Population growth was on the minds of the mayors of Langley City and Township as they addressed more than 200 people at Tuesday's Chamber of Commerce meeting.
The mayors made their regular appearance to speak to the business community about the current and future state of the Langleys.
Township Mayor Jack Froese talked about how in the 1920s, when Langley had about 5,000 residents, problems were of roads, schools, and taxes.
"Today we face the same challenges, they don't go away," he said.
But now there are 104,000 people in the Township alone. He pointed to Walnut Grove's current population of 24,000, to rise to 43,000, and Willoughby's population of 22,000, to rise to 77,000.
In the next 40 years, the Township is expected to grow to between 230,000 and 240,000 people, more than currently live in Burnaby.
The goal as the new citizens arrive is to create liveable, walkable communities, Froese said. He mentioned the downtown areas of Fort Langley and Aldergove as models.
Transportation was also on Froese's mind, as he talked about the need to get funding for a widened 208th Street and its highway overpass, and for a new 216th Street interchange.
The 200th Street interchange, upgraded a decade ago, is already at capacity, he said.
The new transit park and ride in northern Willoughby by 204th Street will help create a transit-oriented community, he said.
"It's going to make a huge difference to how we move people around," he said.
Fassbender also talked about growth, noting that the City's Downtown Master Plan focuses on densification and attracting developers.
"We're four square miles," Fassbender said. "We're not huge geographically, so where are our options?"
Aside from attracting new higher-density condo projects, along with businesses like the auto mall on the Langley Bypass, Fassbender said the City needs to renew its infrastructure.
"You don't get a lot of photo ops when you dig up a sewer line," he said, but the work is necessary.
After they spoke, Froese fielded two questions about the future of Brookswood. The neighbourhood has long been considered the next site of development, and Froese admitted that property speculators and developers are already starting to buy there. But with Willoughby far from finished, he said there is little time for Township staff to give to planning Brookswood's expansion.
Peter Luongo of the Langley Ukulele Ensemble asked whether the Langleys will create a performing arts facility soon.
"The challenge, for us, are competing needs," said Fassbender. The City is committed to it in the future, but where and how quickly are the questions, Fassbender said.
@ Copyright 2013