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Residents and Taxpayers of the Township of Langley have had a lot to think about over the past FOUR years in terms of what has happened to their community or their municipality as a whole and WHY? The actions of our current Council have given me a lot to personally pause and consider in making my choice for Council FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS! I know personally the trials and tribulations of serving as your Mayor, how getting along with and being respectful with everyone would be wonderful; unfortunately, certainly in my case, that was impossible given their commitment from the outset to get rid of me. You see, contrary to what you hear from the majority of this Council, saying NO to staff, saying NO to developers and those with outside influence in particular is MUCH more difficult than saying YES, I am living proof!

Change? As I said above “Change begins with Choice”, or as the old saying goes, and it continues to be very true “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results”.

So to the question and reasons behind a desire for change, please consider the question, what has this Council accomplished? Where have they disappointed us?

The following list of incidents, failed promises and public comments, in my view, cannot be dismissed as something that was just said in the heat of the campaign or when dealing with the issue at hand. The following are in no particular order, it is strictly random, but most important, all of the following are TRUE!

Promised Indoor Pool for Aldergrove – Received an Outdoor Pool! The ultimate blow and INSULT, after producing a campaign video that in his own words called for an Indoor Pool in Aldergrove – Jack Froese proceeds with building an Outdoor Pool which is the LIE heard around Aldergrove! Supported by ALL members of Council in a non-public meeting, which is illegal!

LEC Expansion of $7.5 Million No public dialogue, No public process, approval behind closed doors and No public announcement, that is the way things are done in the Township. As a matter of fact it took an inquiry from the media to the Mayor two weeks after construction began before it was openly announced.

Redevelopment of Old Mall in Aldergrove – Letter released from Councilor Bob Long indicating Council support for a plan contrary to the adopted Aldergrove Core Community Plan. The adopted Core Community Plan was adopted unanimously by a resident based committee and the Council of the day. This Council supports a plan showing nothing more than a series of strip malls! Aldergrove deserves better!

The sterilization of Council Meetings! This council by resolution will not allow any spontaneous public reaction to votes and/or public presentations by the public. A Council chambers must have decorum BUT it is not a court room, their actions are not inviting for members of our community to attend and participate in any public discussion as a delegation or presenter to Public Hearings. The public deserve better!

This Council supports members of Council bidding on Township business! There can be nothing more obvious than this being a Conflict of Interest! Perceived or legal it doesn’t matter, IT IS A CONFLICT OF INTEREST!

The Township of Langley is THE WORST performing major municipal government in B.C. Released Sept. 11th, 2018 – In the latest 2018 Ten year well researched study by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), the Township of Langley is the worst performing of the 20 major Municipal Governments, 20th out of 20.

The Township of Langley’s performance is 103rd out of all 152 communities, towns, cities and municipalities in B.C. this year, last year we were 96th! Released Sept. 11th, 2018Not only have we rated poorly we are going backward, NOT getting better.

The hidden reality of slate politics in the Township of Langley! In most Cities and Municipalities they are upfront with their reality of running slates. In the Township of Langley we have the reality created over the years by back room power brokers to select who will be running in their version of non-slate slate politics. You have to give them credit, it has worked well, in reality they have been perpetrating a fraud on the public in the Township for years. This was all founded from the highly contentious and ugly McMullen / Scholtens campaign fight of the late 90s early 2000s. For those who aren’t aware you should read up on it. Never-the-less today we have the Froese Slate – Jack Froese, Blair Whitmarsh, Angie Quaale, Margaret Kuntz, Bev Dornan and Michael Pratt.

Community Planning Process is Top Down! We have an endless number of examples of Top Down Planning in the Township. Brookswood / Fernridge, Willoughby, Aldergrove and Fort Langley. During the last two elections our Mayor promised a Community Consultation Process which has never materialized. Their public consultation has not changed and has been a dismal failure! Your community’s OCP and Zoning is NOT safe with this Council, we are all paying the price!

Public statement made by Mayor Jack Froese (Insert his slate here)“I don’t make decisions based on petitions or public hearing turnout, I have to consider all of those who didn’t attend” – Jack Froese to Pete McMartin (Van. Sun) over Coulter Berry decision.

Public statement made by Mayor Jack Froese (Insert his slate here)“Parents need to teach their children how to safely cross the street” in reference to their being no crosswalks on 216th Street – Jack Froese to resident (Langley Times letter to the editor)

Public statement made by Mayor Jack Froese (Insert his slate here)“There would be safety initiatives taking place”, when asked what they would be, Froese said “he didn’t know” – Jack Froese to resident (Langley Times letter to the editor)

Public statement made by Mayor Jack Froese (Insert his slate here)Residents stating that they hoped his attendance at the meeting would address their concerns. “Meeting, what meeting? I thought I was coming to a pancake breakfast.” – Jack Froese to resident re 216th street community gathering. (Langley Times letter to the editor)

Public statement made by Mayor Jack Froese (Insert his slate here)“it is not his job to do what his constituents want but what is best for them” – I guess Jack knows best – NOT! Jack Froese to resident (Langley Times letter to the editor)

So, how are we going to change how our municipal government is managed and run? It all comes down to “Making a Different Choice” in this election. Continuing with the same gang that has put us in this situation will only continue to cause our communities distress in how we are being listened to and dealt with by the powers that be.

Who to vote for? Remember, this vote (Your Vote) is for FOUR years and a lot can happen during a mandate of this length, it is not something to be considered lightly. What does the candidate stand for? What is their experience? If they are currently on Council, what is their voting record? If they are currently on Council, what about their public performance with the general public (not just with their small school of vocal supporters) at public gatherings? As a delegation to Council? As a resident speaking at Public Hearings?

Over the course of the campaign I have had about seven phone calls from candidates asking to meet and discuss their campaign and to get my opinions and views on what is happening in the Township of Langley. My choices below do not reflect my meetings with them. (More have not been selected than have been in the following list.)

A lot goes into “Your Choice which will bring about Change”, which is what we need; your Municipality is counting on you! 

I want to make one thing clear, I am not nor have I been working with or for any candidate running for Council. Having been in the Mayor’s chair I obviously have a strong feeling about how the Township should be run, based on personal experience that was up close and personal. My choices clearly, after you read them, are not ALL based on personal likes which have been more than demonstrated in my BLOG Post writings on many issues.

With all of the above being said, MY CHOICES for a good Council are….

For Mayor:

Anna Remenik:

Anna is informed, active in the community and clearly understands the issues! Anna tells the truth unlike our current Mayor.

 

For Councilor (in order of my choice):

David Davis:

1A – A great guy, 3rd generation (or more?) Township of Langley Dairy Farmer committed to his community. Very strong reputation for following the issues and doing what is right for his community. I know for a fact David is a very strong INDEPENDENT VOICE!

Harold Whittell:

1B – Very informed, very active, understands the issues and has done his homework. Harold brings with him experience and knowledge in running and owning a successful business. I know for a fact Harold to be a very strong INDEPENDENT VOICE!

Kerri Ross:

Kerri ran in the 2014 election and has shown herself to be active, involved and knowledgeable about the issues affecting our community. She would make a great addition to Council. I know for a fact Kerri to be a very strong INDEPENDENT VOICE!

Gail Chaddock Costello:     

I had never met Gail prior to a request to have a coffee with her which provided me the opportunity to question her about her knowledge of issues and intentions for Public Office. She has proven leadership experience in her background. I know for a fact Gail to be a very strong INDEPENDENT VOICE!

Eric Woodward:

Anyone who has been reading my BLOG will probably be shocked at this selection, however I believe Eric would be a good addition. I know some friends (hope they still are friends after this) won’t appreciate this selection. I won’t rehash my past comments but I will say emphatically we need an individual with a strong personality that can and will challenge staff. Our very senior staff have been the problem for a couple of decades, it is getting worse and needs to be challenged. Eric has some interesting ideas which should be explored at the Council table. As one of nine members of Council he is only one vote, but the positive effects outweigh the negatives in my opinion.

Kim Richter:

Well, once again, those who read my BLOG will probably be shocked at this selection. As most are aware she is personally responsible for costing me $25,000 in after tax dollars against Township policy. Having said that she has been the conscience of Council, very frustrating to other members of Council, but a necessary ingredient in the mix none the less. She has to learn to pursue issues beyond the rhetoric at the Council table. I am hoping with the election of the foregoing Kim Richter will find a way to work with the other members of Council, who DO NOT represent a slate as currently is the case.

Petrina Arnason:

Petrina is very well meaning and works hard to represent the taxpayers and voters of the Township of Langley. I believe with a better mix of representation Petrina will have more courage than what we have seen to-date.

Summary:

And that is it! We will only be voting for 7 candidates for Council as listed above and for the reasons I state. Those I have selected above are true independents, not a slate that presently exists. Serving on Council is not an easy job. You are on display and on trial for all to see daily and weekly for the most part. Residents, developers, community activists, the opposition, friends, neighbors and relatives, but that is the job! If you are not up for it don’t run and if you hear anyone on Council whining about their lot in life don’t vote for them.

I can say emphatically that it can also be the most rewarding opportunity you could ever have should you be so lucky to win. I don’t think anyone that I can think of has gone through a rougher term than yours truly has however I wouldn’t change a thing for any money! As I have said numerous times in recent posts I had a decision to make on EVERY issue I faced while Mayor, it is easy to capitulate and go along with all the others, it is far more difficult to stand your ground and say NO, when you know you are right!

 

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to the Province, the Region and the Municipality, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

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

 

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So readers of this BLOG will have read my previous BLOG Post titled Township of Langley “Firefighters were hired to Serve and Protect… NOT TO SERVE AND ELECT!” This issue is a very contentious issue with residents of the Township and frankly most communities in B.C., it is very unfair to taxpayers / voters as well as candidates who have been willing to put their names forward for consideration –

The following response was posted the other night which presumably outlines the position of the IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters) with respect to their involvement in politics at all levels. I am taking their response below and will respond to their position in RED (My response) and you can decide for yourself. Now remember our very strong objection is their selection of which candidates to endorse with no rationale given for their reasons and their public advertising campaign in support of their chosen candidates.

From what we have been able to determine, the choices have been made for a reason still yet to be identified. Just ask yourself the question, for what reason would the firefighters give this kind of support UNLESS there was an agreement to receive something back in kind? There whole process smacks of a hidden deal / agenda in favor of something? What is it? Do you want your council members to be in a position of owing their election to the firefighters for their support? Remember Council ultimately is the body to approve their labor contract! Council is elected to represent ALL taxpayers – not members of a union, because that is what this is, nothing more, nothing less!

 

From Justin Smith IAFF (International Association of Firefighters) 3:07pm Oct 9

Fortunately for some of us the IAFF is a little more open minded and democratic than others. Political action equals: legislation to cover firefighters who suffer from PTSD, coverage for job related cancers, funds for task forces that go across Canada and other places to secure and help people during floods, earthquakes, forest fires etc. The funding for these things will not just be kindly offered to Fire Depts. they must be constantly fought for and that means political action.

Response: “95%” or more of ALL candidates running support ALL of the above!   

IAFF Endorsement Philosophy
The IAFF believes, respects and celebrates the absolute right of every IAFF member to vote for the candidate that he or she feels best represents and embraces that individual’s views and political philosophy. No one, including your union, has a right to tell you how to vote.

Response: We totally agree!

Similarly, the IAFF will never criticize any member for his or her choice of candidate. We recognize that there are many issues that are important to all IAFF members – beyond fire service and labor issues, and the IAFF respects its members’ right to vote for candidates who have not won the endorsement of the IAFF or your local affiliate.

Response: We totally agree!

However, just like IAFF members review the history, positions and platform of each candidate and make a decision based on that information, so does the IAFF.

This union views candidates through a very narrow focus. Decisions are predicated on how candidates stand on fire fighter and labor issues, such as collective bargaining rights, protection of fair labor standards (FLSA) and overtime rights, pay fairness and equity for federal fire fighters, presumption of disability for federal fire fighters, funding for first responder initiatives, full funding of the FIRE Act and SAFER programs, protection of pension and Social Security benefits, and protection and extension of health care benefits for active and retired members, to name a few.

Response: “95%” or more of ALL candidates running support ALL of the above! 


These are the types of issues that IAFF FIREPAC focuses on when making decisions on whether or not to support a candidate. IAFF FIREPAC does not and will not base its decisions on issues such as Second Amendment rights, reproductive rights, the environment or other social issues that many of our members hold firm beliefs about.

Response: “95%” or more of ALL candidates running support ALL of the above! 

The IAFF has one mission: to improve the lives and livelihoods of professional fire fighters. We know that one of the most important ways we represent our members is in the legislatures at all levels of government – because that’s where most of the decisions are made that have an impact on our members and their jobs. That’s why we play hard in politics – so that we help get people elected who will push our legislative agenda forward. In that role, this union is an advocacy group similar to the NRA, Christian Coalition, Sierra Club, Chamber of Commerce, National League of Cities, etc. Our range of issues is very specific. No one should expect or accept it if the NRA based endorsements on fire fighter bargaining rights. Likewise, no one expects the Christian Coalition to base its support of candidates on funding the FIRE Act or SAFER grants. Consequently, no one should expect the IAFF to base its endorsement on anything other than its specific set of issues.

Response: Clearly the IAFF is based on the U.S. form and style of government, never the less there is and was nothing in questionnaires distributed to candidates in our Municipal Election Campaign that dealt with any of the above. So again, what was said and by who which made this local union decide against endorsing them? I would suggest very strongly there was nothing! Jack Froese was apparently not at this meeting!

While you may personally disagree with an IAFF endorsement and believe that another candidate better represents your own viewpoint on issues important to you, please be mindful that the IAFF endorsement is about the candidate’s stance on fire service and labor issues. And, just like the IAFF respects your right to vote for the candidate of your choosing, we ask for the same respect concerning the IAFF’s duty to make its endorsement based on fire service, employment, safety and health and labor issues that directly affect our members’ lives and livelihood.

Response: Bingo, I think we are on to something – repeat “please be mindful that the IAFF endorsement is about the candidate’s stance on fire service and labor issues.” So we now know that their endorsement is based on support for fire service, all candidates agree, and labor issues, all candidates agree, so then to the elephant in the room – What separated those selected vs those not selected? Answer – nothing other than an obvious unwritten agreement with the majority selected. If I am wrong, tell the public what separated those selected verses those not selected?    

In any union, association or even political party, when an organization endorses a particular candidate or a specific position on any issue, not everyone who is a member is in agreement. In fact, almost every time an endorsement is made, there is disagreement – but it’s usually based on personal political leanings or how one values certain issues. People are entitled to and respect their right to disagree and express their own opinions.

Response: It states above “when an organization endorses a particular candidate or a specific position on any issue”? Our complaint is about endorsing a slate of candidates NOT an individual candidate or a specific position on any issue!

Politics within the IAFF is an issue of mutual respect. The IAFF respects its members’ right to vote for whomever they choose, and we hope you respect the IAFF’s right to endorse candidates, regardless of party, who have demonstrated their support for the IAFF and professional fire fighters. The IAFF also respects the right of state and individual affiliates to endorse the candidate they believe will best represent their membership at the state and local level.

Response: “Politics within the IAFF is an issue of mutual respect.” Well the IAFF should extend their belief in MUTUAL RESPECT to residents and taxpayers of the Township of Langley. There is absolutely NO ISSUE with firefighters promoting their preferred candidates within their membership, that is a given. Communicate with all members through membership channels of communication, direct mail and others. Volunteer on your own time to support candidates of your choice by all means, but not in the form of Public Advertising that misleads the public as to the reason for its selection, that crosses the line and borders on FRAUD!

In Summary:

There are only TWO key questions surrounding the activities of our Township of Langley Firefighters that are seriously objectionable and bring the potential for some behind the scenes agreement of some nature into question:

How and on what basis were endorsed candidates selected? What were the differences between any and ALL candidates in this election? They owe it to the public to make that public! 

Publicly advertising a SLATE of Candidates on widely distributed 4 by 8 signs plus advertising those endorsed candidates in local newspaper ads stating these candidates support Public Safety given the known positions of ALL candidates is a fraudulent statement; unless of course you can make public the differences that you may have uncovered? Absent that clarification the firefighters are doing a disservice to all taxpayers in the Township of Langley. 

I have gone through the policy of the IAFF as it affects each IAFFs individual union locals guidelines as to it involves local, provincial and national politics. For the most part it is straight forward and understandable as it affects their livelihood, health and welfare. All professions look after their professional needs through professional associations.

Unfortunately the IAFF leaves open the opportunity for local interpretation of their policy as it relates to political campaigns. In our case their involvement does cross the line of fairness to taxpayers!

Nowhere in their policy does it state that their members should PUBLICLY ENDORSE and extensively advertise a slate of candidates. You remember the comment mentioned above about respect? “The IAFF respects its members’ right to vote for whomever they choose?”  The residents / taxpayers of the Township of Langley deserve that same respect and be allowed unimpeded or influenced by outside forces of self-interest groups / unions to make their own decision!

RG

Stay tuned for discussion of top of mind topics that directly affect us in the Township of Langley and our region to be published in the months ahead and much more….!

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

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UPDATE: It didn’t take long (about 2 hours) but I am in receipt of a response from a firefighter, I can only assume is speaking for all firefighters and that is unfortunate. First, in their words expressed are not flattering to their profession and cause, but they do support my comment in the post that candidates cannot respond or they would be crucified! I am not publishing their comment due to it’s content (I will leave that there) but as important, it is not signed, so in response to that I say have the guts to stand behind what you are saying! One thing I will say, on the issue of what you say is my opinion, here is a challenge to all of you – You state on your signs that these selected candidates support Public Safety, which by inference suggests all others don’t, so I challenge the firefighters to state publicly – What was the process of selection and what were the reasons that you selected these 9 candidates rather than any of the other candidates? We challenge the firefighters, if I am wrong in my opinion and/or assumption, that you go public with the process used in making your decision. All Candidates have worked hard and are running to improve their Municipality. Don’t hide behind Public Safety, that is nothing more than a ruse, otherwise known as BS!    

Are YOU happy with yet another attempt by our Firefighters to hijack OUR democratic process? By your paid Public Servants!

This election year is turning out to be like many others. You know, don’t leave it to the opinions, conclusions and conscience of our voters and our candidates, our firefighters seem to think we the taxpayers of Langley need help as to who to vote for? Somehow the Township of Langley Firefighters believe that taxpayers are incapable of making this decision for themselves? You see, Firefighters are trading on their public goodwill that somehow they have some special expertise in deciding who to vote for in the upcoming election. Now bear in mind a very stark reality, their decision has absolutely nothing to do with Public Safety as they state (all candidates support public safety), it has everything to do with self interest in approving their next labor contract.

Well, to the taxpayers of the Township of Langley, lets send the Firefighters a message to stay out of our democratic process and that we are fully capable of thinking for ourselves. We don’t need employees of the Township of Langley to tell us who to vote for! I have gone through their charade in the elections of 2008, 2011 and 2014, if it wasn’t so serious their process would be laughable.

Candidates who are not chosen for endorsement by our firefighters won’t speak up because they can’t, they would be crucified. They would be the object of fear and intimidation! Well that is not right and it must be addressed.

So how does the Firefighters process work? The Firefighters local union provides all candidates with a list of questions and requests written answers to be returned on the day of their scheduled All Candidates meeting. Candidates are told that these questions will be drawn at random at the All Candidates meeting to be answered at random by candidates. It is said that these questions all deal with public safety and that the firefighter’s selection of endorsed candidates will be based on their answers. FACT, a criteria for selection based on answers given would clearly qualify 90% of candidates for selection. Obviously that can’t happen so there must be much more that goes into the selection process. WHAT WOULD THAT BE?

What do Firefighters do for THEIR selected candidates? In the past ie 2014 the Firefighters spent about $7,600. on their campaign support for selected candidates as 3rd Party supporters. Their campaign consisted of Paid For Newspaper ads, 4 by 8 signs and Door Hanging Notices delivered door to door. I believe it is totally reasonable and acceptable to play politics with their members BUT NOT with the general public. Under NEW 3rd party rules for the 2018 election in the Township their maximum allowable expenditure is $3,850.08 or about half of what it was in 2014. Details below!

A Very questionable history! As my BLOG Post of January 2015 clearly outlines, the issue back then was the fact that the firefighters had been without a contract for 2 – 3 years and they asked the question to the candidates before their 2014 All Candidates meeting whether they would support a settlement with their firefighters. Somehow, that single question dealing with labor relations was the only one not asked of any candidate in that all candidates meeting and within a couple of days of that meeting a settlement was announced. A short time later, surprise surprise signs, door hangers and newspaper ads appeared supporting the incumbents. Now you tell me, is this just a coincidence? Do you believe in the tooth fairy? A VERY questionable series of events!

What was the real price that we paid? Was there an agreement in place? What was the cost to us? The 2010 and 2011 contract – 3% per year plus the 2012 to 2019 contract – 2 ½ % per year that all equates to a 26% COMPOUND WAGE INCREASE over 9 years! We don’t know the cost to other parts of that agreement reached?

All of that was timed for the last election, what about this year? An interesting thought! This election is for 4 years, in other words the next election is in 2022. The next firefighter contract comes up at the end of 2019, next year? So this election will elect the Council that must vote for any settlement with the firefighters? Now I have heard the firefighters suggest, as a diversion tactic, that they don’t negotiate with Council. Really, are you guys serious? Council with Senior staff are in a position of directing or suggesting that certain negotiations take place and settlements occur. Are you going to tell me that doesn’t take place? If so I have a bridge to sell you. I have served a number of years on a Provincial Food Industry Labor Relations Association as well as serving on the Metro Vancouver Labor Board, I know how it works. PROOF? Go to the Delta Firefighters contract on or about 2014 that formed what the Township of Langley was paid, following that contract. It was resisted for a year or so until the Township endorsed slate was announced!

If the firefighters hold their activity over the head of our local politicians ALL of us taxpayers are forced to pay the price, regardless of what that might be. All for reciprocal pay-back!      

UNTIL WE HAVE ANSWERS TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS, OUR MUNICIPAL ELECTION RESULTS WILL ALWAYS BE IN QUESTION –

Our Township of Langley Firefighters traded on their Community Good Will (otherwise known as Community Capital) to secure a financial benefit (contract agreement) in return for a Public Endorsement for and from a Newly elected Council?

Are any members of our Council, the Union or their representative(s), Senior Staff and/or any other third party acting for any of the foregoing been involved in suggesting agreements, verbal or written with the Firefighters to secure a public endorsement campaign in exchange for a contract agreement(s)? “Inducement” (Legislation’s word not mine), a word used in section 151 of the B.C. Local Government Act? (Dictionary definition of “inducement” is “incentive”)

The Legality Question It is clear that section 151 of the B.C. Local Government Act explicitly prohibits any form of “inducement” (outlined below). A review of the penalties to anyone found guilty of breaching this legislation, are very significant.

This is a very disconcerting campaign activity. IF in the future there is another situation that just happens to occur, my understanding from a good source is that any resident of the Township of Langley may file a complaint with the RCMP with respect to an issue such as this. I would also suggest that any complaint be laid through RCMP E Division, not the Langley Detachment given the potential of or perception of a conflict of interest.

There are those that want to bury their heads in the sand and suggest that this is just a coincidence or it somehow is anti-firefighter – Well, For The Record, nothing could be further from the truth, I have family in this profession, I have great respect for the job they do! NOW lets deal with the facts – In this case, this legislation (laws) that are in place to protect taxpayers and to protect our democracy, regardless of who is responsible! Would this happen? Only an investigation can tell.

In the 2014 election there appeared to be clearly enough compelling supporting evidence or at the very least circumstantial evidence to secure a thorough and complete investigation. I stand very proud on my record of accomplishments and I have paid a very handsome price personally in many ways to fight the fight. I do not apologize. I will continue to present facts and issues and more than anything I am and will challenge residents to stand up and be counted. It is up to any one of you to grab the issue by the horns and to stand up and do something about it. By WHO and HOW our Municipality is being run is the issue, sitting back and doing nothing to correct it is not an answer.                     

Township of Langley Firefighters Factor (Is this not Political Interference and more?)It is my opinion and I believe that of the majority of residents that our firefighters are respected for the service that they provide our community. That aside, the question has to be asked, have firefighters seriously crossed the line with their very questionable partisan political activity? I don’t agree with their activity of publicly advertised support for a specific self-serving slate of candidate(s). It is fundamentally wrong!

Over the years our Township of Langley Full Time Firefighters have made it a practice of leveraging political activity during election campaigns to assist their labor negotiations to benefit negotiation outcomes? What other reason could there be? Firefighters everywhere are politically active, no problem, however going public with a publicly advertised slate endorsement is wrong.

No other Fire Department in Metro Vancouver or the Fraser Valley Regional District takes their political activity to this level. The Township of Langley deserves better!

NOTE – What makes all of this a possibility of and for an “inducement”? The Township of Langley Firefighters Association IAFF 4550 PUBLICLY provided their preferred slate of candidates with the following, which can only be described as – “Inducements” that could be to the benefit of both parties. Were ONE or BOTH parties guilty of a breach of Section 151 in 2014? Could all of this be leading to 2019 negotiations? Here is what they did in 2014….

Firefighter paid for minimum half page full color Newspaper Ads listing all candidates they endorsed that they say supported their views of “Public Safety”! (I will add that all candidates if not a minimum of 95% of all candidates came out in full support of Firefighters.) Therefore their inference being that these are THE only candidates that support public safety is and was bogus. Could there be other reasons for their candidate preferences? – Contract negotiations?

Firefighters paid for and distributed large 4 ft. by 8 ft. full color signs posted throughout the Township of Langley by November 6th listing all candidates that they say endorsed and supported their views of “Public Safety”. (I will add that all candidates if not a minimum of 95% of all candidates came out in full support of Firefighters.) Therefore their inference being that these are THE only candidates that support public safety is bogus. Could there be other reasons for their candidate preferences? – Contract negotiations? OH, and by the way – When were these signs painted and by whom? Just asking the question?

Firefighters paid and distributed Door hanging notices was distributed presumably by firefighters identifying their list of candidates with descriptions such as “Support Local Champions of Public Safety” and “ensure those elected to council agree that the safety of your family and your property is a priority”. (I will add that all candidates if not a minimum of 95% of all candidates came out in full support of Firefighters.) Therefore their inference being that these are THE only candidates that support public safety is bogus.

Council ratified the agreements In one of their first acts after taking office these union contracts were ratified unanimously by this council.

What is that all aboutRead carefully the following excerpt from the B.C. Local Government Act. It is Interesting that these sections along with a few other pertinent sections were included in the candidate Nomination Packages so ignorance of the law is NO excuse. What qualifies as an inducement? This is not rocket science!

Definition of Inducement – “That which induces; incentive. The act of inducing.”

Excerpts from the B. C. Local Government Act (below)

Division 17 — Election Offences

Vote buying

151  (1) In this section, “inducement” includes money, gift, valuable consideration, refreshment, entertainment, office, placement, employment and any other benefit of any kind.

(2) A person must not pay, give, lend or procure inducement for any of the following purposes:

(a) to induce a person to vote or refrain from voting;

(b) to induce a person to vote or refrain from voting for or against a particular candidate;

(c) to reward a person for having voted or refrained from voting as described in paragraph (a) or (b);

(d) to procure or induce a person to attempt to procure the election of a particular candidate, the defeat of a particular candidate or a particular result in an election;

(e) to procure or induce a person to attempt to procure the vote of an elector or the failure of an elector to vote.

(3) A person must not accept inducement

(a) to vote or refrain from voting,

(b) to vote or refrain from voting for or against a particular candidate, or

(c) as a reward for having voted or refrained from voting as described in paragraph (a) or (b).

(4) A person must not advance, pay or otherwise provide inducement, or cause inducement to be provided, knowing or with the intent that it is to be used for any of the acts prohibited by this section.

(5) A person must not offer, agree or promise to do anything otherwise prohibited by this section.

(6) A person prohibited from doing something by this section must not do the prohibited act directly, indirectly or by another person on behalf of the first person.

Prosecution of organizations and their directors and agents

153.1  (1) An act or thing done or omitted by an officer, director, employee or agent of an organization within the scope of the individual’s authority to act on behalf of the organization is deemed to be an act or thing done or omitted by the organization.

(2) If an organization commits an offence under this Part, an officer, director, employee or agent of the organization who authorizes, permits or acquiesces in the offence commits the same offence, whether or not the organization is convicted of the offence.

(3) A prosecution for an offence under this Part may be brought against an unincorporated organization in the name of the organization and, for these purposes, an unincorporated organization is deemed to be a person.

Time limit for starting prosecution

153.2  The time limit for laying an information to commence a prosecution respecting an offence under this Part is one year after the date on which the act or omission that is alleged to constitute the offence occurred.

Penalties

154  (1) A person who contravenes section 151 or 152 is guilty of an offence and is liable to one or more of the following penalties:

(a) a fine of not more than $10 000;

(b) imprisonment for a term not longer than 2 years;

(c) disqualification from holding office in accordance with subsection (1.1) for a period of not longer than 7 years.

(d) [Repealed by 2014-19-71(a).]

(1.1) Disqualification under subsection (1) (c) is disqualification from holding office as follows:

(a) on a local government;

(b) on the council of the City of Vancouver or on the Park Board established under section 485 of the Vancouver Charter;

(c) as a trustee under the Islands Trust Act;

(d) as a trustee on a board of education, or as a regional trustee on a francophone education authority, under the School Act.

(2) A person or unincorporated organization who contravenes section 153 is guilty of an offence and is liable to one or both of the following penalties:

(a) a fine of not more than $5 000;

(b) imprisonment for a term not longer than one year.

(3) Any penalty under this Division is in addition to and not in place of any other penalty provided in this Part.

(4) A person or unincorporated organization is not guilty of an offence under this Part if the person or organization exercised due diligence to prevent the commission of the offence.

Conclusion – The effect the Firefighter’s Campaign was significant on the Elections of 2011 and 2014 as it has a chance to be in 2018, IF we allow it to be? Was their campaign only motivated by an inducement? Is that what stimulated their message? You decide? This apparent conflict or breach of this legislation is certainly in question, given the evidence available (above). It doesn’t pass the smell test.

In 2014 the Firefighters endorsed nine members of Council – EIGHT of them were elected.

Well what about the list of 2018 endorsed candidates? They threw away the previously (2011) endorsed candidates Ward and Dornan in favor of NEW candidates Quaale and Whitmarsh for 2014? This year they threw away Long and Richter and added two new ones? Based on what? If the process was true to itself a review of the answers provided by these two NEW endorsed candidates as well as that of the endorsed incumbents compared to that of the rest of the candidates leaves one to wonder on what basis was this decision made? None of this passes the smell test! It is once again it is the Jack Froese Team being endorsed with a couple of changes.

Given the wording of the messages sent out by the Firefighters in 2014 to residents and given the public’s trust of their firefighters I would strongly suggest this activity would have influenced / induced enough residents in their votes to have a significant effect on the final result, certainly for Councilor. The following reflects that considerable likelihood.

For the record in 2014 there were FIVE candidates for Council that were no more than 465 votes below the last successful candidate, only one of which was endorsed by the firefighter slate. To put it into net political reality of how votes are affected by numbers check the following;

In 2014 IF only 233 votes were taken away from the bottom three elected candidates (Firefighters recommended slate of candidate’s) and added to the top three unelected candidates you would have a different result in the outcome for Council!

Given the information above, given the widespread Firefighter campaign and it’s potential for widespread effect on the election outcome, does this not put the entire election process into question? Just asking?

This issue must be dealt with, otherwise our democratic process is susceptible to be hijacked by any significant special interest group and taxpayers will pay a significant price. As you will note above, the penalty, if found guilty, is severe, as it should be.

RG

Stay tuned for discussion of top of mind topics that directly affect us in the Township of Langley and our region to be published in the months ahead and much more….!

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

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

So Councilor Richter has been CENSURED for her actions in the Quaale affair. Do you remember the complaint Richter filed against Angie Quaale for securing a one off Township of Langley food-service contract making the suggestion or accusation that it was a conflict of interest? Charlie Fox got on his high horse and posed a motion that was passed that Council receive a legal opinion on the accusation of conflict of interest and Richter’s actions related to this matter and what can be done about it. It involved Richter posting a message on Facebook related to her complaint against Quaale and the accusation of conflict?

Now let’s make one thing very clear, I am no fan of Kim Richter, that being said boy am I ever conflicted, my thoughts follow….

So lets deal with the issues one at a time, was it a conflict of interest?

In my opinion it was absolutely a conflict of interest, perceived, if not a legal one. I say that, although my opinion is in opposition to the legal opinion provided by Township Counsel. I presume their opinion is based on their interpretation of the Community Charter. Well I vehemently disagree and I would suggest legal opinions depend on who is asking, what is being asked and who is paying the bills. Over the years I have seen too many conflicting opinions that disagree with each other?

So let’s put it another way, if the Mayor owned a paving company and bid on a Township paving contract would it be considered a conflict of interest? I would suggest emphatically yes! Why, because staff serve (within all practical reason) the public through their elected representatives, all who strive to cooperate as much as possible and within reason, with their elected masters. I am not suggesting wrong doing here but I am suggesting that questions can be asked and/or answered privately by council members to staff or visa versa innocently or otherwise asking or receiving inside information that is not available to the general public. Not saying it happened but saying it could happen, which is exactly the point to a perceived conflict of interest by any member of Council. This shouldn’t even be a question, in my view!

Under the Township’s Respectful Workplace Policy Councilor Richter’s actions impacted the workplace! So Councilor Richter has been CENSURED!

Really, get serious? To Councilors Quaale and Fox – GROW UP! This is nothing but a political attack disguised as someone’s feelings getting hurt. As one resident, and I know I am not alone in saying this, it is long past time that members of Council understand that taxpayers are tired of hearing about your hurt feelings. You are being paid good money so it is time that all of you put on your Big Boy and Big Girl pants and get on with the job, nobody said it was going to be easy. Stop your whining and your political attacks!

As an aside I see Councilor Fox all over Facebook the last couple of days holding an “I am on Team Quaale” sign as a supporter! GEE that’s a surprise! It all fits, again it is ALL political, it is a set up!  

Councilor Quaale and members of Council who voted for these actions should pay the price for their ridiculous actions on voting day, Oct. 20th!! This is totally political, all timed for maximum impact. It is exactly what they did to me. More on that later!

Now to the question, what about Kim Richter’s legal bills regardless of how I feel about the issues? How much? Well the Township of Langley has a policy that it will pay legal costs UNLESS the individual is found guilty of wrong doing. I assume given the report that was issued, Kim has been found breaching the Township policy and guilty of wrong doing? Is that not correct? If so is she paying her costs herself? If they follow policy as much as I disagree with the decision, she should have to pay? I have heard her legal costs are around $20,000? That is just a rumor.  

I cannot believe that members of Council proceeded with this attack on Kim Richter that cost the residents of the Township of Langley $50,000. as is being reported!

So WHY am I conflicted? Let me count the ways!

Well déjà vu Councilor Kim Richter, OH and Charlie Fox was there in support. I am going to make a long story very short (it has been explained in full gory detail in an earlier BLOG Post). Back during my term, I am sure many will remember, I got embroiled in a dispute with the Township of Langley Council of the day. Specifically it involved some information that I considered potentially serious that was passed on to me by three individuals that I had breakfast meetings with earlier that year. It was my job to pass on that information to members of Council per the Community Charter BUT Council decided to Censure me anyway. WHY, because I wouldn’t divulge their names. By the way, I have never divulged their names BUT I will say this, they are THREE very prominent lawyers in the Township of Langley. Let the guessing begin!

The bottom line was that Council wanted to know who I met with and I flatly refused to tell as I had given these three lawyers my word against divulgence. Because I wouldn’t tell members of Council who I met with, Councilor Kim Richter put forward a motion that the Township would pay the legal expenses for their legal advice (members of Council who were concerned I would file a lawsuit) BUT to deny the Mayor’s legal expenses despite the fact it was against Township policy and I had not been found guilty of anything! This move cost me personally $25,000. in after tax dollars to defend myself against their charges! $25,000 for doing nothing wrong! Want to talk to someone who has an opinion on this, talk to my wife. By the way the legal costs for the Township (No sorry to YOU the taxpayer) were far greater than $100,000.!

So as I say Councilor Kim Richter, déjà vu how does it feel now? OH and by the way you state in your response to this action that you were only doing your job? Well so was I but you voted and supported that Censure and those legal costs contrary to Township policy anyway! Sorry for this, but I can’t help feeling that there is justice in this world.

In Summary:

Well despite what I have said above with respect to my own experiences, the above complaint and the above penalty is wrong, just plain wrong as is the conflict of interest decision, in my opinion. Despite what happened to me and what Kim Richter and Council did to me I cannot in good conscience stay silent on the issues, believe me it would be easy to do.

I know first-hand when dealing with the Township’s Corporate lawyers that opinions are just that opinions. I have seen first-hand that some Township court cases based on legal opinions received just weren’t that successful; but then again that is the case with ALL legal opinions, they are just that, opinions which is why we have courts! I have seen actions when lawyers come back claiming a win, when you just can’t find one in the judgement.

In this case, unless you want to throw serious money at the problem, it is just not worth it. In many cases that is what they count on. Can anyone justify the expense to take on the deep pockets of the Township spending your individual hard earned dollars against the collective tax dollars held by the Township? It is not right BUT it is a fact!

During my term I was targeted and the DIRECT target of a number of heavy weights (literally) in our community that did not like my willingness to fight wrong doing. Mufford Crescent Overpass / land deal (we won), Athenry Developments, Land Fill on Agricultural land, Browns Pit, LEC financial boondoggle, Park Lane Condo Wall in Fort Langley, Dixon Pit property sale, keeping Township Property Portfolio Private and much much more.

What we are seeing with this Council is an orchestrated campaign to shut everyone up. It is bullying and intimidation at its best. The gang of 5 are responsible, Jack Froese, Angie Quaale, Blair Whitmarsh, Michelle Sparrow and Charlie Fox. Charlie Fox is not running, the remaining 4 (The Froese Team) should be defeated on Oct. 20th for their actions.

I paid the price but I feel great and when I look in the mirror I like the guy looking back at me. Could I have saved money and made my life a lot easier, absolutely but looking back on what happened I would not have done it any other way.

SPECIAL IMPORTANT NOTE: I am in receipt of a comment submitted to www.langleywatchdog.com in response to the Kim Richter issue outlining what happened and making a number of serious accusations against her with no corroborating proof (and as I said here I am no fan and have every reason to reverse what I have said above, but in my opinion that would be wrong). I have seen the actions of this Council and staff behind the scenes to know they are trying to neuter anyone who disagrees with them, I have proof in my case and I know those facts. The mess the Township of Langley is in can be blamed in many cases for an internal campaign by staff against duly elected members of Council and in a number of cases against prominent residents who have gained a public profile, whether you like them or not. Example –

(Reference www.langleywatchdog.com BLOG Post, dated March 23rd 2013) An email was put out by one Joel Shacter to all of his fellow real estate colleagues dated Nov. 11th 2011 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.” Very comforting words! But this is THE REALITY of what has been happening in the Township for years! YEARS! The so-called power brokers are controlling things behind the scenes! YOU CAN STOP THIS NOW THROUGH YOUR VOTE, lets VOTE for change!

Despite all of this the sender of this message was hoping for a posting signing themselves as a “Concerned Resident”, no name given. Sorry, for obvious reasons I will not publish a comment without any attributable name. (It sounds to me like a staff member and I know first-hand how many of them hate her first hand.)  

NOTE: The decision of Council (Report) and Kim Richter’s response can be found under the “Council Decisions” tab on the top tool bar of this BLOG site. 

IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER RE ALL CANDIDATES MEETINGS:

Tuesday Oct. 2nd 4:30 – 6:30 PM – Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce meet and greet Cascades Casino Ballroom.

Thursday Oct. 4th 6:30 PM – Fort Langley Community Association All Candidates Meeting for Township Council candidates as well as School Trustee Candidates to be held at the Fort Langley Hall. No charge to attend, but attendees can bring a non-perishable food item.

Wednesday Oct. 10th 4:30 – 6:30 PM – Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce 2nd meet and greet at the Redwoods Golf Course.

Thursday Oct. 11th 7:00 – 9:00 PM – Willoughby Residents Association All Candidates to be held at the Shepherd of the Valley Church Auditorium, 20097 72nd Ave.. A suggested donation of $5 for entry.

Friday Oct. 12th 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM – Langley Seniors Community Action Table is hosting a Township of Langley all Candidates Meeting at the Langley Seniors Centre Resource Centre in Langley City.

Tuesday Oct. 16th 5:00 – 8:30 PM – Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce hosts a debate, open to all six mayoral candidates for City and Township as part of the chamber’s dinner meeting at the Cascades Casino. Tickets are available from the Chamber. 

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to the Province, the Region and the Municipality, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

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

 

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

 

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

This BLOG Post will lay out a few important issues that you should be concerned about. Now you may look at some of these issues and say they don’t affect me (where I live), on that point I can assure you that there will come a day where you are looking for the support of others, in other communities within the Township! The Municipal Government in the Township of Langley has been successful doing what they want because they have made dividing and conquering our six different communities an art form. Don’t be fooled!

It is important to support other communities, because you could be next! Think of other communities as your neighbors, they need your support! Don’t allow politicians to splinter our Municipality!

It is interesting that our Municipal Elections have THE lowest voter turnout of the three levels of government. I say interesting because without question your municipal government is the closest to you with arguably a greater cause and effect on your daily family life. Our apparent disconnect has a lot to do with our busy lives juggling, work, kids activities and social responsibilities, however we urge everyone to focus on this election for the next 3 weeks. Get out to All candidate meetings or at the very least study their platforms and voting record. In 2014 the voter turnout for the Township of Langley was only 29.93%. Please do your homework and get-out-to-vote, YOUR VOTE COUNTS!

In this election I am promoting and encouraging the need for change. Why? What follows are a few key issues to be concerned with. (more to follow) I believe the following issues should seriously be considered when making your decision, remember the definition of insanity is “Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result”.

Issue:   Independent Representation on Council? It is a fact that independent members of Council are MORE responsive to you the electorate, than are members of a slate! So WHO is TRULY Independent and WHO IS NOT? These are good questions? How do you tell? Let’s explore….

There is a very interesting Post that is making its round on Facebook these days, that is, what does “Independent Candidate” really mean to you? Well I can speak to this from personal experience in that as an elected Alderman in Delta I was a member of a slate of 6, we did not run a full slate but nevertheless it was a slate, and in the Township of Langley I was an independent. Interestingly in the Township there is a 3rd option in running that is somewhat unique to the Township. It is an attempt (and I might add somewhat successful to-date) at conning the electorate. What am I talking about? It is the non-slate slate which I have had the experience of learning about up close and personal when I was the Mayor. It is otherwise known as a charade and you the citizens of the Township are the PAWNS in this charade!

Now this doesn’t mean that they vote with each other on every vote, (we didn’t in Delta) BUT interestingly they do vote in unison in favor or against on votes of particular importance to their collective developer / support base primarily on development density, budgets (increased taxes and with no vigilant staff oversight) and against any forward thinking ideas such as CACs and a few others which would benefit you the taxpayer.

Don’t believe me, check their voting records. As some will remember the 2014 election featured what was then called “The Un-Election Campaign” which letter graded all candidates that were currently on that council based on solid research of their voting record. That very public campaign put a lie to a number on the current Council still pretending to be independent.

In recent days a couple of events have been held (and more planned) that further put a lie to their claim of being independent. “The Froese Team” previously denied now outed!  –

Specifically:

Event: – Thursday Sept. 20th Aldergrove Kinsmen Center – An announcement was made regarding this event “a by-invitation meet-and-greet for Langley Township council candidates, but only those who received a personal invite will be speaking.” We have it on good authority that in the opening commentary by Steve Schafer who was arranging these events stated when introducing those invited “don’t know what the big deal is, if this was Toronto no one would care about a slate.” So who was invited, who spoke, why it was “The Froese Team”? – Jack Froese – Blair Whitmarsh – Angie Quaale – Bev Dornan – Margaret Kunst – and Michael Pratt!

“The Froese Team” / a slate in their own words!

Event: – At Angie Quaale’s campaign kick-off going back a couple of weeks at a local winery. – Jack stood up and introduced those he can work with, his words. So “The Froese Team” – Jack Froese – Blair Whitmarsh – Angie Quaale – Bev Dornan – Margaret Kunst – and Michael Pratt.

“The Froese Team” / a slate by their own actions!    

Issue: Fiscal and Financial Management / Responsibility – SPENDING OF YOUR TAX DOLLARS!

The most recent Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) Analysis dated Sept. 11th, 2018 states the following –

  • The Township of Langley ranks 20th out of 20, last @ 50.1% of B.C.s twenty largest Cities / Municipalities in 2006 – 2016 in Real Operating Spending per Capita Growth. Remember, this spending is YOUR TAX DOLLARS!
    • What does that compare against? – Maple Ridge ranked 2nd out of 20 @ 17.9%. A fast growing municipality that has kept spending in line.
  • The Township of Langley is THE worst performing major Municipal Government in B.C.

Now I have recently seen the Angie Quaale diatribe, crying foul on Facebook with a long dissertation about this CFIB report making so many FALSE claims it is actually quite shocking and disturbing! This diatribe which was aimed at Kim Richter (and believe me I am no defender of Kim Richter) belies an underlying misunderstanding of the job she was elected to perform. She is so wrong on so many counts! I won’t go through the whole thing but on some of her points?

Quaale – “The statistics are 12 years old”

Response – NOT TRUE! This report measures 2006 – 2016 Real Operating Spending per Capita Growth. This is a very responsible 10 year measure of performance.

Quaale – “It’s a headline meant to sensationalize an issue that has no context and no substance.”

Response – Another way of putting this is BS trying to baffle brains. What an insulting arrogant and condescending statement! This is a well-researched report that provides context and substance in the form of accurate research. 10 years of actual data, actual numbers!

Quaale – “The Township of Langley is a geographically huge, thriving, growing municipality and it’s a complex environment that must consider both rural and urban requirements & it is expensive as hell to operate.”

Response – The following puts a lie to Quaale’s excuses above. So let’s see, work with me on this…. Kelowna is 3rd @ 10.3%, Richmond is 7th @ 19.1%, Surrey is 9th @ 31%, Kamloops is 13th @ 29%, and I could go on. They are large spread out Municipalities, urban and rural, all growing exponentially! There is no excuse for the Township of Langley to be last @51%! FACT, out of 152 communities in B.C. the Township ranked 96th last year and this recent report ranks the Township at 103rd position! We are worse than ever and nobody is doing anything about it! The 2015/16 Operating / Spending Per Capita Growth ranked 20th or last!

Quaale – “Management of our resources and taxpayers assets is what we are elected to do.”

Response – Council is not managing anything, your rating on this survey suggests very strongly the opposite! Council as much as anything is a Board of Directors with an oversight responsibility of staff through the budget process. That IS NOT being done!

QuaaleVoting NO is easy and if we all did it, our municipality would simply shut down.”

ResponseWhat an absolute ridiculous statement. Saying NO is far more difficult, because a Mayor and councilors would then have to deal with priorities or find funding in other envelopes of opportunity within the Township of Langley budget. Here is a hint Ms. Quaale, search for the numerous envelopes throughout the budget that are titled “Capital Projects funded not started” (unless of course staff have since changed their wording to hide slush funds). I have written about this in the past, it is only the tip of the iceberg!  

Quaale – “Working to minimize spending, identify efficiencies and reduce waste is hard. Good governance, financial stewardship and actually voting to pass along an increase is difficult.”

ResponseWelcome to the job you signed up for Ms. Quaale. It is hard to say no to staff and the community in some cases. It is about setting priorities and living within your means. It is not all about conventions, social functions and cutting ribbons. Do your job!

And so it goes, I fought this wrong-headed budgeting process in the Township of Langley when I was Mayor between 2008 and 2011 and got dumped on from great heights by members of my Council. (Some are still there and others have bought into this thinking.) This thinking in my view is the product of the preaching by senior staff, it is well entrenched. To try to break away from this kind of thinking I initiated a “Mayor’s Standing Committee of Finance” which included 3 professional individuals from the community (A CA, Federal Auditor and lawyer) and 3 members of Council. They worked very hard pouring over the Township Budget for 3 to 4 months, line by line with many questions. The result of that exercise (their report) was totally ignored by members of Council who immediately adopted a 5% tax increase.

It is no surprise to me that the Township ranks as poorly as they do, it was inevitable and nothing has changed. I made the statement back in 2009 that the budgets that are being adopted are staff budgets, they are not council budgets and that appears to be continuing to this day. Council members are only interested in what favored little fluff pieces they can get adopted within the budget. I have never experienced processes of such importance being given such obvious lip service by members of Council. Steve Ferguson and Bev Dornan were part of that calamity, and they are trying to get back in? If the VOTERS are smart, NOT!  

Issue: Process of Community Planning in the Township of Langley

In general the planning process in the Township of Langley is nothing but a top down process. This same process was going to happen to the Aldergrove Core Community Plan when I was in office until I intervened. What Council wasn’t aware of at the time was the fact I had requested staff to come back with a Community based process. That was a Community Planning Committee comprised of a cross section of the community, business, residents and social services. The members selected elected their Chair and they ran the community meetings. The Township provided a planning facilitator. All of this resulted in a community accepted and adopted Core Community Plan within 6 months. It works and is still thought of very well within the community of Aldergrove. Aside from initiating a new process my only involvement was in their first meeting – my direction to them was look at this project like you were starting with a blank piece of paper, no assumptions.

When I left office they went back to the same old process which is supported by all current members of Council. Steve Ferguson and Bev Dornan were part of that top down calamity and they are trying to get back in? If the VOTERS are smart, NOT!

During the last two election campaigns you heard nothing but promises from the Mayor about initiating a community consultation process in every community, how are we enjoying it so far? It was and is a sham and a charade and our communities are paying the price!!

In Fort Langley, Brookswood / Fenridge, Willoughby and Aldergrove, our communities are struggling to be heard, unfortunately their voices are being ignored.

Issue: Aldergrove and their never ending problematic issues!

I live in Aldergrove so what I have to say speaks to what we have to look at and live with on a daily basis, which is so unnecessary. Aldergrove is in dire need of redevelopment which requires our Mayor and Council to be pro-active with business and property owners. There are a number of incentives that can be offered to entice new development which from all appearances is not being considered. This Mayor and Council are doing nothing!

In a recent Facebook exchange Councillor Bob Long suggested that the economy would look after Aldergrove’s needs, I reminded Councillor Long that we had just gone through one of the hottest economies in the last 10 years, how is it working for you now Bob?

Pool: An INDOOR POOL for Aldergrove as promised by the Mayor in a video distributed throughout the last election? NOT! They didn’t even have the foresight to put in footings for an addition in future years. So here we are with an Outdoor Pool, not asked for, a state of the art Outdoor Water Play Park (only open at best 4 months a year), not asked for and not a part of the original plan that community members spent hundreds of volunteer hours on. But this is what we get. We will have to see how it is used between October and April! All of this and totally insufficient parking!

Old Aldergrove Center Mall: We have to see the eyesore of the old mall, closed and boarded! In my previous post I detailed an interesting Press Release sent out Sunday evening complete with a political letter of support by the developer and a layout / plan of a proposal that appears to implicate members of Council in support of this project. The proposal is an insult to our community and an insult to the adopted Aldergrove Core Community Plan. All of this coming out on the eve of an election, are you kidding me? I have never heard of such a thing ever happening. I urge all residents to look at what is being proposed, we can do MUCH better. As I said this plan looks like it was created on the back of a napkin!

Downtown Aldergrove clean up: We have a strip joint / peeler bar sitting in the center of town, the main intersection. The Township should purchase this property, demolish the hotel, rezone it and put the property on the market. Our businesses / properties down the main corridor (Fraser Highway) requires significant clean up. What about our / your Economic Development officer arranging a meeting with ALL land owners and business owners, with the presence of our Mayor, to encourage all business and property owners to get with the program.

All of this in spite of the $80 + millions of tax dollars that have been spent over the past decade to provide up graded sewer facilities and Metro Water. I was responsible for initiating Metro Water into Aldergrove and Gloucester Industrial Estates so we may grow to our planned capacity. The most recent available numbers show Aldergrove’s population as 15,498 consisting of 12,007 residents in Aldergrove proper and 3,491 in Aldergrove East (Abbotsford side of the border). FYI – The Metro Vancouver regional growth strategy calls for an Aldergrove population of 25,000 by 2040.

The much needed redevelopment will only happen with the involvement of Council. The majority on this Council have proven in spades they are not up to the task! The issues throughout our municipality are serious in every corner of the Township of Langley.

Summary:

This election is for a 4 year term, we have learned through experience that 4 years is a long time IF we make a mistake. I urge ALL residents to do your homework and get out and vote. As the old saying goes, we get the government we deserve, so let’s do our best to make the right choice for a good municipal government. Let’s elect a government that treats your tax dollars as their own, that treats your opinion with value and keeps their election promises!

It is getting close for the time to VOTE; it is long past time for serious change.

IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER RE ALL CANDIDATES MEETINGS:

Thursday Sept. 27th 7:00 PM – Langley Events Center All Candidates Meeting

Tuesday Oct. 2nd 4:30 – 6:30 PM – Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce meet and greet Cascades Casino Ballroom.

Thursday Oct. 4th 6:30 PM – Fort Langley Community Association All Candidates Meeting for Township Council candidates as well as School Trustee Candidates to be held at the Fort Langley Hall. No charge to attend, but attendees can bring a non-perishable food item.

Wednesday Oct. 10th 4:30 – 6:30 PM – Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce 2nd meet and greet at the Redwoods Golf Course.

Thursday Oct. 11th 7:00 – 9:00 PM – Willoughby Residents Association All Candidates to be held at the Shepherd of the Valley Church Auditorium, 20097 72nd Ave.. A suggested donation of $5 for entry.

Friday Oct. 12th 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM – Langley Seniors Community Action Table is hosting a Township of Langley all Candidates Meeting at the Langley Seniors Centre Resource Centre in Langley City.

Tuesday Oct. 16th 5:00 – 8:30 PM – Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce hosts a debate, open to all six mayoral candidates for City and Township as part of the chamber’s dinner meeting at the Cascades Casino. Tickets are available from the Chamber.  

RG

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to the Province, the Region and the Municipality, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

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

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

It is interesting how an election campaign instills panic on the part of politicians! Bob Long has just released an announcement on the old Aldergrove Center Mall property along with a letter / endorsement of the current Council from Sonny Janda! Reading this letter and the plan can only lead one to be furious at the incompetence of those working on this concept! Who is responsible?

Everyone knows how long all of us in Aldergrove have been waiting for some activity on this site and from time to time there have been hints that something will be coming forward. Well tonight (Sunday Night) it came forward all right and in my opinion it is a complete disaster. It is an insult to the intelligence of our community, when is enough enough for Aldergrove?

This site is THE prime development site in Aldergrove. It is the site that any and all redevelopment of Aldergrove will be measured against. As our community moves forward and grows in population we have to stand together and against initiatives such as this that do nothing more than make the statement, lets throw this at them and they will like it. Just like the INDOOR POOL that became an Outdoor Pool against all promises of Council.

The Township of Langley has spent upwards of $80+ million in new sewer lines and disposal as well as Metro Water for Aldergrove and Gloucester over the past decade to service a growing community that needs redevelopment to serve an ever growing population. Back in 2010 / 11, I initiated a NEW Core Community Plan that has been widely accepted by the community. This plan of this site, if you can call it that, looks like it was created on the back of a napkin, Aldergrove deserves better.

This, by obvious design, self-serving letter, its accompanying Press Release announcement and it’s very crude plan smacks entirely of an announcement of convenience for both Mayor and Council and the developer. I have yet to see a Council publish a developer’s letter with the message that it contained. It states the following:

“Finally, we’d like to take this opportunity to wish all members of Council and Mayor, up for re-election, the very best of luck. It would be great to see the personalities who have supported us be part of our future development and realize our vision together.”

There is no date on the letter and it’s introduction states:

“RE:      Letter of gratitude for continued support on our Aldergrove Project”

Isn’t that interesting, on the eve of the election we get an announcement on the development of the Mall with an accompanying letter patting each other on the back for a second rate development plan that just doesn’t cut it, it doesn’t even come close!

It is a property owner / developer endorsement of members of Council. One look at the plan and this letter speaks volumes on what is really going on behind the scenes. We are not a second rate community and we cannot accept a second rate development. A second rate development for THE prime development site in Aldergrove? Are you willing to sit back and accept what this Council is trying to sell? This election is your chance to make your voice heard.

After all this time this announcement, if you can call it that, is nothing more than a strip mall that is just not acceptable and as I said frankly is an insult to the intelligence of our residents. The layout, for what it is, identifies 5 buildings with an internal road system. The plan is very difficult to read but it is all surface parking showing 3 stories with residential above. It does not provide a street scape with retail unit access off of 272nd Street, one of the main streets of Aldergrove. What discussions have taken place with surrounding properties that are not owned by the Janda’s? There should be an incredible opportunity to tie other properties into this development. Have staff or Council approached those owners? There is just so much that is wrong with this development, once it is approved our opportunity will be lost.

In the Janda letter they state in the opening paragraph “Please accept this letter as our show of gratitude for the continued support of our project by members of staff, Council and our current Mayor.” “Since our ownership of almost a decade ago, we regret to inform that this has been our most challenging development to-date. Restrictions on build out due to existing tenancies, riparian area regulation changes, and our changing socio-economic market, has created an uphill Battle for us.”

Questions that must be asked –

  • In the opening sentence it is obvious that staff, Council and our current Mayor have been supportive of this plan all along which should be quite disturbing to all of us.
  • “We regret to inform that this has been our most challenging development to-date.” What does this mean, we regret to inform you? This is not our problem, there are many ways the Township can assist to see a first class development take place.
  • Restrictions on build out due to existing tenancies? What? The Janda’s own the property and they have tools in their tool box to deal with existing tenants. We cannot try to redevelop a key property such as this by building around an existing tenant, what is this about?
  • Riparian area regulation changes? Yes there have been more changes brought in for set-backs, in this case on Bertrand Creek, however the density that exists under the NEW Core Community Plan offers the developer many more opportunities by adding density value to this site. We have to use our imagination in what this site can become. When I met with the Jandas we talked about a number of those opportunities, and that was at the time we were in the process of developing the Core Community Plan. Sonny Janda was a member of the Aldergrove Core Community Planning Committee.
  • Our changing Socio Economic Market comment? We have just gone through one of the hottest expanding markets in decades and nothing has been done. The economy is still strong, look at the growth in every part of the lower mainland. If it can’t be done in this environment it won’t be done. If it doesn’t work for the Jandas they should sell this property to someone who will make it work, and there are many options out there. Nobody can force the Jandas to develop this site but we can be strong about what we want to see in our community. We are not obligated to approve what they want.

Look, developers are developers, they will get whatever they can squeeze out of a community. That doesn’t make them bad or awful people but they are business people wanting to maximize their return which is understandable, and you know what, it is the Municipal Council and staff that have to make the best deal for the taxpayer. Yes we have to be reasonable in our negotiations but we also have to have someone negotiating hard, you can’t negotiate from weakness or the wrong reason like an election campaign.  

In my last year in the Mayor’s office we were looking at an opportunity to create a development zone which would offer incentives for a developer to come in and undertake redevelopment. This is not new, any incentives offered in terms of taxes or fees will show significant return to a community and the Municipality over time. Dianne Watts did this in the Bridgeview area of Surrey and there are many others across the country.

I encourage all residents of the Aldergrove area to voice their displeasure with this action on the eve of this year’s Municipal Election, it is one step to far!!

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to the Province, the Region and the Municipality, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

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

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The “South of Fraser Passenger Rail Corridor” (Interurban) Connects ALL Cities, Towns, Municipalities and Communities South of the Fraser…. Just look at the reason and rationale for our argument – Economic – Jobs – Community / Commuter access and growth – Environment and Financial responsibility (Costs per KM and Costs per Capita!). In my previous two BLOG Posts I covered the issues above from a 30,000 foot level. Now for some very real comparisons of the options….

Translink’s 10 year Plan calls for Light Rail Transit down the Fraser Highway Corridor to Langley City. WHY? It is nothing short of a short sighted parochial view that is Surrey central centric. It lacks any regional responsibility and recognition, we want to change that thinking! We have three very viable engineering reports to support our option!

I served on the Mayor’s Translink Council from 2008 – 2011 and participated on many debates with the members of the day about Metro Vancouver issues, needs and demands. I am not blaming members of that body as they are serving the population of Metro. (Up to the Eastern border of the Township of Langley – 276th Street) For starters we have to change that thinking as our regional needs for transportation goes beyond Metro Vancouver and INCLUDES the cities of Abbotsford and Chilliwack. Housing price escalation has dramatically forced thousands to move further east up the valley. Their transportation needs are looked after for the most part by BC Transit and regional needs by the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD). Is this why the transportation needs of half of the Township of Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack are not being responded to?

The West Coast Express catchment area serves a population north of the river that is 31% that of South of the Fraser. In that case it covers both the FVRD and Metro Vancouver. For the record, as mentioned in an earlier BLOG Post, Translink (West Coast Express) pays CP Rail $20 MILLION PER YEAR for the use of it’s rail line annually. That’s correct $20,000,000…. Per-year for 5 trains a day each way, PLUS Capital and Operational costs. What are they, so far they have been hidden so we have submitted an FOI request! Stay tuned for the results!

So, back to the issue at hand. The proponents of the Fraser Highway option would like everyone to forget or more appropriately ignore the cost and the tragic environmental impact (large amount of clear cutting which would be unavoidable) of the Green Timbers Urban Forest. What have we heard just lately? In the heat of an election campaign they are saying are second-class-citizens having to accept LRT and not Skytrain? That’s Skytrain and not LRT DOWN THE FRASER HIGHWAY. What? Are you kidding me, what part of the world are they living in? Since when is it their turn and right to be irresponsible with our tax dollars? What possible rationale argument can be made to support the Fraser Highway option that is responsible? I believe the following answers that question!

If you read my earlier BLOG Post we touched on the cost issue. Obviously however, the impetus to that cost escalation for Phase 2 (Surrey LRT – 104th as well as King George Blvd.) was land speculation that fed land acquisition inflation costs as admitted by the Translink CFO in a public oral statement. Extrapolating that inflation factor we have projected the total cost of Phase 3, Fraser Highway to Langley City (16.6Kms) to be an estimated cost just shy of $4,000,000,000 (that is $4 BILLION) as compared to the FREE USE of a 99Km passenger corridor, protected by a previous Provincial Government for passenger service. To be clear that is 4,000 – $1,000,000,000.

Looking at the benefits of the South of Fraser Passenger Rail Corridor the Fraser Highway option can be nothing more than a land deal. If approved we will all pay with our tax dollars!

This corridor sits a short 5 kms south of the Fraser Highway option, right thru the town/community of Newton! The state of the art reactivation of the South of Fraser Community Passenger Rail cost would be $1,200,000,000., as stated we have three engineering studies to support our position. FYI – Newton was created by the BC Electric Railway going through that community on or about 1910.  

I was very pleased to see one of our region’s premier columnists (Vaughn Palmer) with the Vancouver Sun broach the subject of cost escalation on our just announced transit projects, questioning how these costs have escalated to such an extreme level. (Van. Sun update Sept. 5th 2018) (Van. Sun update Sept. 6th 2018) These are questions that are long overdue being asked, so a well done to Vaughn Palmer! It would be worth everyone’s time to view these two columns. Now where are the answers he has asked for?

So lets lay out the expansion of Transit and their costs. We will start at the beginning with the EXPO Skytrain line circa 1986!

Expo Line – 1986

21.4 Kms – Length of the original Expo Line

$854 Million – Final project cost (1986 Dollars)

$39.90 Million – Per Km Cost                           

Included elevated stations

Included elevated guideways

Included bridging

Millenium Line Extension – 2002

31.2 Kms – Length of the Millenium Line

$1.2 Billion – Final Project cost (2002 Dollars)

$38.46 Million – Per Km cost                                                            

Included elevated stations

Included elevated guideways

Canada Line – November 30th, 2009

19.2 Kms – Length of Canada Line                                   

$2.1 Billion – Final Project Costs (2009 Dollars)

$110 Million – Per Km cost               

Included bridging

Included cut and cover tunnels

Included elevated stations

Included elevated guideways

Evergreen Line – December 2nd, 2016

10.9 Kms – Length of Evergreen Line             

$1.43 Billion – Final Project Cost (2016 Dollars)

$131.19 Million – Per Km cost                                         

Included extensive tunneling

Included elevated stations

Included elevated guideways

When viewing the proposed projects in terms of value for money it is relevant to compare to past projects and ask the questions that are obvious, what are the reasons for the dramatic escalation in project costs. As I have stated, the above costs are in the dollars of the year indicated and the projects have a varying number of differences with respect to tunneling, bridging, cut and cover and elevated guideways and stations. For the purpose of our discussion and comparison, all of that makes the costing of Surrey LRT that much more remarkable. WHY?

Now lets look at the recently approved Transit Projects, the distance and the cost for Surrey LRT and the Broadway subway corridor. Remember this is only Light Surface Rail with obviously surface stations.

IMPORTANT NOTE RE COSTS: The following costs were identified in 2016 (dramatically increased over 2012 and 2015 estimates), costs are expected to increase dramatically over the following 2016 estimates due primarily to land costs as per statements from Translink. We are using their numbers!                                           

Surrey LRT

10.5 Kms – Length of Surrey Newton / Guildford Line

$1,080,000,000 (BILLION$) – 2015 Estimated Cost Project Cost

$570,000,000 (Millions) – Project cost escalation in 3 years primarily due to land speculation.                       

$1,650,000,000. (BILLION$) – April 30th, 2018 final projected cost estimate.

$157,142,857. – (Millions) Cost per KM                        

NOTE – Significant Land cost per translink.

                                   

Broadway Millenium Line extension to Arbutus

5.8 Kms – Length of Broadway project

$2,830,000,000. (BILLION$) – April 30th 2018 final projected cost estimate

$487,931,034. – (Millions) Cost per KM

 

Projected Phase 3 – Surrey Center to Langley City LRT

16.6 Kms – Length of line Surrey Center to Langley City

$2,608,571,426. (BILLION$) – 2016 Estimated project cost based on Surrey Newton / Guildford.                                 

$157,142,857. – (Millions) Cost per KM

$3,900,000,000. (BILLION$) – 2024 Estimated project cost based on Sur. Newton/ Guild. Cost Escalation

$234,939,759. – (Millions) 2024 Estimated cost per KM based on land speculation of Surrey LRT.

2 KMs through ALR (No population / Fry’s Corner section)

NOTE – Significant Land cost per Translink

 

“OUR PROPOSAL – The Benefits”

Comparing the South of Fraser passenger Rail Corridor vs Fraser Highway Option

99.23 Kms – Length of South of Fraser Passenger Rail Corridor

16.6 Kms – Fraser Highway LRT

 

$1,240,375,000. – Estimated Project Cost of South of Fraser Passenger Rail Corridor (All In – 2023 Dollars)

$3,900,000,000. – Estimated Project Cost of Fraser Highway LRT (2023 Dollars)

 

$12,500,000 – Estimated Cost per KM of South of Fraser Passenger Rail Corridor

$234,939,759. – Estimated Cost per Km of Fraser Highway LRT

 

Land Cost – Free on South of Fraser Passenger Rail Corridor

Land Cost – High on Fraser Highway LRT

 

Universities / Post-Secondary Institutions served – South of Fraser Passenger Rail Corridor 14

Universities / Post-Secondary Institutions served – Fraser Highway LRT 3

 

Communities / Towns / Municipalities served – South of Fraser Passenger Rail Corridor 16

Communities / Towns / Municipalities served – Fraser Highway LRT 4

 

Population Served – South of Fraser Passenger Rail Corridor 1,200,000

Population served – Fraser Highway LRT 80,000

 

First Nation Communities served – South of Fraser Passenger Rail Corridor 4

First Nation Communities served – Fraser Highway LRT 0

 

Serves the Abbotsford International Airport

(1,000,000 passengers in 2019) – South of Fraser Passenger Rail Corridor YES  

Serves the Abbotsford International Airport

(1,000,000 passengers in 2019) – Fraser Highway LRT NO

 

Services Tourism and Agri-tourism – South of Fraser Passenger Rail Corridor YES

Services Tourism and Agri-tourism  – Fraser Highway LRT NO

 

Services Campbell Heights and Gloucester Industrial Parks – South of Fraser Passenger Rail Corridor YES   

Services Campbell Heights and Gloucester Industrial Parks – Fraser Highway LRT NO

 

Dramatic intrusion into Green Timbers Urban ForestSouth of Fraser Passenger Rail Corridor NO 

Dramatic intrusion into Green Timbers Urban Forest – Fraser Highway LRT YES

 

Remove cars from Highway #1South of Fraser Passenger Rail Corridor YES

Remove cars from Highway #1 – Fraser Highway LRT NO

 

Protect Environment & Fraser Valley Air ShedSouth of Fraser Passenger Rail Corridor YES 

Protect Environment & Fraser Valley Air Shed – Fraser Highway LRT NO

 

7.9% the cost per KM of Sur. to Lang. LRT

20.23% of the cost per capita of Sur. LRT”

 

Per Capita Servicing Costs Based on Catchment Areas

Approved Surrey LRT

300,910 – The Population of Surrey Newton / Whalley / Guildford

$1,650,000,000 – The April 30th 2018 estimated project cost.

$5,483 – Cost per Capita

 

Projected Phase 3 – Surrey Center to Langley City LRT (Estimate based on Surrey LRT costs)

510,698 – The Population of Langley City / Willoughby / Clayton / Brookswood, Murrayville & Surrey less S. Surrey. 

$2,608,571,426 – The April 30th 2018 estimated cost using Surrey LRT numbers.

$5,107.85 – Cost per capita (Based on todays cost)

$7,636.61 – Cost per capita (Based on anticipated costs 2024) 

 

“Our Proposal”

State of the Art South of Fraser Passenger Rail Corridor

1,200,000 – The Population of the area Pattullo Bridge to Chilliwack

$1,240,375,000. – The project cost based on 2010 Leewood projected cost plus inflation.

$1,033.64 – The “Cost per capita!”

 

By any measure, the South of Fraser Community Passenger Rail Corridor is head and shoulders superior to the Fraser Highway Corridor!

Value for money!

Service for Transportation dollar spent!

Fiscally / Financially responsible!

Protection of the Environment!

Job Development and growth and access!

Economic Impact for the region!

Fraser Valley Community Growth and Development!

Reduction of cars from all east west roads in the valley easing movement!

Ease of commuter movement!

 

Summary:

As they say “It is Priceless” – A very short story. In 2009 / 10 a gentleman named Tom Prendergast was the President and CEO of Translink, as some will remember. As a member of the Translink Council I invited Tom out to our Boardroom so we could make a presentation to him and his team on what we had available to us in the region. (Tom came to us from the US East Coast.) I told him that I thought that we had something particularly unique but he informed me that there were literally thousands of these corridors throughout North America. For the most part they were all abandoned in and around 1950 with the advent of the car and our highways. The thought of the day was they wanted to sell off these corridors so as to not have competition years down the road. What is of interest though AND VERY UNIQUE (in his words) according to Tom Prendergast was the vision of a Provincial Government of the day that didn’t sell it off but protected it for future passenger use. Tom was interested at the time to initiate a demonstration line, unfortunately Tom was sought after by the New York Transit Commission for the position of President and CEO and left about 4 months later. He ended heading up the world’s largest Public Transit authority in the world. The Municipal led South of Fraser Passenger Rail Task Force which I formed with Councilors from Delta, White Rock, Surrey, Langley City, Township of Langley and Abbotsford, was not renewed by Jack Froese, the current Mayor of the Township of Langley. Why, is the question? Was it pressure from the likes of Peter Fassbender and Rich Coleman? Just asking! Past reputations are hard to hide from, just saying!

It is our goal through Translink, BC Transit and the Provincial Government to form a Provincially endorsed, community led South of Fraser Community Passenger Rail Task Force. This task force would hold community meetings from Kennedy Heights in Delta up to Chilliwack to determine community support for such an initiative. This would be a very timely community process (before any firm decision or commitments are made for Phase 3) to establish the issues, needs and interest of the 1,200,000 residents that would be affected. More to come, stay tuned!

To the question on which option to choose, we are prepared to leave that up to the recommendations of a South of Fraser Community Rail Task Force that would consider ALL Options and present independent advice to Translink and the B.C. Government. Obviously our opinion is to Say NO to the Fraser Highway option and YES to open up the Fraser Valley Transportation corridor out to Chilliwack. We have made our case and will be making it further over the next number of months. Implementation and activation would be fast, it would be state of the art and it would provide economic stimulus throughout the valley, it would help feed 14 University Campuses, reduce the number of vehicles commuting and solve the environmental issues in the valley. Having said that, we want decisions to be made that are well thought out, and responsible to the region and not just one community.

DO YOU WANT A PRESENTATION OF THIS PLAN? We have started booking presentations starting Sept. 4th and through the fall. If your community association, business association, society, service club or political organization would be interested in a detailed presentation of this initiative our team would be pleased to do so. We have a very detailed presentation including an 8 ft. map, Shaw video documentary and much much more. Our contact information is listed below.

VOLUNTEER – If you are interested in getting involved in our campaign by volunteering please contact us through the email below.

NOTE: This post is only the start of an intensive and extensive campaign for the reactivation of the South of Fraser Community Rail Corridor (Interurban Corridor) from the Pattullo Bridge through to Chilliwack! Much more to come, stay tuned!

Special Note: Our 28 minute Shaw video documentary of this rail line (produced in 2010) is on this BLOG site, click on the “S Fraser Community Rail tab” on the top tool bar to view or the following link – https://langleywatchdog.com/topics/

 

W.R. (Rick) Green

Former Mayor Township of Langley (2008 – 2011)

Home / Office 604 607-7338 – Cell 604 309-7795

Email creeksidefarms@shaw.ca

On behalf of VALTAC – Valley Transportation Advisory Committee Members:

Lee Lockwood, Roy Mufford and Peter Holt

 ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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The “Smart and Only Way” To Fiscally, Economically and Environmentally Solve the South of Fraser’s Transportation & Transit Deficit! “Pattullo Bridge to Chilliwack”, Tourism, Business or Community – WHAT IS STOPPING US?

A 99 Km State of the Art Community Light Rail Passenger Service from the Pattullo Bridge to Chilliwack, that will contribute significantly to  economic growth, create thousands of jobs, serve 1.2 million citizens, Sixteen cities and communities, major industrial parks, Abbotsford International Airport (expect 1,000,000 passengers in 2019), Agri Tourism, FOURTEEN Post-Secondary Institution Campuses and much much more!

All of this on an existing protected rail line at NO COST for use; 99 kms at a TOTAL COST that is 48% of the TOTAL COST of the proposed 16 Km LRT line down Fraser Highway from Surrey Center to Langley City or 20.23% of the per capita cost! Langley City and the community of Clayton would receive the same service and the taxpayer would pay 7.9% of the per-KM cost of Surrey LRT, PLUS serve the ENTIRE Fraser Valley while we are at it!

So to the question of WHY? Why would anyone in elected office or with staff responsibility to recommend or implement a viable option do so that is so fiscally, economically and environmentally IRRESPONSIBLE? Did anyone do their homework? Was or is there an ulterior motive? What about the potential for land deals for friends and insiders? It is a license to print money! I have spent years as an Alderman and a Mayor, I say this with some significant knowledge of how the system works and who gets to be heard, in certain communities. Speculators with inside knowledge have done very well at the public’s (your) expense. Think this isn’t a possibility? Think again! After all, it is all paid for with YOUR tax dollars!

So let’s consider a recent real life example? The just approved Surrey LRT line was estimated in 2015 (publicly) to cost $1.08 Billion, today it has been approved at $1.65 Billion, that is an increase of $570 million (a 53% increase) in a very short three years. Two important points to remember “1” the Translink CFO explained at the announcement that the increase in cost was largely due to an increase in land acquisition cost (surprise) and “2” remember this project has been considered in Surrey for the best part of the last ten years. Was there time for Speculation on land OR Insider info? You bet! Given this example, can you imagine the inflationary cost of property acquisition (by say 2022/24) on the Surrey Center to Langley City line down Fraser Highway? Remember any property acquisition will be paid for through with tax dollars, not the private sector. So the dollars I talk about below are the Surrey LRT numbers of today, using the Surrey Center to Langley line length extrapolated into a proposed cost using today’s dollars. It wouldn’t be out of the question that the per-KM cost could easily grow to $240 Million (Per KM), which cannot happen with this protected Passenger Rail corridor. The corridor is owned by the Provincial Government, B.C. Hydro and protected for passenger use at NO COST by sales contract and agreement.   

We will get to the reasons why we have to start doing what is right for the region, but first some important history. It all started back in 2009 leading up to the general election.

As Mayor in the early Spring of 2009, in the process of researching Township rights related to the heavy rail / Interurban Corridor that passed through our community, I was able to uncover the Master Agreement (previously unknown) covering what is known as the Joint Section (the Pratt Livingston Corridor – roughly 232nd Street thru to Cloverdale). This Master Agreement came about due to the B.C. Government’s sale (1988) of the B.C. Hydro Freight Division, which included rolling stock and rails but NOT the corridor. Essentially the corridor, as part of the agreement allowed for freight use for the full corridor (Now Southern Rail) and for freight use on the joint section by CP Rail. Interestingly enough this Master Agreement, for the joint section, was a 21 year agreement renewable at either parties wish expiring in August of 2009. Why 21 years, nobody knows? The Master Agreement expired in August of 2009.

FYI – Our neighbor Peter Fassbender, Mayor of Langley City at the time was made aware of these developments as they occurred. For reasons still yet to be determined and still in question, he was never willing to come to the table to fight for such a beneficial development that would have served his community and region in such a significant way. Why? Interestingly the following happened? Again you have to ask the question WHY?

A short time after the above, surprise, surprise, then Premier Gordon Campbell, leading up to the election, (votes anyone) prompted and fed by then Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender, announced (out of the blue) that they would build a Skytrain from Surrey Center to Langley City. A more IRRESPONSIBLE idea you could not find (I will explain my reasons for that comment shortly)! But it caught some traction locally, all-be-it it was helped along when Peter Fassbender was chair of the Mayor’s Translink Council at the time. I might add that in a subsequent Translink Board election he was defeated. He did not hold that position for long.

Well we mobilized all municipalities (Mayor’s and Councils) South of the Fraser with a letter writing campaign forcing the Master Agreements renewal through Bob Elton, then CEO of B.C. Hydro in June of 2009, two months before our citizen’s rights (your rights), were lost forever. What rights? There are a number of important protective clauses in the Master Agreement but there are two in particular! First is the fact that the Master Agreement protected the passenger rights use of this corridor (Joint Section) at NO COST, Second is the fact that should double tracking be required on the joint section due to use of the corridor for freight and passenger service, that double tracking will be done at CPs expense. Use of this corridor with today’s technology would NOT negatively affect the flow of freight movement in any way. It may cost CP Rail some double tracking on the joint section but then again they signed THE agreement, confirming they would pay its cost!

Just remember – WORDS MATTER, LEGAL CONTRACTS MATTER AND AGREEMENTS MATTER!

“For a comparison” the West Coast Express (North of the River) costs Translink in LEASE costs paid to CP Rail $20,000,000 per year (That is correct $20 MILLION PER ANNUM). Mission is paying Translink $780,600 per year for their share of this service with their contract coming up for renewal in 2019. These costs DO NOT include annual operational or capital costs, a number which IS NOT available through Translink’s financial report. What are they? Why aren’t they listed separately?

So let’s get back to the substantial reasons, specifically why we should implement the South of Fraser Corridor and NOT consider LRT down Fraser Highway! Langley City and the Clayton area of Surrey can benefit along with the entire Fraser Valley with this corridor. The Facts!

Cost Effective – This proposal for the 99.23 KMs South of Fraser Passenger Rail Project’s (Pattullo Bridge to Chilliwack) total cost is 7.9% of the Cost per KM of the projected 16.6 km Surrey to Langley City LRT line down Fraser Highway! It is 20.23% of the Cost per Capita of the Surrey to Langley LRT line. 99.23 kms from Scott Road to Chilliwack that is FREE to the Province for passenger service unlike the Westcoast Express costing taxpayers, again in excess of $20,000,000 per year for its use to CP Rail plus capital and operating costs! OR let’s put it in plain talk – (these are in today’s dollars based on the cost of the current Surrey LRT.)

  • Proposed 6 km Surrey to Langley City LRT $157,142,857 per-km – Total $2,608,571,426. NOTE – In 2022 dollars based on the property and cost appreciation experience of the Surrey LRT (last three years) it could easily come in at $240,000,000 per-km for a Total cost of $3,999,000,000.
  • Our proposal – 23 km Pattullo to Chilliwack LRT $12,500,000 per-km – Total cost $1,240,375,000. NOTE – This is already publicly owned land; land cost escalation is NOT an issue!

Protects THE Environment – This proposal Eliminates the need to clear cut a large amount of the Green Timbers Urban Forest in Surrey! In addition 1 Train removes 177 cars from Hwy #1 and their emissions from the Fraser Valley Air Shed. It would protect the environment utilizing NEW Proven European Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology, dramatically reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions!

Economy / Job Growth – This proposal would Directly BOOST economic growth through the low cost movement of residents and goods South of the Fraser! It would provide direct access to the Abbotsford International Airport for passengers and employment access up and down the valley! (It is projected that passenger numbers by 2019 would be 1,000,000 passengers.) It would provide direct access to jobs throughout the Fraser Valley, including industrial parks, currently with no or very limited transportation access.

Ease of Regional Movement – This proposal would support and form an integral part of a coordinated and comprehensive transportation network for the entire region. Close to 3 million residents within the region will be able to move between North and West Vancouver, Vancouver out to Chilliwack using Bus, Seabus, West Coast Express, Skytrain and Light Rail! It would dramatically reduce traffic congestion on Highway #1 and on ALL east west road corridors.

Ease of Commuter Movement – Through a network of Park n Rides throughout the South side of the Fraser (Pattullo Bridge to Chilliwack) featuring low cost commuter stations (similar to Europe) residents of the South of Fraser will have access to this state of the art system. This system would also be served by a bus network (Ribs) feeding the rail system (Spine) in a similar fashion to that created and occurring in Greater Vancouver with Skytrain.

Ease of Movement for Fraser Valley First Nations – The Township of Langley, the City of Abbotsford and the City of Chilliwack are home to significant First Nations communities. Sto:Lo, Ts’elxweyeqw Tribe, Sumas, Matsqui and Kwantlen First Nations will receive significant benefit from this service. This service would help to connect these First Nations through convenient and inexpensive transportation to populations within 16 Communities, 14 University Campuses, Industrial Parks, Airports and Special Interest venues from Chilliwack to West Vancouver! This transportation would be key to significant employment access and therefore significant job opportunities!

Promote Fraser Valley TourismThis proposal would open up the Fraser Valley and its attractions (Wineries / theme parks / Game Farm / Bike Tours and general Tourism) with access from Vancouver to Chilliwack! Open up transportation access to the growing Agri-Tourism industry throughout the Fraser Valley!

Access to Affordable Housing with transportation to support it Affordable housing is being searched for by those currently trying to live and survive in Metro Vancouver. The suburbs from the Township of Langley East are becoming THE destination of choice. Unfortunately readily accessible and cost effective transportation is the missing link. The Interurban Corridor is THE solution to that problem.

Access to Post-Secondary Education – This proposal would Connect Fourteen Post-Secondary Institution Campuses and 58,000 Students and Staff daily South of the Fraser between Surrey and Chilliwack. Improve Access – Increase Enrollment! The Locations are:

  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey Town Center
  • Simon Fraser University Campus, Surrey Town Center
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Newton
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Cloverdale
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University, City of Langley
  • Trinity University, Township of Langley
  • University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford
  • Aircraft Maintenance Training Center / Flight Instruction Abbotsford Airport, Abbotsford.
  • Canada Education Park Chilliwack –

Home to:

  • University of the Fraser Valley
  • CBSA – Canadian Border Services Agency
  • Canadian Forces
  • JIBC – Justice Institute of BC
  • RCMP – Pacific Region Training Center
  • CPC West

In Summary: It is long past time that our government considers cost efficiency, practicality, fiscal responsibility, economic responsibility and environmental responsibility when making significant decisions for our region moving forward. It is long past time that we look at the Lower Mainland (Whistler through to Chilliwack) as a region onto itself with one transportation provider, not two as it is today. This capital project should have no-effect on the current carbon gas tax that is held within the Metro Vancouver Regional District Boundaries. Residents North of the Fraser have the West Coast Express that serves a much smaller population at an annual rail lease cost of $20,000,000 PLUS capital and operating costs. The Interurban Rail line use cost is ZERO plus annual capita and operational costs thanks to the Provincial Government of the day. Let’s campaign for common sense, it is long overdue.

It is our goal to convince Translink, the Translink Mayor’s Council and those elected this October South of the Fraser that we want a revision to the Translink 10 year Transportation Plan. This campaign will be intensive and extensive! We are pushing to establish a Provincial endorsed Community led South of Fraser Community Rail Task Force comprised of a cross section of community members and elected municipal politicians. It will be the Task Force’s mandate to the Provincial Government, Translink and BC Transit to prove the value and interest in this intiative.

Say NO to the Fraser Highway option and YES to open up the Fraser Valley Transportation corridor out to Chilliwack. Implementation and activation would be fast, it would be state of the art and it would provide economic stimulus throughout the valley, it would help feed 14 University Campuses, reduce the number of vehicles commuting and solve the environmental issues in the valley.

Again, FACTS matter, WORDS matter, LEGAL CONTRACTS matter and AGREEMENTS matter!

DO YOU WANT A PRESENTATION OF THIS PLAN? We have started booking presentations starting Sept. 4th and through the fall. If your community association, business association, society, service club or political organization would be interested in a detailed presentation of this initiative our team would be pleased to do so. We have a very detailed presentation including an 8 ft. map, Shaw video documentary and much much more. Our contact information is listed below.

VOLUNTEER – If you are interested in getting involved in our campaign by volunteering please contact us through the email below.

NOTE: This post is only the start of an intensive and extensive campaign for the reactivation of the Interurban Corridor from the Pattullo Bridge through to Chilliwack! Much more to come, stay tuned!

Special Note: Our 28 minute Shaw video documentary of this rail line (produced in 2010) is on this BLOG site, click on the “S Fraser Community Rail tab” on the top tool bar to view or the following link –  https://langleywatchdog.com/topics/

W.R. (Rick) Green

Former Mayor Township of Langley (2008 – 2011)

Home / Office 604 607-7338 – Cell 604 309-7795

Email creeksidefarms@shaw.ca

On behalf of VALTAC – Valley Transportation Advisory Committee Members:

Lee Lockwood, Roy Mufford and Peter Holt

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

The “Smart and Only Way” To Fiscally, Economically and Environmentally Solve the South of Fraser’s Transportation & Transit Deficit! “Pattullo Bridge to Chilliwack”, Tourism, Business or Community – WHAT IS STOPPING US?

A 99 Km State of the Art Community Light Rail Passenger Service from the Pattullo Bridge to Chilliwack, that will contribute significantly to  economic growth, create thousands of jobs, serve 1.2 million citizens, Sixteen cities and communities, major industrial parks, Abbotsford International Airport (expect 1,000,000 passengers in 2019), Agri Tourism, FOURTEEN Post-Secondary Institution Campuses and much much more!

All of this on an existing protected rail line at NO COST for use; 99 kms at a TOTAL COST that is 48% of the TOTAL COST of the proposed 16 Km LRT line down Fraser Highway from Surrey Center to Langley City or 20.23% of the per capita cost! Langley City and the community of Clayton would receive the same service and the taxpayer would pay 7.9% of the per-KM cost of Surrey LRT, PLUS serve the ENTIRE Fraser Valley while we are at it!

So to the question of WHY? Why would anyone in elected office or with staff responsibility to recommend or implement a viable option do so that is so fiscally, economically and environmentally IRRESPONSIBLE? Did anyone do their homework? Was or is there an ulterior motive? What about the potential for land deals for friends and insiders? It is a license to print money! I have spent years as an Alderman and a Mayor, I say this with some significant knowledge of how the system works and who gets to be heard, in certain communities. Speculators with inside knowledge have done very well at the public’s (your) expense. Think this isn’t a possibility? Think again! After all, it is all paid for with YOUR tax dollars!

So let’s consider a recent real life example? The just approved Surrey LRT line was estimated in 2015 (publicly) to cost $1.08 Billion, today it has been approved at $1.65 Billion, that is an increase of $570 million (a 53% increase) in a very short three years. Two important points to remember “1” the Translink CFO explained at the announcement that the increase in cost was largely due to an increase in land acquisition cost (surprise) and “2” remember this project has been considered in Surrey for the best part of the last ten years. Was there time for Speculation on land OR Insider info? You bet! Given this example, can you imagine the inflationary cost of property acquisition (by say 2022/24) on the Surrey Center to Langley City line down Fraser Highway? Remember any property acquisition will be paid for through your tax dollars, not the private sector. So the dollars I talk about below are the Surrey LRT numbers of today, using the Surrey Center to Langley line length extrapolated into a proposed cost using today’s dollars. It wouldn’t be out of the question that the per-KM cost could easily grow to $240 Million (Per KM), which cannot happen with this protected Passenger Rail corridor. The corridor is owned by the Provincial Government, B.C. Hydro and protected for passenger use at NO COST by sales contract and agreement.   

We will get to the reasons why we have to start doing what is right for the region, but first some important history. It all started back in 2009 leading up to the general election.

As Mayor in the early Spring of 2009, in the process of researching Township rights related to the heavy rail / Interurban Corridor that passed through our community, I was able to uncover the Master Agreement (previously unknown) covering what is known as the Joint Section (the Pratt Livingston Corridor – roughly 232nd Street thru to Cloverdale). This Master Agreement came about due to the B.C. Government’s sale (1988) of the B.C. Hydro Freight Division, which included rolling stock and rails but NOT the corridor. Essentially the corridor, as part of the agreement allowed for freight use for the full corridor (Now Southern Rail) and for freight use on the joint section by CP Rail. Interestingly enough this Master Agreement, for the joint section, was a 21 year agreement renewable at either parties wish expiring in August of 2009. Why 21 years, nobody knows? The Master Agreement was due to expire in August of 2009. We caught it in time!

FYI – Our neighbor Peter Fassbender, Mayor of Langley City at the time was made aware of these developments as they occurred. For reasons still yet to be determined and still in question, he was never willing to come to the table to fight for such a beneficial development that would have served his community and region in such a significant way. Why? Interestingly the following happened? Again you have to ask the question WHY?

A short time after the above, surprise, surprise, then Premier Gordon Campbell, leading up to the election, (votes anyone) prompted and fed by then Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender, announced (out of the blue) that they would build a Skytrain from Surrey Center to Langley City. A more IRRESPONSIBLE idea you could not find (I will explain my reasons for that comment shortly)! But it caught some traction locally, all-be-it it was helped along when Peter Fassbender was chair of the Mayor’s Translink Council at the time. I might add that in a subsequent Translink Board election he was defeated. He did not hold that position for long.

Well we mobilized all municipalities (Mayor’s and Councils) South of the Fraser with a letter writing campaign forcing the Master Agreements renewal through Bob Elton, then CEO of B.C. Hydro in June of 2009, two months before our citizen’s rights (your rights), were lost forever. What rights? There are a number of important protective clauses in the Master Agreement but there are two in particular! First is the fact that the Master Agreement protected the passenger rights use of this corridor (Joint Section) at NO COST, Second is the fact that should double tracking be required on the joint section due to use of the corridor for freight and passenger service, that double tracking will be done at CPs expense. Use of this corridor with today’s technology would NOT negatively affect the flow of freight movement in any way. It may cost CP Rail some double tracking on the joint section but then again they signed THE agreement, confirming they would pay its cost!

Just remember – WORDS MATTER, LEGAL CONTRACTS MATTER AND AGREEMENTS MATTER!

“For a comparison” the West Coast Express (North of the River) costs Translink in LEASE costs paid to CP Rail $20,000,000 per year (That is correct $20 MILLION PER ANNUM). Mission is paying Translink $780,600 per year for their share of this service with their contract coming up for renewal in 2019. These costs DO NOT include annual operational or capital costs, a number which IS NOT available through Translink’s financial report. What are they? Why aren’t they listed separately?

So let’s get back to the substantial reasons, specifically why we should implement the South of Fraser Corridor and NOT consider LRT down Fraser Highway! Langley City and the Clayton area of Surrey can benefit along with the entire Fraser Valley with this corridor. The Facts!

Cost Effective – This proposal for the 99.23 KMs South of Fraser Passenger Rail Project’s (Pattullo Bridge to Chilliwack) total cost is 7.9% of the Cost per KM of the projected 16.6 km Surrey to Langley City LRT line down Fraser Highway! It is 20.23% of the Cost per Capita of the Surrey to Langley LRT line. 99.23 kms from Scott Road to Chilliwack that is FREE to the Province for passenger service unlike the Westcoast Express costing taxpayers, again in excess of $20,000,000 per year for its use to CP Rail plus capital and operating costs! OR let’s put it in plain talk – (these are in today’s dollars based on the cost of the current Surrey LRT.)

  • Proposed 16.6 km Surrey to Langley City LRT $157,142,857 per-km – Total $2,608,571,426. NOTE – In 2022 dollars based on the property and cost appreciation experience of the Surrey LRT (last three years) it could easily come in at $240,000,000 per-km for a Total cost of $3,999,000,000.
  • Our proposal – 99.23 km Pattullo to Chilliwack LRT $12,500,000 per-km – Total cost $1,240,375,000. NOTE – This is already publicly owned land; land cost escalation is NOT an issue!

Protects THE Environment – This proposal Eliminates the need to clear cut a large amount of the Green Timbers Urban Forest in Surrey! In addition 1 Train removes 177 cars from Hwy #1 and their emissions from the Fraser Valley Air Shed. It would protect the environment utilizing NEW Proven European Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology, dramatically reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions!

Economy / Job Growth – This proposal would Directly BOOST economic growth through the low cost movement of residents and goods South of the Fraser! It would provide direct access to the Abbotsford International Airport for passengers and employment access up and down the valley! (It is projected that passenger numbers by 2019 would be 1,000,000 passengers.) It would provide direct access to jobs throughout the Fraser Valley, including industrial parks, currently with no or very limited transportation access.

Ease of Regional Movement – This proposal would support and form an integral part of a coordinated and comprehensive transportation network for the entire region. Close to 3 million residents within the region will be able to move between North and West Vancouver, Vancouver out to Chilliwack using Bus, Seabus, West Coast Express, Skytrain and Light Rail! It would dramatically reduce traffic congestion on Highway #1 and on ALL east west road corridors.

Ease of Commuter Movement – Through a network of Park n Rides throughout the South side of the Fraser (Pattullo Bridge to Chilliwack) featuring low cost commuter stations (similar to Europe) residents of the South of Fraser will have access to this state of the art system. This system would also be served by a bus network (Ribs) feeding the rail system (Spine) in a similar fashion to that created and occurring in Greater Vancouver with Skytrain.

Ease of Movement for Fraser Valley First Nations – The Township of Langley, the City of Abbotsford and the City of Chilliwack are home to significant First Nations communities. Sto:Lo, Ts’elxweyeqw Tribe, Sumas, Matsqui and Kwantlen First Nations will receive significant benefit from this service. This service would help to connect these First Nations through convenient and inexpensive transportation to populations within 16 Communities, 14 University Campuses, Industrial Parks, Airports and Special Interest venues from Chilliwack to West Vancouver! This transportation would be key to significant employment access and therefore significant job opportunities!

Promote Fraser Valley TourismThis proposal would open up the Fraser Valley and its attractions (Wineries / theme parks / Game Farm / Bike Tours and general Tourism) with access from Vancouver to Chilliwack! Open up transportation access to the growing Agri-Tourism industry throughout the Fraser Valley!

Access to Affordable Housing with transportation to support it Affordable housing is being searched for by those currently trying to live and survive in Metro Vancouver. The suburbs from the Township of Langley East are becoming THE destination of choice. Unfortunately readily accessible and cost effective transportation is the missing link. The Interurban Corridor is THE solution to that problem.

Access to Post-Secondary Education – This proposal would Connect Fourteen Post-Secondary Institution Campuses and 58,000 Students and Staff daily South of the Fraser between Surrey and Chilliwack. Improve Access – Increase Enrollment! The Locations are:

  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey Town Center
  • Simon Fraser University Campus, Surrey Town Center
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Newton
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Cloverdale
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University, City of Langley
  • Trinity University, Township of Langley
  • University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford
  • Aircraft Maintenance Training Center / Flight Instruction Abbotsford Airport, Abbotsford.
  • Canada Education Park Chilliwack – Home to:
  • University of the Fraser Valley
  • CBSA – Canadian Border Services Agency
  • Canadian Forces
  • JIBC – Justice Institute of BC
  • RCMP – Pacific Region Training Center
  • CPC West

In Summary: It is long past time that our government considers cost efficiency, practicality, fiscal responsibility, economic responsibility and environmental responsibility when making significant decisions for our region moving forward. It is long past time that we look at the Lower Mainland (Whistler through to Chilliwack) as a region onto itself with one transportation provider, not two as it is today. This capital project should have no-effect on the current carbon gas tax that is held within the Metro Vancouver Regional District Boundaries. Residents North of the Fraser have the West Coast Express that serves a much smaller population at an annual rail lease cost of $20,000,000 PLUS capital and operating costs. The Interurban Rail line use cost is ZERO plus annual capita and operational costs thanks to the Provincial Government of the day. Let’s campaign for common sense, it is long overdue.

It is our goal to convince Translink, the Translink Mayor’s Council and those elected this October South of the Fraser that we want a revision to the Translink 10 year Transportation Plan. This campaign will be intensive and extensive! We are pushing to establish a Provincial endorsed Community led South of Fraser Community Rail Task Force comprised of a cross section of community members and elected municipal politicians. It will be the Task Force’s mandate to the Provincial Government, Translink and BC Transit to prove the value and interest in this intiative.

Say NO to the Fraser Highway option and YES to open up the Fraser Valley Transportation corridor out to Chilliwack. Implementation and activation would be fast, it would be state of the art and it would provide economic stimulus throughout the valley, it would help feed 14 University Campuses, reduce the number of vehicles commuting and solve the environmental issues in the valley.

Again, FACTS matter, WORDS matter, LEGAL CONTRACTS matter and AGREEMENTS matter!

DO YOU WANT A PRESENTATION OF THIS PLAN? We have started booking presentations starting Sept. 4th and through the fall. If your community association, business association, society, service club or political organization would be interested in a detailed presentation of this initiative our team would be pleased to do so. We have a very detailed presentation including an 8 ft. map, Shaw video documentary and much much more. Our contact information is listed below.

VOLUNTEER – If you are interested in getting involved in our campaign by volunteering please contact us through the email below.

NOTE: This post is only the start of an intensive and extensive campaign for the reactivation of the Interurban Corridor from the Pattullo Bridge through to Chilliwack! Much more to come, stay tuned!

Special Note: Our 28 minute Shaw video documentary of this rail line (produced in 2010) is on this BLOG site, click on the “S Fraser Community Rail tab” on the top tool bar to view or the following link – https://langleywatchdog.com/topics/

 

W.R. (Rick) Green

Former Mayor Township of Langley (2008 – 2011)

Home / Office 604 607-7338 – Cell 604 309-7795

Email creeksidefarms@shaw.ca

On behalf of VALTAC – Valley Transportation Advisory Committee Members:

Lee Lockwood, Roy Mufford and Peter Holt

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

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.

So work with me on this…. The public are being asked, in an election year, by a citizen who has had an ongoing fight over his developments with the Township of Langley (by his own admission), who is planning to run for Mayor (will decide this summer) to trust his public announcement with respect to his desire to set up an Eric Woodward Charity Foundation.

Mr. Woodward states that this foundation will be run by a Community Board of Directors, (for the most part) who will manage his property portfolio for the benefit of Community Charities and Causes.

Well here are a number of reasons to openly question his intentions:

Quotes from The Province Glenda Luymes August 12th, 2018

On Friday, Woodward said the sites, including three acres of mixed-use commercial and multi-family properties worth an estimated $18 million, will be transferred from his Statewood Properties Ltd. to the Eric Woodward Foundation over the next few months.

The foundation, overseen by a board of directors headed by former White Rock mayor Tom Kirstein, will take control of redevelopment. Woodward said he is not selling his property to the foundation, but he will be reimbursed for it. Future profits will go to local charities.

“will be transferred from his Statewood Properties Ltd. to the Eric Woodward Foundation over the next few months.” –

Question – Over the next few months? When exactly?

“Woodward said he is not selling his property to the foundation, but he will be reimbursed for it. Future profits will go to local charities.” – Not selling his property to the foundation, but he will be reimbursed for it? Future profits will go to local charities?

Question – What profits from where, read on!

In just a short review of the newspaper story, his Press Release and some investigation of the facts I have the following Questions?

  • Indefinite? Used repeatedly – The definition of Indefinite is “lasting for an unknown or unstated length of time?” Example – Local charities and causes will become the beneficiary of all future development and indefinite rental profit related to three Fort Langley development assemblies on Glover Road between Mavis Avenue and 96th Avenue, which will be indefinitely overseen by an independent Board of Directors of mostly Fort Langley residents, for up to 100 years or more. Questions – Indefinite Rental Profit? What and for how long? Indefinitely overseen by an independent Board of Directors? Question – How long?
  • Is the Foundation legally set up yet? If not how can the public have assurance that what they are told will be delivered? Would TOL staff or Council approve of a development without all pertinent and appropriate agreements and signatures in place? NO!
  • What revenue will be available from the Foundation that the Board of Directors will manage?
  • How many Directors will be on the Board of Directors of the Foundation? Who selects the Directors (should resignations occur)? What is the weight of each board members vote? Equal? Does Eric Woodward carry a Veto vote? (If so the Foundation is potentially nothing more than a tool to attempt to shield Eric Woodward from charges of a conflict of interest.) Are the Directors of the Foundation covered by liability insurance to protect them from lawsuits?
  • How independent are the Board of Directors? What are their terms of appointment?
  • They state that management will safeguard key principles for it’s management – What are those key principles?
  • They state they will be publicly accountable.. – How, to who and for what?
  • It is stated that it will take a short while to tie up all legal agreements… – So it appears the expectation is that this move of setting up a Charitable Foundation is based on trust with NOTHING IN WRITING, just based on verbal trust? There is too much riding on verbal trust.
  • What is meant by causes? Who decides on what causes? Does anyone on the Board have Veto power over decisions of the Board?
  • Debt on Eric Woodward’s property holdings? In researching the detail of Eric Woodward’s property holdings the best we could find is the following –
    • There are 19 addresses pertaining to Eric Woodward’s Real Estate Holdings
    • The assessed value of these holdings is just over $40,000,000.
    • There are 10 addresses with Mortgages totaling just over $34,000,000.
    • There is one property with an unknown mortgage amount but a monthly payment amount of $8,900. included in the following total.
    • There are 11 monthly mortgage amounts totaling over $379,000. per month.
    • NOTE – Eric Woodward would have the exact amounts.

Questions –    Presumably there would be development of a number of properties? How will that affect the total debt of the Foundation and any potential for donations to the community? Or causes?

How will the existing debt affect the performance of the Foundation?

I am posing the above only because the greater community of the Township of Langley is being asked to accept and support a proposition on what appears to be a benefit to our community. IF it was just a personal decision by the proponent to form a foundation holding his properties there would be no need to announce it to the community, he or they would just do it, none of our business.

Unfortunately all of these questions are only relevant should Mr. Woodward run for Mayor this year which appears to be the case. As we see it if Mr. Woodward kept his property holdings as is and won the election he would have to recuse himself from any debate, discussion or votes on virtually anything to do with Fort Langley. (Conflict of interest) If he sets up this foundation as suggested under the overriding issue of him running for Mayor and he won, we as residents should be very concerned that there would be an attempt to absolve himself of any potential conflict of interest given the Foundation? Even though it was set up in the manner being suggested, with Eric Woodward very possibly holding a veto vote over the Foundations decisions.

As a resident of the Township of Langley I appreciate those in our community who are willing to set up Foundations designed to make our community better. Unfortunately this Foundation carries with it too many questions as of today that could have a detrimental effect on our community. Read the above very carefully, there is just far too much unknown before any endorsement of support is given by anyone in the community for the sake of the community.

If the proponent can have a foundation set up legally in writing which answers the above questions of concern that adequately answers in time 5 – 6 weeks BEFORE the election, GREAT!

Again, IF the proponent can successfully answer the above questions I am all over it in support.

Why should we care? Because Eric Woodward is making it a community issue, it appears at first glance to be an attempt to shield his properties from a charge of conflict of interest to allow for his run for Mayor.

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern and/or interest to Township of Langley Residents, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

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

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left hand corner under recent posts.