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Langley Township is making serious noises about separating from both Metro Vancouver and TransLink, and there are some legitimate reasons to discuss the issue.
There is no question that TransLink service to this area is abominal. There are very few buses that get beyond the Fraser Highway and 200 Street corridors, and the only buses that come into Langley frequently go to Langley City. Beyond that, service is minimal.
Delays are very common. The bus to Aldergrove does not run late at night, and even runs at limited times during the day. If you happen to miss it, you will wait for more than half an hour — minimum.
Some buses on that route are supposed to run through the North Otter area, but I am told they don’t always show up.
Langley was set to get a better bus service on the new Port Mann Bridge, using the new bus lanes, but that has been put on hold due to TransLink funding challenges. Meanwhile, a park and ride lot in Willoughby is being built at huge expense.
The Metro Vancouver issue is a bit different.While Langley Township uses water and sewer services from Metro, it partially uses Township wells as well. However, the fastest growing area of Langley (Willoughby) needs extensions of Metro services to fully develop.
While Metro Vancouver gets in the way occasionally on land use issues, something that should not be part of its mandate at all, one of its most popular services in Langley is the system of regional parks, of which there are many.
Campbell Valley, Aldergrove Lake, Brae Island, Derby Reach and Glen Valley parks are all very popular with Langley residents.
While those parks won’t go away if the Township leaves Metro, whopays for what may become more of a challenge. Would those parks be taken over by a new Fraser Valley-based regional district or not? Matsqui Trail Regional Park is in Abbotsford, yet is still run by Metro.
There are some good reasons for Surrey, Delta, White Rock and the two Langleys to work more closely with other Fraser Valley municipalities. But should that be in the form of a new regional district?
In many ways, what might make the most sense is to have one overarching body for all Lower Mainland municipalities, but have it only deal with truly regional issues and actual serviices, rather than planning issues which are seen very differently in different communities.
There is no way that the mayors of Vancouver and Burnaby should be dictating land use policy in the Fraser Valley, and likewise the mayors of Langley Township and Abbotsford have no business dictating planning issues in Vancouver.
If there was such a mega-district (and it should hav no connections to TransLink, which is a much more complicated issue), there could be regional sub-committees for the Burrard Peninsula, North Shore, South of the Fraser and Fraser Valley.
One other regional note — Langley gas stations must charge 17 cents in TransLink gas tax, yet on Sunday some stations from the same oil company were selling gas for 130.9 in Murrayville and 147.2 in Willoughby.