Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Langley City By-Election Candidate Q&A

During the last municipal elections in 2014, and during this by-election, the Langley Advance sent out a list of 10 questions to people running for council to answer. The Langley Advance allows candidates to answer these questions with Yes/No/I don’t know. The Advance also allows candidates to provide expanded answers, some of which will be publish in the newspaper.

One of the challenges with the Yes/No format is that many of the answers require a more nuanced response. I’ve included the complete answers to the questions the Langley Advanced asked below.

1. Should the City work to increase population density in the downtown core?
I support the City of Langley’s Downtown Master Plan. But since the plan is getting to be around 10 years old, it is due for an update. Therefore I would support a community-wide public consultation process to make sure an updated plan aligns with the needs of the community.

2. Do you support the construction of high rise developments?
There is currently no need or means to support a high rise development in Langley at this point in time.

3. Should the City do more to promote the construction of low income housing?
Langley City is already one of the most affordable communities in Metro Vancouver. There is affordable housing stock in Langley City, but the municipal government needs to work in conjunction with the Province of BC to ensure that this stock is meeting the needs of people in our community. I would support strategies to improve current subsidized housing and housing for low income seniors, plus clamp down on negligent landlords.

4. Should more RCMP officers be hired, even if it means a tax increase?
Hiring one or two RCMP officers in Langley City will do little to address the crime and homelessness issues. But if the force needs to expand due to an increase in population of our community, I would support that. Policing is the faster growing, and largest expense for City of Langley taxpayers.

5. Should the City do more to improve security around the downtown?
Yes, the City of Langley must make this a priority. Not only by repairing damage from vandalism, eliminating graffiti quickly, and ensuring all garbage is removed from our streets and parks in a timely fashion, but by also working to make Langley’s Downtown a desirable destination.

I’ve always supported Downtown Langley merchants who have worked hard to make the core an inviting destination through innovative programs, special events, and festivals with limited resources. With the help of the City of Langley, these programs can be expanded to make our core an inviting destination.

That is why I support an arts centre. This would help address security concerns as the positive activity that surrounds such a facility has been proven to reduce crime and create a stronger community.

6. Should casino revenues be used to fund general programs and reduce property taxes?
No, this would be like withdrawing your RRSP to cover daily living expenses when you don’t need to. The City currently uses the casino revenue to fund long term capital infrastructure. Without this funding: property tax would need to increase, the City would need to go into debt, or the City would have to stop investing in improving the infrastructure in our community.

7. Should the City create more bike lanes and public cycling infrastructure?

8. Should Langley City lobby to get a light rail or SkyTrain line extended to the downtown?

9. Would you support increasing property taxes to fund transit improvements?
The Provincial Government is already collecting the existing Carbon Tax which should be used for exactly this purpose.

10. Do you believe Langley City and Township should be amalgamated into one municipality?

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