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May be time to leave Metro, Township mayor muses

The Township of Langley should seriously consider pulling out of Metro Vancouver Regional District and TransLink, and think about closer ties with Abbotsford, Mayor Jack Froese said on Wednesday.

Froese’s comment came after TransLink announced it would postpone expansion plans south of the Fraser River, sounding, for now, the death knell of a rapid bus service from the new park and ride at 200 Street and 86 Avenue to the Lougheed SkyTrain station.

When the  news was announced, Froese said that it confirmed the Township’s worst fears.

“I am extremely disappointed,” Froese said.

“The Mayors’ Council has done an about-face from what they voted for last year,” Froese said.

“Langley Township and other communities on this side of the river support TransLink by paying for services that benefit all other areas of the Lower Mainland. But when it comes to our turn, we have the rug pulled out from under us.”

Froese, a member of the newly-formed South of the Fraser Mayors’ Committee, which is working to obtain the transportation infrastructure needed by its member municipalities to focus attention on the area’s unique transportation needs, was one of three mayors from south of the Fraser River to oppose the vote.

“My next move is to convince my colleagues on the Mayors’ Council that this infrastructure is badly needed south of the Fraser and that they reconsider,” he said.

“We have serious needs that call for bold measures and having a temporary tax of $23 per property per year for two years is money well spent.”

Froese agrees with the Mayors’ Council and TransLink that reviewing the efficiency of TransLink is necessary and should be ongoing.

However, he added, “by removing previously approved funding sources we are only creating instability in the entire system.”

Froese confirmed that he has been talking to Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman about the possibility and feasibility of forging closer ties.

“It’s something that doesn’t hurt looking at,” Froese said.

“We have to do due diligence,” he said, adding that the Township needs to examine whether it should be linked with the Fraser Valley Regional District, or form a tie with Abbotsford.

“It’s worth looking at,” he said.

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