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Smart growth debate takes place Feb. 23

A debate over smart growth will take place next Thursday (Feb. 23) at Langley Township council chambers, 20338 65 Avenue.

With the Metro Vancouver region set to grow by another one million people over the next 20 years, and with most of that growth set to occur south of the Fraser River, there has been a call by many academics and urban planners to change the way  communities are built. South Fraser OnTrax, which advocates for smart growth design principles such as making transit a priority and building neighbourhoods that provide a variety of housing options, is sponsoring the debate between two well-known speakers with different perspectives.

Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, whose research has been used by governments worldwide, will be debating Randal O’Toole, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. He has taught environmental economics at Yale, UC Berkeley, and Utah State University on the future of land use and transportation planning.

Litman is a strong proponent of smart growth principles and high-quality public transit while O’Toole has been an outspoken critic.

“For many years we have talked about building more sustainable community and better transit,” says Nathan Pachal of OnTrax, “but many in our communities are not sold on the ideas that this is the way to go. This debate will allow both perspectives to be expressed and let people decide what future they want for our region.”

OnTrax, with the support of a City of Langley grant, is hosting this debate from 7 to 8:30 p.m.  on Feb. 23. This free event is open to all members of the public. They will hear both sides of the debate and question Litman and O’Toole.

Seating is limited and reservations are recommended. See southfraser.net or facebook.com/events/317650071605846/ for more information, and email southfraserblog@yahoo.com to reserve a seat.

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