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Township Council debates exit from Metro Vancouver

In 1988, Langley Township joined the Greater Vancouver Regional District to better supply residents with utility services, but now council is questioning this decision for the second time in 24 years.

There are some concerns that the Township is not getting enough bang for its more than $19 million contribution to Metro in 2011, of which just over $12 million was sent to TransLink.

At a council priorities committee meeting on Monday afternoon, council flagged several issues that it sees with Metro Vancouver, including: where the Regional Growth Strategy fits in with the Community Charter and how it affects growth in Langley, special study areas such as the University district, the dissolution of the labour bureau and transit services.

“My concern is that the voices around our needs are not well listened to,” Councillor Kim Richter said during the meeting.

In 2000, council at that time allocated $30,000 to have a third party calculate how much Township was spending on Metro Vancouver versus the benefits they were getting out of it. Richter would like to see a similar study done again.

“I think that it is somewhat of a shame that 10 years later we are asking to do the same, but I for one would be very interested in seeing updated versions of those numbers,” Richter said, adding that she would like to focus specifically on transit numbers and also see an estimate of the amount of gasoline tax, fare revenue and bridge tolls that are being paid by Langley residents.

“It seems to me that transit is getting quite a chunk out of this town.

“Clearly the majority of money that is going into Metro is definitely going into TransLink,” she said.

But according to Greg Moore, Port Coquitlam mayor and chair of the Metro Vancouver Regional District board, it is important that council separates issues with TransLink from Metro Vancouver.

“They are two completely separate organizations, they are funded completely different, they are voted on completely different, they are governed completely different, there are different laws in provincial government,” he said.

The Metro Vancouver region, which is comprised of 22 municipalities, one electoral area, and one treaty First Nation, uses 84 per cent of its budget on water, sewer and garbage.

The amount each municipality pays is based on user fees. The more they consume, the higher percentage they page.

“I think you’ll be surprised when you separate the TransLink stuff, and you just focus on what Metro Vancouver is delivering, you’ll see that it is good bang for your buck,” Moore said.

A motion was carried to have staff report back to council on the cost of updating the report from 2000 to obtain current information.

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