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Consult public about transit, TransLink told

Only weeks after Langley City agreed to pay $50,000 towards TransLink’s study for a transit exchange, Township council has agreed to contribute the same amount.

But Councillor Charlie Fox told TransLink planning manager Jeff Busby that the public must be consulted.

TransLink is proposing to prepare a Transit Exchange Concept for both the Willowbrook area and Langley City. Included is a plan for a bus exchange for the Willowbrook area.

When the issue came before council on Oct. 17, council would not agree to Councillor Kim Richter’s suggestion to add Willoughby to the study.

According to a report to council, TransLink has developed four concepts for the Langley area, favouring the one which has frequent service from the west to serve Willowbrook and terminate in downtown Langley City,

Other elements of this option support frequent service from the north terminating in the City, and services from the south, east and northeast serving downtown Langley City and terminating in Willowbrook.

This scenario would require two exchanges. Buses serving Brookswood, Murrayville, Aldergrove and Fort Langley would stop at the downtown Langley City exchange, before going on to Willowbrook.

Frequent service buses on 208 Street would terminate in downtown Langley City.

A report to council stated that the study would be used to develop a concept and area plan for the Willowbrook Transit Exchange that would:

• ensure all transit services can be accommodated, and roads which would provide safe and efficient access to the exchange;

* create high quality passenger environments;

* integrate sites within 500 metres of the exchange for neighbourhood redevelopment; and

* use cycling and walking networks to connect transit exchanges with surrounding neighbourhoods.

Fox was adamant that the study involve “serious public consultation,” and not, as he put it to Busby, “Here, folks, this is what we are going to do.”

TransLink will hold discussions with Township staff, Busby responded.

“It’s the people riding the bus you need to consult with,” Fox said.

The Township and City’s combined contribution of $100,000 accounts for one-third of the total cost of the study.

If the money is not forthcoming, Busby said, there will be no study.

“Ah, so you’ve got us over the barrel, just like the two cents a litre gas tax,” said Councillor Kim Richter.

Things grew testy when Mayor Rick Green said he was shocked that TransLink would be asking the Township for more money when, as the Township has often complained, it does not receive the level of service for which it pays.

“I find it totally objectionable,” Green told Busby.

This remark prompted Councillor Steve Ferguson to admonish the mayor, telling Green to treat Busby “with a little dignity.”

Green and Councillor Kim Richter opposed paying the $50,000.

Busby said that TransLink hopes to complete the study by the end of 2012.

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