Editorial — Langley's importance

The importance of Langley on the regional and provincial scene sometimes gets lost in the endless media chatter about Vancouver, or on occasion, Surrey.
Langley does not have the population that either of those cities has, and likely never will. But its importance as a strategic regional hub, good place to live, vital agricultural area and a Lower Mainland crossroads shouldn’t be diminished.
Because there are two municipalities in Langley, people from outside the community often get confused. Many times one mayor or the other is cited as “the mayor of Langley.” Because there are two municipalities, some regional politicians tend to diminish the importance of each one.
And yet there are as many people living in Langley right now as there are in the three North Shore municipalities, two of which also have the same name.
In the longer term, Langley will have significantly more people. Willoughby alone is projected to one day be home to 75,000 people and when development in Brookswood and Fernridge finally occurs, it could easily be home to another 50,000 or more.
Langley also has a very strong commercial and industrial base, which means there are thousands of jobs here. At one time a few years ago, there were more jobs than residents of working age. While that may have changed a bit with the economic downturn, the job picture here remains strong.
Politically, Langley’s two MLAs have plenty of clout in Victoria. Rich Coleman and Mary Polak are backing Kevin Falcon for leader, which is one reason he paid a visit here Wednesday. If he becomes premier, they will have lots of influence in the new government.
Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender has had lots of influence regionally, particularly when he headed up the TransLink mayors’ council. However, some other mayors felt he was too close to the provincial government and voted him out. Nonetheless, he continues to have more influence than the size of the City would warrant.
As Langley continues to grow, so will its influence. It’s important that the community speaks with a strong voice and is well-respected.

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