Q2: 20 Questions for Langley Township Council candidates

Jack Froese (for MAYOR) – No. In the last 3 years the rate of growth has slowed by 17%.  Current OCP’s  and NP’s were created years ago after extensive consultation with the public to guide growth in our community and we are seeing that growth now.  Therefore, it is very important that we learn what worked and what didn’t as we move forward with the new OCP’s and NP’s.  

Rick Green (for MAYOR) – Once again, like Brookswood above, a NEW Community Based Planning Model must be adopted after collaboration with the community. We have to take a step back and take a deep breath and move forward cautiously listening to the community which has been absent up to now.

Petrina Arnason – 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.

Solon Bucholz – YES. Stopping development is not a solution, as growth is essential to keep the services and the community thriving. However, at this time we are so far behind on basic services to support current (and approved) development that Willoughby and its residents are on the verge of a crisis. Current council’s hasty stamp approvals on Willoughby development are devaluing the neighbourhood due to deficient planning.

David Davis – Yes. We need to pause, take a breath and allow the infrastructure to catch up with the development already in place.

Bev Dornan – No. The market will take care of the speed of growth and Council should not artificially impact this as this will drive up prices to the consumer.

Zoshia Ettenberg – Yes. There seem to be so many issues surrounding Willoughby that I would have to say yes. We need to re look at it.

Steve Ferguson – No, Willoughby is NOT finished, therefore road networks, transit, and infill must continue in order to provide the necessary  future parks, recreation and schools. Walnut Grove once had these similar concerns and once it was completed, it is now one of the best areas to live in the region.

Charlie Fox – Unsure, development in the Willoughby area has already slowed (by 14%) this past term and this is a great start and may reflect well in to the next term. This is a complex question as there are many variables at play for consideration. Slower yes, but full consideration must be given to all aspects of this decision before it is finalized.

Clint Lee – Yes, by many accounts, Willoughby is in crisis.  The current pace of development has little regard to the liveability of Willoughby.  As a Township, we need to take stock of Willoughby and create a revised vision and plan for this area.  As many residents have told me, we need to pause so that infrastructure and schools can catch up.  We can always revisit development in the area when the circumstances allow for growth.

Patricia Lessard – YES, except for where legal obligations may come into play.  Council needs to look at the OCP for Willoughby and determine if the OCP continues to represent the needs of the community.   

Bob Long – No – The plan for Willoughby was adopted many years ago and the finished community will be just as successful as Walnut grove. The market will decide the rate of growth – the best thing is to see the neighbourhood completed. Let’s follow through with the plan! *

Jackie Mandzak – Yes. The Willoughby Official Community Plan (OCP) needs to be revisited.  Until this is done and the overall future of the Willoughby area is determined, new development must be slowed.  We cannot continue to allow the unbridled growth to continue without addressing the deficiencies that have been created.  Before future development is approved, the OCP must be revisited in order to prevent overdensification in new neighbourhoods. 

Kevin Mitchell – YES.  Currently the Willoughby  community can not absorb additional residents and will require completion of road networks and schools to permit further growth.

Scott Nichols – Yes. The existing infrastructure cannot support more development.  New applications should not be taken at this time. 

Angie Quaale – I don’t know. My goal as a new councillor is to ask good questions that lead to meaningful conversations and positive results. When it comes to the pace of development for Willoughby and other communities in our Township, here are a couple of good questions: Q: How can we “slow down” development without risking stopping it all together? Q: How do we decide which development proceeds, and which doesn’t, without favouring one over the other? There are no easy answers. Langley is an appealing place to live, and what was projected as about 30 years of growth seems to be happening in 20. As a result, investment in infrastructure has not kept pace with the accelerated rate of growth. Slamming the brakes on current projects would be incredibly disruptive. Some have suggested that we build new infrastructure in advance of new developments, but that would drive up everyone’s property tax. Residents in established communities shouldn’t have to pay for the infrastructure in growing neighborhoods that is traditionally paid for by developers. Delaying or deferring approval of new developments might help reduce our growing pains in the short term but beyond that, I think the new Township Council should review the situation and work with staff to develop a longer-term, sustainable approach to managing our growth.  

Kim Richter – YES. 4400 new housing units in Willoughby in three years and almost 10,000 new units in 6 years are just not sustainable. There are not enough schools for all the new children, not enough primary health care for all the new families, not enough parking for all the new high density developments and definitely not enough transit. This Willoughby experiment is currently failing and needs to be fixed. We need to slow down and revisit what has been done to date, and more importantly, figure out how to proceed without further damaging the fabric of what makes Langley special.

Michelle Sparrow – Yes. I believe this coming term Council will need to step back and address the situation in Willoughby. As a Council we need look at what tools we could use to address the rapid growth of our community. One way I think we can address this is by creating a Development Phasing Strategy. This has been done in other Provinces and is a model which we could follow. The Niagara region has a Development Phasing Strategy, which they described as: “The phasing strategy is an implementation tool, the objective of which is to assist in the management of  growth in Urban Areas, including Designated Greenfield Areas and Built Up Areas, to appropriately plan for orderly and logical urban development in a manner which: a) recognizes differing development opportunities across the Region; b) supports policy goals for sustainable and complete communities; and c) maximizes Regional and local servicing and infrastructure capacity and investment.” This type of tool is a critical part of the planning process, phasing is something we currently don’t plan for, but it could change the way we develop the community as a whole. The objective of building complete communities and achieving sustainable urban growth will be achieved, if we ensure the growth occurs in an orderly fashion, honours the existing urban fabric, and is in keeping with regional infrastructure plans and constraints.  I believe a Development Phasing Strategy will be a valuable tool in achieving those goals.

Dave Stark – Yes. I have never seen such a poor example of a local government paying no attention to the people side of development. They either don’t know how to plan a community, or choose not to pay attention to what the needs of children and families are when looking forward. There is NO excuse either way. Slow down Willoughby, vote in a new council, and re-group by moving back to a people/community-centered planning process. Then, and only then can the Township even consider consulting with Brookswood residents.

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