I attended the 216th interchange protest rally on a wet, rainy Saturday morning.
This being my first protest rally, I was hoping for a positive experience which I thought would include meeting and engaging positively with some of our elected municipal officials.
What happened was one of the most discouraging experiences of my not-so-young life.
Having voted in every municipal election since moving to Langley 24 years ago, I am a believer in the political process.
In attending the rally, I did not really think there was a chance to stop the interchange, but was hoping to communicate with Langley Township in a way that would minimize the impact on this corner of Walnut Grove.
What happened in my discussion with Mayor Froese both shocked and saddened me.
In the course of our discussion, he ridiculed my concerns about the safety of children crossing the street to attend school by saying that “parents need to teach their children how to safely cross the street,” in reference to there being no crosswalks north of Topham and no sidewalk connecting to the only crosswalk on the east side of 216th.
He then backtracked and said there would be safety initiatives taking place, but when I asked the specifics of these plans, he said he didn’t know, but they were discussed in a meeting back in July.
When I pressed him about how we are constituents who are very concerned about the safety of our children, and that we really hoped that his attendance at this meeting/rally would be to address these concerns, he once again became flippant.
His response was, “Meeting? What meeting? I thought I was coming to a pancake breakfast.”
Needless to say I found both these comments disrespectful as was his whole attitude during our conversation.
I believe I was cordial and just asking very specific questions as to exactly what power the Township has in this process, and what we as constituents want to protect our community.
In mentioning again what we really wanted and believe could be done by at least preventing truck traffic through this interchange into Walnut Grove, he once again shocked me by his response
He let me know that it is not his job to do what his constituents want, but what is best for them. I guess mayor knows best!
Well, one thing I know for sure, voting for Mayor Froese is definitely not best for me, for Walnut Grove, or for constituents wanting to have a voice.
On a positive note, Councillor Arnason was in attendance as well, and was very supportive, with numerous suggestions on how to help us get our message out and to keep pressing.