Sometimes all it takes is an All-Candidates Meeting to flush them out…. Rich Coleman and Blair Whitmarsh show what they really stand for, their words not mine!

Posted: September 30, 2022 in Uncategorized

Up to now the silence has been deafening from Rich Coleman and Blair Whitmarsh, two candidates for Mayor of the Township of Langley with respect to their position on the development in the Township of Langley. The comments I speak of are those they made in response to the specific question of “how they thought the Township was managing its rapid growth and development” at an ALL-Candidates meeting. The following will dissect and respond to the comments attributed to them in the recent issue of the Langley Advance Times filed by reporter Mathew Claxton.

Sometimes you just have to give candidates enough rope as they say, so on Monday night at the LEC they let the public know exactly how they feel and what they stand for. This past Monday night at the Langley Events Center, the Langley Chamber of Commerce held their ALL Candidates meeting for the October 15th 2022 Municipal Election. Mayoral candidates Rich Coleman and Blair Whitmarsh offered some very illuminating answers, those that the public should be aware of. You can’t make this stuff up!

Unfortunately, this is how the Township of Langley has become the wild wild west and a laughingstock on lower mainland property development. Something just has to change, and this election is our best opportunity to get it right. It is no secret at this point that I am in opposition to both Rich Coleman and Blair Whitmarsh for Mayor, for exceptionally good reasons which I have detailed in a few previous BLOG Posts.

But let us get to the public comments made by each of these candidates:

Rich Coleman (RC): In what can only be described as astounding statements, he said the following, they are followed by my response –

RC – “I don’t think everything’s bad here, I really don’t,” said Coleman

Response – Rich, you cannot be serious? Do yourself a favor and get out and talk to residents!

RC – He also issued a warning about putting infrastructure first before development!

Response – Rich, excuse me, BEFORE DEVELOPMENT; who do you think you are kidding? Willoughby has upwards of 40,000 residents now, an increase of about 35,000 in the last decade (10 years Rich). This will grow to about 70,000 in the next decade per the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) that your Liberal Government insisted on through Metro Vancouver. The development was here about 5 years ago, what are you thinking?

RC – “I remember the 1970s, when the Township of Langley went ahead and put in all the services, sidewalks, and curbs in Walnut Grove, and nobody came to build. And our community “almost went broke.”

Response – Drawing any comparison of Willoughby to Walnut Grove is like comparing apples to turnips. First, that was in 1970 Rich, we are in 2022, just saying. In the 70s, development legislation was nowhere near what it is today. Development Cost Charges were nowhere near what they are today, Community Amenity Contributions were not in existence in the 70s. Rich, Walnut Grove today has a population of about 25,000 (what was it when it first built out?), almost half of what Willoughby has today. By the way Rich, in case you had not noticed, they have come to build.

RC – “There are some things you can always do better, particularly on the road infrastructure.”

Response – Really Rich, only road infrastructure? What about active all-weather parks, ice sheets, a pool, a community center, a seniors center, sidewalks, greenways and so much more! For a population of about 70,000 people in 10 more years! So how would you like to pay for that road infrastructure Rich? – Increasing DCCs to your developer friends? What about all of the other infrastructure that I list? Bring our CACs up to a competitive level with adjoining municipalities / Cities? OR is your idea to pay for them through increased property taxes? It sounds like it is, because the money has to come from somewhere and you are not in favor of development paying for itself.

General Comment on Rich ColemanFirst of all you may notice that Rich Coleman’s Campaign, both for him and his slate does not address the significant issue of needed infrastructure, what we need and how to pay for it. He has also never addressed the funding issue for road improvement nor timing on getting it done. He does not comment about adjusting Development Cost Charges annually (developer expense) or implementing a competitive Community Amenity Contribution Program (developer expense) to pay for any infrastructure that is needed within our community. Therefore, one can only conclude that Rich Coleman does not believe that development (his friends) should pay for itself and that the taxpayers obviously should have to pay for everything through property taxes.

Blair Whitmarsh (BW): – In a couple of statements, he showed his determination that the status-quo is just fine!

BWWhitmarsh acknowledged the challenges of growth saying, “the Council has tried to make good decisions.”

Response – Blair, the taxpaying public did not vote for you to TRY to make good decisions, they elected you to MAKE good decisions. There is ample community and staff support, and input provided to Mayor and Council to understand the need for supporting infrastructure along with the implications of not doing so. Taxpayers of the Township of Langley can no longer afford to gamble on you any further, not only based on your performance to-date, but your determination not to make development pay for itself. Existing taxpayers cannot afford to pay for this infrastructure through their property tax annually.

BW – “But I don’t think we’ve been able to keep up with the pace of development,” he said.

Response – Blair, you were part of the Council for two terms (8 years) that approved all of this development and you have done so with absolutely NO consideration and/or thought for the infrastructure that our community needs. Those decisions equate to total irresponsibility from you and your majority on Council especially considering the fact our DCCs are not annually reviewed (an expense to developers) and our CAC program (an expense to developers) is pennies on the dollar compared to surrounding Municipalities and Cities. It is no wonder we are in the infrastructure deficit we are in today. You are at fault, your words, not mine.

BW – “The Township is at a place where development doesn’t pay for itself.”

Response – This is not rocket science Blair, it does not pay for itself because you and your majority on Council have not, from the beginning, made it pay for itself. This is a shocking statement for any member of Council to make. It reinforces the argument that we need a change on our Township of Langley Municipal Council!

General Comment on Blair WhitmarshThe debate surrounding who to vote for in the upcoming Municipal Election, is not a personality issue – It is a competency issue. We cannot afford another 4 years of an incompetent, do nothing Council who have allowed this serious infrastructure deficit to occur – Blair’s statements above prove our point. We have seen how close Blair has been to the development community – (SEE BLOG Post of langleywatchdog dated December 4th, 2020) While not found guilty, the evidence was very damming in moral and ethical terms for anyone serving as your representative on our Municipal Council. It was shocking.

SummaryElection campaigns unfortunately are always filled with political speak and vague platitudes which skirt any specifics of what they are talking about. An example of that is in the 2018 election where 5 candidates promised action on 208th Street, but after being elected voted against asking for a staff report to move this much needed initiative forward. Margaret Kuntz is quoted from the ALL Candidates meeting that she does not agree with borrowing to finish 208th. Well obviously, Margaret Kuntz does not understand the principle of borrowing against future DCCs, which is a way you can responsibly move forward in finishing 208th Street.

The above summary of comments made in a significant ALL Candidates meeting are but a brief example of the true thinking and summary of how our community is in the trouble it is. Personal gripes and grievances find their way into political discourse with their true intentions and rationale buried from the public eye.

It is long past time that the electorate become active in this election – elections are not a spectator sport, they are a participation sport. That only means that all of us at a minimum responsibility should be educating ourselves about the political history of those running. Who they are, what they stand for and what they will do if elected, recognizing our council needs 5 votes on Council to accomplish anything. Let us move forward with a CHANGE on Council.


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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