Elections have Consequences…. Say NO to the Status Quo and YES to the CHANGE that WE NEED!

Posted: September 26, 2022 in Uncategorized

As residents of the Township of Langley, all of us have felt the pressure of growth – over the last decade we have seen an increase of close to 40,000 residents! Our current Municipal Council, the incumbents, running for re-election and those running on the Elevate Langley slate are only interested in maintaining the status-quo; that is continued favors to friends, insiders, developers while continuing inaction on the infrastructure crisis we are all facing.

I will go back to my BLOG Post of September 20th, 2022 – the choice is not independent vs slate. When you hear candidates sing the praises of being an independent, it is frankly something that has garnered a very misleading value in the public’s mind. If you believe that the Township of Langley has had a council made up of independents over the past two decades, and most residents as well as members of Council say they are independent; then weighing that claim of independence against your council accomplishing anything of value to residents, it proves to be a misnomer (a wrong or inaccurate name or designation). We are in a critical infrastructure crisis; how is it working for us so far; IT ISN’T! This Council has proven the fact as independents they have been incapable of accomplishing the job you hired them to do.

I know and appreciate the Township’s terrible history of slate politics, but that was two decades back. Since that time, the so-called independent voice on Council has achieved nothing.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results”

Our population two decades ago was about 105,000, today we have approximately 150,000 residents; growing exponentially faster than originally planned, with no meaningful infrastructure improvement investments being made in the last twenty years – Fire Halls / equipment, Fire Department staffing, Parks, Ice Sheets, All Weather Soccer Fields, Community Centers, Pools, Senior Centers, Roads, Sidewalks, green ways, bike paths and so much more.

Not ALL independents and/or slates are created equal: To accomplish the task of getting Council’s approval for the necessary infrastructure investment going forward you need 5 votes! I have experienced first-hand as Mayor the problems with being one of nine so-called independent voices on Council trying to obtain that support. For reasons that are nothing more than politically motivated, either internally within council or influenced by outside power brokers; getting the majority focused on what is in the best interest of the Township of Langley and you the voter was impossible. Petty council disagreements and attempted deal making as well as more serious partisan politics gets involved frequently which has an extremely negative affect on getting meaningful things done! It is wrong but that is the way it is, in reality.

The best way to explain what I am talking about is using a few examples on issues that I faced as your Mayor – Remember I was elected Mayor, a surprise in the eyes and minds of the incumbents that were reelected back in November of 2008. I have written extensively about the following issues, but for this purpose I will give you a short list with an abbreviated explanation, as follows:

Langley Events Center (LEC): When I was elected Mayor, the LEC was about 75% complete. In my first in-camera meeting, staff were asking for an additional $7.5 Million. Getting to that report, I requested a one-week deferral to better understand the issue as we had a new Mayor, a new councilor and one councilor was away. Barely getting that request out of my mouth Councillor Bateman called for the question on the motion to approve the report and request, it was approved with myself being the only dissenting vote. That irresponsible action by members of Council was consistent throughout my term, it was all political. My request was reasonable, responsible, not confrontational yet council were determined to send me a message – forget what was in the best interest of the Township and you the taxpayer. I have written extensively about this project. Due to the problems and issues, I uncovered, I brought in a legal firm from downtown Vancouver as well as BDO Dunwoody to review this project in detail. Both firms agreed with me, they asked how did you got yourselves into this predicament? I have said many times that this project was ripe for a Forensic Audit! Great project, irresponsibly created, developed, and managed. NO support from Independent Council members at great cost to you the taxpayer!

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 connecting with the 216th and the 64 Ave. intersection, making over 300 acres of prime agricultural land impossible to farm which would ultimately have lead it to being removed from the ALR. It was designed and approved without Public Consultation, supported by then B.C. Liberal MLA Rich Coleman. After the 2008 election Mayor Rick Green had the TOL hold two Open Houses and a Public Meeting that saw over 1,000 people attending. There was also a public meeting at the LEC and an agricultural community meeting at the casino, both hosted by the Agricultural Land Commission. Combined the proposed project had 97% community opposition. Mayor Green received abusive opposition by six so-called independent members of Council, despite such wide-spread community support. While taking two years, we were successful in having it rejected by the ALC and referred it back to the funding partners for a better option – thanks to Chair Richard Bullock, despite all of the threats. Richard Bullock was removed as Chair of the ALC shortly after by the then B.C. Liberal Government. NO support from Independent Council members who supported the original proposal despite such wide spread public opposition; we won despite the opposition on Council, again thanks to Richard Bullock and the ALC!

Community Amenity Contributions: In the 2008 election, two of many items I had on my campaign platform were 1) Creating a public information profile on all Township of Langley owned properties previously unavailable (which we accomplished) and 2) Establishing a Community Amenity Contribution (CAC) program. After winning the election in 2009 I brought in Mr. Bruce Maitland (Retired Director of Real Estate Services for the City of Vancouver) to brief our Council on the background, benefits, and potential implementation of a CAC program. Vancouver were the leaders in Metro Vancouver of this initiative. The decision of our so-called independents on Council – NO that is fine for Vancouver, but we do not do that in the Township of Langley. The TOL introduced a very watered-down version of CACs a couple of years ago, but they are only at 25% of what Surrey is charging? Why? Thanks to the vote of Independents, it has cost taxpayers multi 100s of millions of dollars since 2009! NO support from Independent Council members!

Athenry Development on 208th & 80th: 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, held a public hearing and gave it 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 so-called independents on Council approved the project. There were lawsuits and/or threatened lawsuits, however I know first-hand there were family break ups and serious 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. NO support from Independent Council members!

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 landowner brought to my attention that there was a memo sent to the ALC from our CAO advising 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. (A requirement under provincial legislation) In my view that is a deliberate act to mislead a provincial crown agency which is responsible to enforce provincial regulations. NO support from Independent Council members to deal with this issue appropriately.

Summary: I am sure everyone will agree, the examples that I outlined above were not controversial, and they were in the best interest of the public and the taxpayer. So why were they not supported? Internal politics and outside pressure from power brokers that did not want any change on Council, pure and simple.

While it might appear that I am fighting for a slate, that is not necessarily the case, however what I am doing is giving you examples of what happens when you do not have the votes (you need 5) in support of initiatives (infrastructure projects we need). So, let us put it another way, let us say you elect a mayor and eight councilors who each have their own priorities which is normally the case; why else would you run for Council if you didn’t have a platform of ideas you want to achieve on council? It then becomes an internal fight/discussion/debate on Council culminating in let us make a deal? What happens now? You have nine members of Council trying to negotiate with each other for votes of support. You end up with fractious relationships and factions on Council which cease to be constructive to a Council of the whole.

That unfortunately is just how it works out of sight of the public who elected them. Those that are incumbents or are running solely on the theme of being independent, will deny this reality; for those incumbents they are not telling you the truth, and for those having never served on Council don’t know what they are talking about. They mean well, but just don’t know the reality.


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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