Petrina Arnason 20 Q for Langley Township councillor (expanded answers only)

 

1. Should a new OCP allow increased density in Brookswood and Fernridge? 

Don’t Know. The failed Brookswood/Fernridge OCP draft amendments highlighted a deep division between residents wishing to maintain the integrity and scale of their semi-rural community and those wishing to add more density to accommodate more housing and commerce.  The interests of the existing community are paramount and the community values of the existing residents and the environmental integrity of the local forests and aquifer need to play a key role in future consultation regarding any changes that may occur. More information and dialogue is necessary to ensure that any additional density that may be considered will not be at the cost of the livability of this very special area and that the unique character of these communities will not be irreparably harmed. 

 

2. Should Township council act to slow down development of Willoughby? 

YES. I believe that the identified lack of infrastructure, schools and other amenities are adversely affecting the current residents and that the TOL should review its policies and plans in order to ensure that the growth on the Willoughby slope is managed in concert with the provision of necessary services.

 

3. Does the Township do enough to help ensure there are enough schools in developing areas? 

NO. A recent article in the local newspaper indicated that the Township has finally entered into more senior level discussions with the provincial government and the School District with respect to how to provide the necessary number of schools for the fast-developing Willoughby area.  These discussions need to provide concrete plans for how to fund the required number of schools for the influx of students associated with the high density development.

 

4. Would you vote in favour of a tax increase? 

Don’t Know. Local government is charged with a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that tax dollars are wisely spent.  I have made many public statements regarding the need for strong fiscal management and financial prudence so that we will be economically sustainable as a community. This requires a balancing of interests and prioritizing expenditure in order to ensure that we meet our commitments for fire, safety and infrastructure, as well as to provide expanded services to our rapidly developing area all within an appropriate budget envelope. I am very concerned that many families and seniors and low-income earners are struggling with the burden of rising taxes with no end in sight. If elected, I will promote the adoption of a comprehensive “cost/benefit” analysis framework to all larger public works and other amenities and expenditures that could negatively impact over-all affordability vis a vis taxes.  I would also work very hard to ensure that the TOL keeps taxes to their lowest possible level without jeopardizing livability and safety within the Township.

 

5. Would you support tolling ALL Metro Vancouver bridges to fund transit? 

YES.  I broadly believe in the “user pay” policy and that the costs of developing new bridge infrastructure should be borne primarily by those deriving the primary benefit from its use.  Those south of the Fraser should not be unduly penalized with a toll if other bridges, both current and future, are not tolled in a similar manner.

 

8. Should a tree protection bylaw be applied to the entire Township? 

YES. I believe that a robust and comprehensive “Tree Protection Bylaw” should be applied to entire Township and that any pre-development activities that would allow clear-cutting or other excessive and deleterious tree removal prior to receiving a development permit should be included in the Bylaw.

 

9. Should developers be required to provide more low-income housing in the Township?

YES  The TOL “Housing Action Plan” has identified the need for the Township to work in collaboration with other partners in order to ensure the adequate provision of “affordable” housing options.  The onus for the provision of more “price sensitive” housing cannot be solely downloaded onto developers but must be shared by local government and other agencies in order to ensure fairness with respect to the distribution of this “subsidy” to a number of partners. Initiatives such as waiving DCC’s by local government or up-zoning for the provision of higher density in return for affordable units are some of the mechanisms that have been successful in other communities. 

 

10. Should the Township create more bike lanes and public cycling infrastructure? 

YES. I believe that bicycles are a viable and healthy mode of transportation and they support healthfulness and are good alternative to cars for some. It is important to ensure that those choosing this option are afforded adequate safety through the provision of bike lanes and other infrastructure that can be built into new roadways.

 

11. Do you support the construction of high rise developments in Willoughby? 

NO I feel that the current plan to include high-rises in the Gateway area (200th Street corridor) will provide sufficient density to support public transit and that the density levels in Willoughby should not be increased.

 

12. Should the Township open sales of municipal lands to public scrutiny in advance? 

YES.  I strongly support more consultation and vetting of the sale of “surplus” municipal lands as they are a finite community resource which should not be liquidated without broader public dialogue about other options.  More particularly, I believe that “best practices” need to be maintained in order to ensure that we are not selling environmentally sensitive properties or green space as per the Sustainability Charter. 

 

13. Should the Township commit to building the Aldergrove rec centre and pool regardless of land sales? 

YES I support the building of an Aldergrove Pool which meets the requirements of the Aldergrove Pool Committee and would allocate priority funding to this project.

 

14. Should the Township ensure that roads, sidewalks, and crosswalks are in place prior to the completion of new developments? 

YES Public safety is jeopardized when residents move into a community without adequate infrastructure. The Township of Langley recently endorsed an “Age Friendly Strategy” and should be utilizing this as a lens for all new development regarding the provision of safe communities for all ages. 

 

15. Is the Township doing enough to protect agricultural land? 

NO. The majority of TOL Council has recently supported a number of urban developments within the ALR. This “spot zoning” results in further land speculation and an increase in land prices which precludes the continuation of farming in those areas as the land becomes unaffordable.  The Township Council should work more collaboratively with Metro Vancouver and the ALC in order to ensure that such applications are not endorsed and to further ensure that any “benefit to farming” potentially arising from these developments are proportional to the harm arising from undermining our agricultural land base.

 

16. Does the Township need more parks? 

YES. As the TOL grows and develops more density will result in the need for the TOL to provide passive parks and more green space and connecting trails for residents.

 

17. Does the Township need more sports and recreation facilities? 

Don’t Know  This has recently been reviewed in the 10 year Master Parks Plan by Parks and Recreation with public consultation.

 

18. Should more firefighters be hired, even if it means a tax increase? 

YES  With increased density there is a need for more firefighters and this needs to be included in the budget to ensure that we are meeting Worksafe and other legislated standards.

 

19. Should more RCMP officers be hired, even if it means a tax increase? 

YES There is new information with respect to the potential that the provincial government may mandate that municipalities and districts participate in a regional RCMP initiative. This policy would obviously impact our ability to make local policing choices. 

 

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

YES. I believe that there should be further intergovernmental discussions about the rationality of amalgamating in order to achieve efficiencies and cost benefits to taxpayer within the TOL and the City.  In the event that there is no immediate consensus about this going forward, I believe that there could nonetheless be other ways in which our communities could work together. 

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