Blair Whitmarsh makes a public comment knowing it to be false; a serious potential for a conflict of interest, and his eye-opening and very questionable voting record….

Posted: September 12, 2022 in Uncategorized

What are we talking about? Well first is the issue with the discussion and the debate on Council regarding a reactivated Interurban Hydrail Passenger Rail Service, second is the financial entanglement between the Township of Langley and Trinity University and then there is his eye-opening voting record – which leads us to the question….

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time!”

RE the reactivation of the Interurban Corridor with state-of-the-art Passenger Rail Service: There was a requested motion earlier this year by staff that was brought before the Township of Langley Council which identified the need to request the UBCM to urge the B.C. Government to provide an improved Transit Service South of the Fraser; the solution – Interregional Transit. An amendment was added (I am paraphrasing here) supported by the majority of Council to add “including a study of a reactivated Interurban Corridor”. During that debate Councillor Blair Whitmarsh stated he didn’t know anything about it? – There lies the issue of Blair Whitmarsh’s qualifications to sit on Council let alone in the position of Mayor! It was interesting to hear Councillor Davis’s comment to Councillor Whitmarsh at the time, that he would explain it to him!

Fact: Blair Whitmarsh attended a hour and a half public presentation followed up by a Question Period at a Brookswood Church regarding the reactivated Interurban Corridor with state-of-the-art Hydrail passenger rail between the Pattullo Bridge and Chilliwack. This occurred a number of months before Blair Whitmarsh claimed he didn’t know anything about it. There were about 50 residents in attendance including Councillors Kim Richter and Margaret Kuntz. So why the lapse of memory, it doesn’t speak well for someone who claims they want to help residents of the Township. He, along with all members of Council received the results of a Mario Canseco ResearchCo Poll showing 88% of residents between North Delta and Chilliwack support this initiative, and he had not heard of it?

RE the Financial entanglement between Trinity Western University (TWU) and the Township of Langley: For those that don’t know, Blair Whitmarsh is the Dean of the School of Human Kinetics and Athletics, a high-profile professional position with TWU. The Township of Langley has had a very close entangled financial relationship with TWU for many years. The general public are not aware of the current status of this financial relationship. It involves the financing of major utility infrastructure a number of years ago, their publicized partnership in the Langley Events Center (LEC), back in 2008 / 09, the status of their lease payments to-date as well as the current financial arrangement and status for the TWU use of the LEC, in addition to the TOL land purchase and assessment issue that follows..

A Province newspaper investigation by the late Kent Spencer exposed The Township of Langley paying Trinity Western University 80% ($1.2 million) OVER assessed value for previously donated land suspected of a method to pay off debt they owed TOL? Did that happen, the three independent appraisals TELL the rest of the story…….

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

All of these issues have serious potential for a conflict of interest or at the very least a perceived conflict of interest by anyone closely connected to TWU sitting in an elected position with the TOL. The Township of Langley has operated for too many years in secrecy amidst untoward influence by friends and insiders (private and corporate). The details of these financial entanglements with Trinity Western University is but just one other hidden issue that must be exposed to the taxpaying public. This is NOT any kind of an attack on a private, universally applauded, post-secondary institution, but it must be dealt with in a transparent process, its is costing taxpayer dollars.

RE The Supreme Court Action brought by 10 citizens of the Township of Langley against a few members of Council including Blair Whitmarsh: In the www.langleywatchdog BLOG Posts of November and December of 2020 we laid out in complete detail the Supreme Court Action by 10 residents of the Township of Langley against Mayor Jack Froese, and Councillors Bob Long, Blair Whitmarsh and former Councillor Angie Quaale filing a complaint of a Conflict of Interest. (For the record Angie Quaale, Jack Froese and Bob Long are not running in the TOL this year.) The petitioners lost their action in a legal ruling BUT taxpayers must be concerned about the moral and ethical principles surrounding members of council’s actions. Specifically, the complaint was laid out in detail and proof was provided that these members of Council accepted donations from developers just BEFORE, DURING and JUST AFTER VOTES that were taken at the Council table surrounding specific development proposals. The petitioners charge of Conflict of Interest was in keeping with lawyer Don Lidstone’s opinion frequently referred to (all members of council received this opinion as requested in 2016), outlining how a direct or indirect pecuniary Conflict of Interest can exist. Shockingly the Respondents in their submission, came out of the gate making an accusation that the named members of Council are being accused of Bribery?

Conflict of Interest IS NOT BRIBERY, the respondents strategy was to simply change the narrative! Put another way it was just a misdirection play!

So, it is important that residents understand the detail of the facts on why petitioners brought this case forward. I must add, this came at a significant personal financial cost to the local residents / Petitioners with absolutely NO benefit to them other than, hopefully our municipality will be run in a very transparent way. Speaking personally from my experience as Mayor of the Township of Langley, that would be a refreshing change. It is interesting that Blair Whitmarsh is the only one of the four running this year?

RE The voting record of Blair Whitmarsh: Blair Whitmarsh suggests he is an independent, however based on his voting record, nothing could be further from the truth. He has voted in lock step with the pro-backroom developer Jack Froese independent (they claim) slate on Council who for the record were all supported by Rich Coleman. It is that de facto (independent?) slate I talked about in an earlier post. This de facto (independent?) slates record on getting things done is ZERO other than in favor of developers, they have accomplished absolutely nothing while residents of the Township have had to deal with an exploding population with no infrastructure improvements to keep pace with that population growth – we are falling way behind. A few specifics:

  • Blair Whitmarsh voted against a staff report to fix 208th Street after campaigning for it in 2018.
  • Blair Whitmarsh voted for the strip mall in Yorkson without any improvements that were presented to work with the developer to make it a multi-story mixed use development. An improvement to the old-outdated strip-mall concept.
  • Blair Whitmarsh Voted against the Rainbow Crosswalk in Fort Langley. The Rainbow Crosswalk was requested by the RCMP and SD35 for two years before Councillor Woodward got it onto the Council Agenda.
  • Blair Whitmarsh voted to remove the Fort Langley pool in a closed meeting and then voted to remove it and replace it with a splash park after public consultation determined it was the least popular option.
  • Blair Whitmarsh voted against a firehall feasibility study for Brookswood and is now promising to fully staff it.
  • Blair Whitmarsh voted against revisiting the Williams Neighbourhood Plan.
  • Blair Whitmarsh voted for the Aldergrove parking lot.
  • Blair Whitmarsh voted against a better deal for taxpayers on the Gloucester Industrial rezoning “Gloucester Giveaway”. Conversion of Farmland to Industrial with absolutely no value to the Township of Langley in return! An attempt was made by Councillor Woodward for 20% to a Climate Change Action Fund or a contribution to a fire hall in Gloucester – both voted down!
  • Blair Whitmarsh voted In favour of inside deals for developer friends, I.E. Fort Langley Waterfront!
  • Blair Whitmarsh voted against cannabis in Walnut Grove and then voted for it when the application came back from one of his supporters.

In short, we need real change for a multitude of reasons. We have to break loose from the chains of local power brokers that have controlled our Council for too many years, let’s get it right!

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. John says:

    thank you for talking about TWU & Blair. like our heads spin with the conflicts of interest in this place. can’t keep up. legit question: why is Blair doing this as a Christian? what is motivating him to violate his faith? are these people getting kickbacks?

    • The conflicts of interest and favors to friends and insiders in the Township of Langley are unquestionably over the top and in my opinion easily the worst in the lower mainland up to Hope at the very least. It is the wild, wild west. Remember Blair ran on the Coleman supported (independent) ad-hoc slate for the last 8 years which doesn’t speak well for Blair and his connections. He fell into line to garner the support.

      • John says:

        It’s sad, for those of us who grew up here and remember the place more or less being founded by granola hippies, who loved trees and good schools. I can’t stand the place now, yet am trapped taking care of elders. It’s like you’re even punished for being a product of the school system here which drilled into your head good citizenship, involvement, critical thinking, and valuing trees.

      • I understand your feeling in many ways. I was born in VGH, raised in Vancouver lived in Delta for 30 years and now in the Township of Langley for about 25 years. It is tough to see much of the change however that is the reality of life. B.C. is the destination of choice (net immigration last year 100,000 people) from Canada and offshore and that continues to this day. It is tough to be elected in government today having to fend off those that want to take advantage of so many. What is happening and has happened in the Township of Langley is criminal. It will require us to break away from the control of friends and insiders – be transparent and embrace public engagement.

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