Important to pay attention to what's going on in your back yard
I don’t always pay attention to what is going on in the community, if it’s not in my back yard. But now something is happening in my back yard up in Brookswood. Maybe I should take a look. It is somewhat reminiscent of 15 years ago in Willoughby, when residents there expressed concern over proposed development.
Back then, while delegations were appearing at council, chainsaws were revving. While public hearings were being organized, bulldozers were being hired and while petitions were being carried door to door, the water and sewer pipe was being stock piled. You see, once the development signs go up, it’s pretty much a done deal.
lf you sit in a municipal budget meeting you will see the department heads presenting their wants and wishes. All valid requests, except you’ll never convince me that a new park is more important than a new fire hall. The requests are totalled up and added to the operating costs, wage increases etc., and that becomes the money they need.
On the other side of the document is the money coming in from taxpayers, grants and funds in reserve. It is never enough to pay for all the stuff they need. If you cut items from the wish lists, staff is unhappy. If you raise taxes, the public is unhappy. The only choice left is to entice more development and increase the tax base. More people, more money.
The next step is the Joni Mitchell plan where ‘You take all the trees, put ’em in a tree museum, and charge the people a dollar and a half just to see ’em.’
The Brookswood development may eventually bring 30,000 more people into the area. Are they going to make 16 Avenue four lanes and funnel them to work in Vancouver that way? Or are they going to choke and squeeze them onto 200 Street? I guess I have to go to a meeting to find out.
Will they tell me I will get sewer and sidewalks after paying my taxes for 20 years, or will those amenities just be for the new folks who have no investment in the community at all? I guess I’d better go ask someone. We do have good people on our council and they will listen and answer. Unfortunately there is also big money talking. Maybe even in a voice louder than yours and mine.
Our problem in Langley is we plan backwards. Our roads and infrastructure should go in first, then bring in people. We need a moratorium on development. We need to disband TransLink, who have no idea that people live south of the Fraser, and clean up the traffic mess the current taxpayers are in. To add more people to a bad situation makes no sense.
You only have to sit in the embarrassing situations on 208 Street, Crush Crescent, Glover Road and Highway 1 to understand we can’t move the people who live here now. With all due respect to my friend the Minister of Transportation, the new Port Mann and all the proposed overpasses should have been in place 10 years ago.
Watch, listen, go to the meetings, and ask questions, no matter where you live. It might not be in your back yard today but it could be tomorrow. At least that’s what McGregor says.
As such, they are 10 years behind and will do nothing for future development south of the Fraser.