agency which is responsible to enforce provincial regulations. Was this a favor for developers? Less costly to dump fill from developments in local area?

The Langley Events Center development: I said then and since, that there should be a Forensic Audit on the Langley Events Center. There was NO Business Plan, NO Taxpayer Referendum, NO Public Consultation and NO P3 agreement that was promised by all parties!

This is not an issue of it being a good or bad project, but it is a serious issue once again pertaining to improper process in favour of friends and insiders. I have written extensively on this subject as it was the first issue I faced after the election.

When I was elected the LEC was about 75% complete and I wanted to be brought up to speed as to cost, process and what issues were at hand. In my first in-camera meeting agenda there was about a 15-page staff report requesting something like an additional $7.5 Million with 10 significant recommendations that required further thought and more information. Getting to that report on the agenda, a motion was put forward to approve the request at which time I requested a one-week deferral as there was a new Mayor, a new councillor and one councillor was away. Barely getting that request out of my mouth Councillor Bateman called for the question on the motion and it was approved with myself being the only dissenting vote. That kind of irresponsible action by members of Council was consistent through my term.

An important point to remember, the $15 Million Provincial Grant was secured based on B.C. Wood being a vital part of construction and that it was a P3 agreement! This fact was heavily promoted and marketed by both the Provincial Government (your MLA Rich Coleman) and the Municipal Government per Press Release of December 18th 2006, January 8th 2007, and November 19th 2007 – There was NO P3 Agreement! The taxpayer was on the hook going forward.

In short you have Mark Bakken’s (Township CAO and friend of Rich Coleman) sons playing hockey on the Langley Chiefs playing out of the George Preston Arena, the team that just happened to be owned by Maury Keith who just happens to be close friends with Rich Coleman who appointed him to numerous terms on the B.C. Lottery Corp Board, who with Rich Coleman and his $15 million B.C. Government Grant supported by Mark Bakken CAO of the TOL gets approval from Council to build the LEC at a cost of $45 Million, who solicit RFQs and RFPs and bingo – we award the contract to Maury Keith and his partner Jim Bond in the Langley Development Group (LDG created for this project) – OH and the contract is awarded to Vantana Construction owned by Jim Bond. You cannot write this stuff! On completion the Maury Keith owned Langley Chiefs are moved to the LEC.

The total cost of the project was $66.2 Million plus an estimated $10 Million in land acquisition / development costs.

Coleman claims an independent assessed value of $100 Million. Speaking to experts in the field this is totally incorrect on buildings of this nature.

Does a needless not contractually required settlement / payment of $8.83 Million to friends and insiders to sever our relationship with LDG not say it all? Where did that money go, just asking?  

NOTE: I have written in detail and extensively about this issue. You can check those posts out – 1) March 3rd, 2013 and 2) September 24th, 2014 BLOG Posts.

Mufford Crescent Diversion: The Mufford Crescent Diversion plan was initiated by the then B.C. Liberal Government under the guise of the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor project led by TransLink, an overpass over the rail line and Glover Rd. through the historical Hudsons Bay and Bella Vista Farms making over 300 acres of prime agricultural land impossible to farm which ultimately would have been removed from the ALR. It was designed and approved without Public Consultation, supported by B.C. Liberal MLA Rich Coleman. After the 2008 election Mayor Rick Green held two Open Houses and a Public Meeting that saw over 1,000 people involved with 97% in opposition. This was the measure of public interest and public opposition. Mayor Green received abusive opposition from his Council plus verbal (in-person) and written threats from then Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon if we didn’t want the money, he would move it elsewhere and Falcon was told to go ahead. While taking two years, we were successful and the ALC, thanks to Chair Richard Bullock, denied the application and returned the proposal to the funding partners, despite the threats, for a better option. Richard Bullock was removed as Chair of the ALC shortly after by the then B.C. Liberal Government. Coleman primarily responsible for fighting against the wishes of Township residents!  You can read about the detail here –

NOTE: Full details can be found in langleywatchdog BLOG Post February 22nd 2013

Trinity University Financial entanglement with the Township of Langley: The Township of Langley has had a close financial relationship with TWU for many years. To the best of my knowledge the current status of this financial relationship has not been made public. It involves the financing of major utility infrastructure years ago, plus their publicized partnership in the Langley Events Center (LEC), back in 2008 / 09, the status of their lease payments to-date for use of the LEC and The Province newspaper (by the late Kent Spencer) expose of the The Township of Langley pays Trinity Western University 80% ($1.2 million) OVER assessed value! The three independent appraisals TELL the rest of the story…….

NOTE: Full details can be found in langleywatchdog BLOG Post January 14th, 2014.

As to Rich Coleman’s habit of trying to bully or intimidate Municipal Councils, we have the Surrey Casino issue: The South Surrey Prospective Casino supported by Rich Coleman and the B.C. Liberal Government – Rich Coleman tries to intervene and coerce a Council decision: Days before Surrey Council’s vote on this controversial project, the minister responsible for gambling. Rich Coleman, called some city councillors with a warning, if they voted no to this proposal, they could forget about any new casino anywhere in Surrey. More attempted bullying and intimidation by Rich Coleman. Councillor Bruce Hayne, who voted against the proposed $100-million casino resort in South Surrey, said Minister Rich Coleman’s call was unusual but clear: “He let me know in no uncertain terms that if we turned down the proposal, the province and (the B.C. Lottery Corp.) would not be looking at another site in Surrey.”

Money Laundering Final Report from Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering: Rich Coleman likes to suggest he was cleared? Really? When discussing Coleman specifically, Cullen wrote in his report that at one point, the former minister “should have recognized that there was a need to take aggressive action to bring an immediate end to the suspicious activity, that was clearly spiraling out of control.” Coleman was largely responsible for the Money Maundering scandal by disbanding IGET in the face of hundreds of millions of dollars flooding B.C. casinos.! The report also took aim at a radio interview in which Coleman downplayed comments by an RCMP officer who raised concerns about dirty money in casinos. It found Coleman’s comments “posed a real risk of misleading the public into believing there was no basis for concern about suspicious transactions in the provinces casinos at a time when Mr. Coleman had good reason to believe that there was cause to be worried.”

This kind of back-room politics speaks to what Rich Coleman is all about: The following is an excerpt of a thread of emails that were extensively distributed to hundreds of Real Estate professionals and many others in the Township of Langley. It was started by Joel Schacter, a well-known Real Estate Agent friend of Rich Coleman and Mark Bakken with respect to the 2011 Township of Langley Municipal Election Campaign. It was distributed widely during the week prior to election-day. It speaks for itself. A key excerpt from this thread states the following:

I do have a concern if we split the vote between Jack Froese and Mel as this could easily put Rick Green back in the mayor’s seat. Jack is a good man, but I was hoping he would have run for a council seat before jumping right for the chair of the mayor. Unfortunately, it appears a vote for Jack looks like it will end up being a vote for Green in the long run. I have had discussions with some of the senior management at the hall as well as our MLA Rich Coleman and 2 former mayors…. they are all suggesting Mel has the best chance of taking Green out. Rich will be making an unprecedented press release endorsing Mel as well as several current members of council and 2 new prospective members in the next 24 – 48 hours. He believes strongly in getting the right people locally who can work with them provincially.”

NOTE: The full thread of these emails can be found in the langleywatchdog BLOG Post of March 23rd, 2013,

All of this is the tip of the iceberg – I established this langleywatchdog BLOG back in January of 2013 primarily to make residents aware of key issues that they should know about within the Township of Langley. We have published approximately 150 Posts having over 150,000 readers since its inception.

I wish the average hard-working resident of the Township of Langley could have experienced what I did over three years in office, it was an eye opener and in my case those experiences have stayed with me.

In my experience, those that get involved in politics do so because they care about their community and want to contribute to make their community better. Unfortunately, some individuals; very few, get involved in politics by working their way up within community non-profits and service clubs, gaining community profile in their quest to achieve political power.

At no time in elected political office in Delta or here in Langley have I ever viewed my position as that of a position of power. I honestly ran and fought to make a difference in both of these communities, and I look back objectively and believe I have.

In my past 45 years of political activity, I have made many friends, many in the municipal field in the lower mainland. I have known first-hand (up-close and personal) another provincial politician that attempted to use their bully pulpit in their local community, but he never got his way and rightfully so. All of that was true, until we moved out to the Township of Langley. This, as it turned out was an entirely different world relating to power and influence by senior government representatives, their developer friends and insiders on their municipal councils. It is long past time that we stand up and say NO MORE! We can do it!

So Last BUT NOT LEAST we just see Rich Coleman’s Financial Disclosure which says his holdings are in a BLIND TRUST! Really, you have to be kidding – the arrogance of the man knows NO bounds! – You can’t write this stuff!

RG

More interesting 2022 Municipal Election News coming soon!

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

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Comments
  1. Neil Ziola says:

    Mr. Green, You keep getting it wrong. Yes developers pay the CAC charges but they are than paid back by the home purchasers, marked up, as a cost to do business, with GST and PPT added! Also explain to me why should our kids and grandkids pay for subsidized housing with their CAC contributions?

    • No Neil, you keep getting it wrong, that is what you developers continue to sell the public. Developers will sell at market evaluation, not more, not less. Put it another way, you will pay it out of your unreasonable profit, your selling price will continue at whatever the market will bare. If the market is down so be it.

      • surelokshawca says:

        Your answer is not correct. Market value is set by the cost to do the development plus overhead plus a profit. (the last evaluation I saw the average builder in Canada makes a 5% profit. If you say that is unreasonable for the risk they take, what should their profit be? Could you answer the last question please, should our kids and grandkids pay for subsidized housing when they purchase a new home?

      • NO NO NO, you are incorrect. Developers are like all other free enterprisers, you are entitled to make a profit but you are also entitled to go broke if you make bad judgements. Here is a comparison – I owned a large food store, in the day our revenue was $7 Million per year, I had three unions. I had to compete with non-union stores and stores across the border who had a serious competitive advantage. Nobody guaranteed that I would make a profit, or survive for that matter, welcome to the real world. As a developer, you obtain rights to property, consolidate properties all at what you believe at the time is a competitive price. Interest rates change, government regulations change, cost of property changes and you are in a spot of having to compete. Because you bought property at a rate that seemed OK at the time but values declined since, sorry to put it this way but those are the breaks. Nobody guarantees that you will make a profit, at the same time nobody is saying you can only make x% – That is the cut and thrust of free enterprise, if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen. OH by the way, I am a life long free enterprise supporter, I enjoyed taking the risk.

      • surelokshawca says:

        I agree and that is exactly what I am saying. In your business you purchased products, added overhead and profit and set a sales price. Exactly the same as the developer/builder. So do you not think the developer will add overhead and profit to the fees and levies charged by the township? Plus add on GST and PPT? Do you think there might be a better way to collect the fees so that taxes are not paid upon taxes? The real question I would like you to answer is should young buyers today be charged a fee to subsidize construction of homes for people that supposedly cannot afford a home. If you agree do you think we could come up with a way to collect those fees to avoid mark up and taxes on taxes?

      • No, you are misreading what I am saying – in business you either increase gross margin and/or reduce costs. In the food retailing game, not dissimilar to a developer, not every developers costs are the same, some buy at a better price, some don’t. Some have a better labor contract some don’t, some buy building supplies at a better price some don’t – that is the challenge in free enterprise. For a retailer, what I could sell something for was based a lot on my competition, discounter or other. If I wasn’t competitive in the market, simply I would go broke and close down. There was nobody behind me to ensure my gross was 25% so I could survive, welcome to free enterprise. In the same fashion your margins in your development can’t be protected. So if you take today, a property or a dwelling has dropped markedly and your margins are going to take a hit. Development, regardless of your arguments, and I think I have heard them all, doesn’t pay for itself. DCCs are legislatively controlled in terms of what they can pay for, that is Provincial. So what will pay for an increased number of Fire Hall, Firemen, Fire Equipment? What is going to pay for additional police, community centers, ice rinks, pools on and on and on? Property Tax cannot possibly pay for all of the additional need. More population requires more staff, more Municipal infrastructure and so on. I must emphasize I am no apologist for Municipal misspending and poor productivity. That responsibility must come from your elected council. Don’t know if I made my point but there it is.

      • surelokshawca says:

        Mr. Green we are saying exactly the same thing. I agree with growth we need to fund the items mentioned. But will you agree that say the fee per unit is $100,000 dollars, collected up front, just prior to obtaining a permit. The developer puts that in his Performa, marks it up accordingly as a cost of doing business. He sells the finished product and GST and PPT is added on. Our township had 82 million dollars in their DDC account last October so they are in no rush to spend the money. So if we changed the provincial law so that the fees were collected as a disbursement on closing, the developer would not mark up this cost and it would not attract GST and PPT. As you say the development business is very completive so in very short order the sales price of new dwellings would fall by about $115,000 in my example. The downfall is that the buyers are now aware of the fees they are paying and might like to see where the money is being spent. There are many ways to reduce the high cost of market housing but there is no political will to make that happen. But alas you have still not answered my original question, should new home buyers be charged a fee to subsidize so called affordable housing for others?

        Oh by the way if the government of the day added a fee to the items you sold, say to help with the climate change debacle would you not add that cost to your product or would you donate that cost from your profits?

      • Well I thought I answered your question but I will take another run at it. I cannot count the number of times that we were the beneficiaries of additional costs brought about by Provincial Legislation. And YES we had to absorb those costs. (It ate out of our profit margin) Off the top there were costs mandated by WCB, the Health department, recycling changes in addition to general price increases of products we sold where for competitive pricing reasons we could not increase that price. A person in business can wine about it or become smarter in their operation, that is the cut and thrust of free enterprise. There are no guarantees in this world especially as to whether you are successful or go broke. It is your right to do either – being successful is more fun which we were. If you want to talk about margins – when I was in the business a food retailer’s net at the end of the year – if you were a real good operator was 1 1/2% – 2% – How would you like to work for that?

  2. Adam says:

    Time for boomers who have boomer ways of doing things (like Rich Coleman) to embrace retirement. Buh-bye Rich. Someone tell Rich that we all feel sorry for him, that he can’t move on, has no hobbies apart from horribly corrupt political strategies. Rich, we don’t do that anymore. Move on Rich.

    • Adam says:

      to be clear, boomers who care about young families, who embrace change, and a commitment to the environment are always welcome

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