Friday, December 9, 2011

The urban/rural divide in Langley

I was chatting with a friend last night and we got talking about the urban/rural divide in Langley. There has always been tension between the urban and rural in Langley, the classic example being the separation of Langley Prairie from the Township in the 1950’s to form the City of Langley. We were looking at the last election results and noted how the majority of voters are from outside of Walnut Grove and Willoughby as are the majority of those on council; I believe Michelle Sparrow is the only councillor from that area. This is not a slight at other councillors or even Township staff as I think of all the urban infrastructure and community centres (the Langley Event Centre) that got built with that dynamic, though I know all these things have come with great struggle. Going back to the 1990’s, it was even a fight to get the Walnut Grove Community Centre built.

As urban Langley continues to grow, there will be even more pressure to build urban infrastructure and even more opposing pressure from those that are in rural Langley that don’t see the value. With the current dynamic of Township council will the rural voice weight more heavily? Will those in rural Langley value transit service, green boulevards, bike lanes, community centres, and libraries that primarily serve urban Langley? Will they see it as paying for someone else's services?

I know there are some in Langley that want to see the City and the Township become one again. I think there is a higher chance of Willoughby and Walnut Grove becoming part of the City of Langley than an amalgamation to occur. While I’m sure the Township will find a balance, I feel that there will always been this urban/rural tension.

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