A plan to hold Langley Township’s property tax increase to under three per cent was debated by council Monday afternoon.
The proposal, from a memo by Councillor Eric Woodward, would set the residential tax increase rate at 2.98 per cent for 2020 while adding 10 new RCMP officers.
When the Township’s slate of officers is below its full muster because officers have retired or transferred, but not yet been replaced, the money that would pay them goes into a reserve fund, which has accumulated several million dollars.
Woodward said the use of the funds – which were collected to pay RCMP officers originally – would allow the council to go a long way towards meeting the request of Supt. Murray Power, the officer in charge of the Langley RCMP, for 15 additional officers.
The Roads DCCs funds are to be used to pay back the Township’s general revenue for land that was purchased as part of a major land assembly last year. Included in that purchase is land for the 212th Connector, which is eligible for funding through DCCs, which are collected from developers, not property taxes.
The Willoughby Arterial Road Completion Amenity Policy (WARCAP) was almost dead last December after council failed to pass any version of it during a flurry of potential amendments.
Resuscitated at the request of Councillor Eric Woodward, who first proposed it early last year, council was shown maps of the four different versions of WARCAP and which roads they would expand, how much it would cost developers, and told what developers and local residents thought of the plans.
This preserves the existing economics, but doesn’t force taxpayers to pay any more to solve the problem," Woodward told the Langley Advance Times.
At present, widening takes place piecemeal, with developers on arterial roads completing the portion of road in front of their property. WARCAP would give the Township the ability to complete the work earlier, Mark Bakken outlined.
Langley Township council wrangled with the idea Monday evening, as the provincial government now allows cities to make their own decisions on the maximum size of extra suites.
Until recently the maximum size, set in the B.C. Building Code, was 90 square metres, or about 968 square feet.
Councillor Eric Woodward suggested moving the maximum size up to 120 square metres, or about 1,290 square feet, to allow a broader range of tenants, including families.
"Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to set some flexibility with a larger number?", said Woodward.
He noted that a larger suite size could accommodate more bedrooms and more types of tenants.
Coun. Bob Long was the only member of council to vote against the 120 square metre limit.
Langley Township councillors passed the first and second reading of the Janda Group's redevelopment proposal for a new Aldergrove Town Centre on Monday night.
Cllr Eric Woodward directed council's attention to a shared parkade proposed for phase one of the development, which the Janda Group is hoping the Township will purchase for $8 million from its 2021 budget.
Aldergrove resident Dianne Kask is in favour of the "community parkade" – as the Janda Group refers to it.
"Redevelopment of other businesses, especially the many on smaller lots, depends upon the shared parkade," Kask voiced. She believes that the redevelopment of local businesses is incumbent upon purchase from the Township.
On Monday, Woodward asked council to have Township staff make a full report on the plan, to help clarify any confusion around how the project would work.
"I’m trying to contain that frustration and present solutions to council," said Woodward.
Woodward's request for staff to explain the cost charges plan as it currently exists could revive a proposal to collect money and widen key sections of the road before development takes place.
The plan would collect fees from developers to go towards the multi-million dollar cost of widening 208th and other key roads, including those leading to local schools such as R.E. Mountain Secondary.
Langley Township councillor Eric Woodward joined the chorus of others on Wednesday afternoon when he voiced some buildings "can’t realistically be saved" in a social media post about the Alder Inn.
Photographs from the councillor reveal at least one room closed-off due to bed bug infestation and other areas in disrepair. Including a dirty bathroom and blackened, damaged pipes and walls.
"We should save buildings such as the old fire hall, but also let go of others that can’t realistically be saved, especially in central, corner locations that can be a part of a great future for Aldergrove," Woodward added.
The Township acquired the Alder Inn, including two parking lots, through a $5.4-million deal in June.
A cluster of 82 townhouses proposed for Brookswood was turned down in a tie vote by Langley Township council over concerns about its appearance and worries about the lack of neighbourhood plans.
"We have this OCP from 1987 governing from the political grave," said Councillor Eric Woodward of the project.
"Now granted, that's way better than some of the ratios we're seeing up in Willoughby," said Richter. "I’m concerned that we will take the ‘wood’ out of Brookswood."
"I simply don’t support Brookswood development... until the neighbourhood planning is completed," said Woodward.
After five months since word from the Janda Group about its 'Aldergrove Town Centre' plans for the old mall at 3100 272 Street, the development firm has announced its next public meeting.
The first phase of the project, if approved, will unveil two six-storey mixed-use buildings with commercial storefronts and apartments up top on 272 Street, a two-storey commercial building tucked behind, and a 10-storey apartment building with a commercial parkade.
Township Councillors Eric Woodward and Bob Long filed a joint motion on March 12 – which was later approved – for fast-tracking Janda Group’s submitted development proposal.
Beginning mid-August, five elementary and middle school locations will receive new traffic calming measures. Langley Township is doing the work and plans to have the initial work done before kids head back to class.
"We were asked to try and get them installed before the start of the school year," explained Township transportation engineering manager Paul Cordeiro.
Langley Township staff don’t see heritage value in several Fort Langley buildings the owner wants to demolish.
"Based on age considerations, the documentary evidence available for these buildings, and the established evaluation criteria weighed against their integrity, the subject buildings would not be eligible for heritage status on an individual basis...," Township staff concluded.
Councillors Steve Ferguson and Eric Woodward argued Monday evening that casinos like those in Langley City, Richmond, and Burnaby should share the wealth with communities without casinos.
Woodward noted that Langley City, population a little more than 26,000 people, received $7.7 million in casino revenues last year, as it hosts the Cascades Casino.
The motion called on the Township to reach out to other communities that lack casinos to petition the province to change the formula under which casino revenues are distributed.
After years of discussing the issue, Langley Township council voted in favour of a tree protection bylaw Monday evening.
The bylaw was approved unanimously, but only after the council batted around a pair of amendments proposed by Councillor Eric Woodward.
Several councillors, including Woodward and Coun. Steve Ferguson, mentioned that reviewing the bylaw again in a year might be a good idea.
Streets in Fort Langley could boast bilingual signs in the future – in both English and the Halkomelem language historically spoken by members of the Kwantlen First Nation.
The idea was suggested by Councillor Eric Woodward, who put forward a motion at a recent Langley Township council meeting.
Woodward’s motion called for the renaming of Glover Road north of the Jacob Haldi Bridge, where the road runs through and alongside the primary reserve of the Kwantlen First Nation.
Almost no community amenity contributions from development were going to make it to downtown Aldergrove before," Woodward said, "with this reform – we have fixed that.
In a Langley Township evening meeting Monday, an unanimous council vote was put through, one in favour of providing downtown Aldergrove with more resources to revitalize neglected areas.
The Janda Group has worked with Township affiliates, including councillor Eric Woodward, to propose the purchase of the commercial parkade.
"This parking structure would allow other businesses to not have to worry about parking spaces and instead build really cool urban developments," Woodward elaborated.
Langley Township’s property tax increase was reduced on Monday afternoon as council voted for amendments that cut the rate from 4.95% to 3.92%.
The council spent part of the month cutting spending, and chopped a further one per cent off Monday, largely through an amendment put forward by Councillor Eric Woodward.
The sole intent of Coun. Woodward’s motion was to have the three neighbourhood plans worked on concurrently, but to stagger the public consultation and review of the individual plans by council.
We should take our time and plan properly, not allowing the schedule to be determined by developers and land speculators.
An attempt to phase in the neighbourhood planning under the new Brookswood Official Community Plan was defeated at Langley Township council Monday.
Newly-elected Councillor Eric Woodward called for the council to stagger the completion of three of the four plans for the Brookswood-Fernridge area.
"I think we do need to take some time with it," Woodward said.
There were also surprises in Langley Township. Many issues came up during the campaign, but no major ones seemed to stick in voters’ minds as voting day approaches.
However, two incumbent councillors lost their seats. One-term councillor Angie Quaale came close, finishing ninth, 103 votes behind newcomer Margaret Kunst.
Of the newcomers, Eric Woodward had the most impressive finish – coming second in the polls, just 429 votes behind perennial poll-topper David Davis. He waged a very vigorous campaign and his profile was high even before the election.