Here are some of the issues I hope to address, if elected. Keeping in mind this list will evolve as I hear your thoughts and experiences.
Let's Start a New Conversation
The Township of Langley is growing, but in our rush to create ever more housing, we risk losing sight of what brought many of us to this community in the first place: the presence of rural lands that exist side by side with urban amenities. We need to start a new conversation, one that takes into account that we are a community of communities. It is a time for collaboration, between municipal government and community members to ensure we are engaging in inclusive long term planning.
Community Minded Development
- Affordability - young families, seniors, renters and those with complex housing needs must be able to find themselves home in the Township of Langley. Are we accounting for the 'missing middle'? Many Canadians have a goal of "ageing in place" and desire a home that is within walking distance to amenities and close to transit. ACTION: Support and encourage housing development like the Shepherd of the Valley/Catalyst project at 200St./72 Ave. Collaborate with prov. government to expand affordable childcare spaces in the Township. Identify childcare facilities as a community amenity in the development approval process. Support spaces through the provision of municipal building space (i.e reduced lease,etc).
- Increased Transit - by making transit options plentiful and efficient throughout the Township, we are increasing productivity, reducing traffic congestion and positively impacting the environment. ACTION: Work with TRANSLINK to increase routes as needed. Increase amenities and safety measures on bus routes throughout the Township of Langley. Transit users in the TOL require well-lit stops with shelters and/or benches.
- Urban design with a 'people first' approach - sidewalks are essential for walkability and safety, at a time when people are looking to drive less, walk more, we should be designing roadways/intersections with people in mind, protecting vulnerable road users like seniors, children and cyclists. Our quality of life improves when people feel safe and find walking through the Township enjoyable. ACTION: Ensure community plans include adequate sidewalks, including mixed use trails where possible. With the increased population we will see increased traffic on our roads, we need to encourage alternatives to driving where possible (i.e increased transit, cycling, or walking). Traffic gridlock impacts efficiency and wellbeing of our residents. NOW is the time to preserve adequate green space and recreational facilities. If we are truly creating communities that are vibrant and healthy, we need to ensure people have space to connect with nature and exercise.
- Partnership with School District - healthy communities form relationships that positively impact residents lives. With continued growth, we can expect a need for more schools and communication with SD35 becomes critical to ensuring our children have a school to attend that is safe and located within a reasonable distance from their home. ACTION: Improved coordination with SD35 on community planning decisions (i.e new school planning and school closures/consolidations). View schools as "community hub" and ensure adequate classroom space for children living in new developments.
- Food Security - with approx. 75% of land in the Township a part of the agricultural land reserve, it is important we protect our farmlands. Farms, agribusinesses, wineries, and equestrian facilities are a few important contributors to the Township economy. While growth and development continues, we need to encourage our local farming community and those that contribute to our food supply.
Confront Poverty Head On
- 10 Year Plan - Poverty is complex and becoming more pervasive in the Langley's. I would support a collaboration between the Township Council and the City of Langley to end homelessness in our communities. Not only is it a moral requirement, a reduction in poverty means cutting the enormous social costs - policing, healthcare and lost productivity. Our role at the municipal level is to advocate for our citizens and ensure other levels of government are living up to their responsibilities. We can all do better and this commitment would benefit all taxpayers (residents and businesses).
We have seen what happens when society divides people into winners and losers, us and them. That is not the community I want to raise my children in; we need municipal government to ensure the needs of all in our community are taken into consideration when decisions are made.
Encouraging the Arts & Cultural Community
- Encourage recreational, cultural, artistic and entertainment opportunities for ALL residents - With an increase in population we run the risk of becoming disconnected. By encouraging the Township's artists and creatives, we are creating opportunities for fun and connection. I would support the creation of a Cultural Centre, a destination where the arts community and the business communities can mix and share ideas. Too often, we are travelling to other communities throughout the Lower Mainland to spend our money on recreational activities. Let's keep those dollars in our community, while investing in the Township. ACTION: Create new performance or studio space by re-zoning where possible to allow unused spaces to be transformed into art spaces. Create a neighbourhood artists program in all communities, this creates an awareness of local artists and encourages art events that are accessible to a wide range of citizens. Start a discussion about expanding support of aboriginal art in the Township. Use local artists work to create community beautification projects, such as community flags, benches or public space art installations.