Opinion

Langley must be an easy search

There is almost no interest by Langley City decision-makers in even talking about possible amalgamation of the two Langleys, let alone funding a study to see what the pros and cons are.

This is despite the fact that more than 3,000 Langley City residents signed a petition expressing interest in such a study. The number signing the petition came within 400 of the number who voted in the Nov. 19 election.

There are many logical reasons why Langley City doesn’t want to even think about amalgamation. First is the fact that some administrators and council members would lose their jobs. While this is always downplayed, it is a real and natural concern.

Another reason is finances. The City’s finances are in great shape. It has no debt, and a steady source of cash from the casino (about $6 million a year) helps pay for capital projects.

Another reason is customer service. City residents get a higher level of attention than Township residents do, and that would definitely suffer under amalgamation.

A fourth reason is vision. Langley City has a clear vision of where it is going as a community. The Township, not so much.

The City is actively courting developers to help reshape the community, and offers them superb customer service. This saves developers time and money. In the Township, the general attitude seems to be “sit back and let them come to us.” If a developer has an innovative idea (I know of two in particular), that seems to cause the planning department to freeze up and delay the project even longer.

If one Langley emerges, or two Langleys remain until eternity, the issue of how Langley represents itself to the world remains.

I was jolted into this train of thought by a recent conversation with a Continental Cup volunteer. He recounted to me how one curler was unable to locate the Langley Events Centre, via what I assume was a smart phone, because the program didn’t recognize Langley Township — only Langley City. It had 200 Street ending at the 6200 block, the City boundary.

We need to recognize that most people seeking information about Langley start on the Internet. They do Google searches, using a computer or smart phone. Some may try to locate places in Langley via a GPS system.

But what are they coming up with?And is the fact that there are two Langleys a big impediment in those searches, or is it a non-issue?

I don’t know the answer, but I am certain we can’t afford any barriers to people getting information.

I did a series of Google searches using a combination of words with Langley. Most of them ranked the City and Township websites very high.

However, neither website (nor the Tourism Langley site) do an adequate job of explaining the two Langleys and how they are part of one larger community.

In an age where the Internet is the gateway to the future, Langley decision-makers need to ensure that the message that gets out about this community is clear and straightforward. It’s crucial to economic and community development.

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