Editorial — City slams door shut

No request was presented to Langley City council, asking that it agree to a study of reunification, but no matter. The issue was raised (The Times reported June 24 that a committee has been formed to petition for a study), so the City moved swiftly to slam the door shut. Council won’t even consider a study.

This ultra-defensive attitude is perfectly in keeping with past practice. City officials routinely shy away from even considering the issue, because in their eyes, that gives it credence.

The reunification issue has come up simply because some Langley residents would like more facts about whether one or two Langleys make the most economic sense.

The citizens of Langley City now know where their council stands. Although there was no debate on the issue when it came up at an open council meeting on July 18, no member of council will dare to mention that a study might at the very least answer some questions.

At the present, there seems to be no solid reason why the two Langleys should merge. The City is well-run; it  has no debt; it is free from the nasty divisions evident at Township council; and it has a well-deserved reputation for good customer service to both residents and developers.

There may be a day in the future when merger makes more sense. The City has an aging infrastructure which will need major repairs. Some of that has been financed through casino proceeds, but much more remains to be done.

The advantage of a larger municipal unit is that infrastructure can be financed by a wider tax base.Thus it costs each taxpayer less.

The disadvantage, and this was a key factor in the initial formation of the City, is that residents of one area may be reluctant to finance expenditures in another area.

If there are a significant number of City residents who would like to see reunification at least studied, they now have just one alternative. They need to identify candidates for City council who will be open to a study. Those candidates would then have to campaign on that basis, and see if enough voters back their contention that a study is worthwhile.

Such a campaign would be welcome, if for no other reason than to inject interest into what is usually a dull campaign. If it boosted voter turnout in the city, that would be a positive development.

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