We were blown away by Councillor Grant Wardâ€™s lack of understanding of the Willoughby parking issue when we heard his comments at the Feb. 24 Township council meeting. We found some parts of his comments demeaning, portraying us as second-class citizens.
It seemed like he hadnâ€™t paid attention to our discussions with the council, and had not read any of the related documents.
He referred several times to concerned citizens as a â€œfew people.â€
If he had listened to our December 2013 delegation or read the submitted documents, he would know that, at the time, there were 150-plus petitioners
Furthermore, we also indicated that 321 units from the neighbourhoods of Pepperwood, Yorkson South, Yorkville, and Kingsbury were impacted.
If you take an average family size of three to four persons per unit, the number of residents impacted comes to 963-1,284.
The group has grown since then and is only going to get bigger, as the area grows and new residents move into the neighbourhood. So, to call them a â€œfew peopleâ€ and dismiss their concerns is insulting.
Coun. Ward said, â€œItâ€™s unfortunate that some of our citizens now feel that they bought too small of a house that excluded an extra parking spot.â€
The issues brought forward are bigger than an extra parking spot for a house. Residents of our community are intelligent enough to understand that an extra parking spot for a home is not going to solve the problem.
He should realize that the majority of the issues are related to visitor parking, and not resident parking.
And what gives him the right to call our homes â€œtoo small?â€ We have never said that. Is he suggesting that citizens living in â€œsmall housesâ€ are less important and donâ€™t have the right to raise their concerns?
We give credit to the council for easing parking restrictions during the 2013 holiday season. It allowed us to celebrate without the worry that our guests, especially the elderly, would have to walk up to half a kilometre from the nearest available parking.
But the concerns raised were not restricted to Christmas celebrations. Our families and friends are integral part of our life and are worth having over more than just on Christmas.
The Townshipâ€™s Sustainability Charter notes, â€œQuality of life can be achieved in many ways. It is reflected in where we live, in how we choose to spend our time, and in the satisfaction that comes from doing things we value and enjoy. Providing residents with the best possible quality of life is a priority for the Township of Langley.â€
Whether Coun. Ward is in favour of providing the best possible quality of life to all citizens or only selected ones remains to be seen.
The decisions councillors make have impact on the lives of real people. So, regardless of whether you support our case or not, citizens should be treated with respect, and councillors should learn the facts of a case before discussing it or voting on it.
We deserve at least that much.
Ashish Kapoor, Levy Manuel, Michael Coombs, Courtney Wade, and Judy Gill
Yorkson South, Kingsbury, Yorkville & Pepperwood Communities.