Opinion

Marked disparity in Langley neighbourhoods

There is marked disparity between various Langley Township neighbourhoods, and even inside those neighbourhoods. The sole exception may be Fort Langley.

The figures were provided by the  Township’s community development division.

In Fort Langley, which admittedly has a smaller population than most other neighbourhoods, 19 per cent of households have an income of more than $150,000 per year, well above the Township average of 14 per cent.

On the other side of the spectrum, there were just five per cent of Fort Langley households with an income of less than $20,000 — 55 in total.

Contrast this with 700 households in Willoughby with a family income of less than $20,000. There are a total of 10,500 housing units in Willoughby — the most of any area in Langley Township.

There are 930 households in Willoughby with incomes of more than $150,000.

The figures show that 5,200 of the housing units in Willoughby have been added since 2006, and the area continues to be developed at a rapid pace.

One of the reasons there are so few “poor” people in Fort Langley, and many more in Willoughby, is the type of housing units.

There are very few multi-family units in Fort Langley. It is almost exclusively a single-family home community — 1,200 out of 1,400.

Fort Langley has also become a sought-after address, particularly since the Bedford Landing development came into town. Homes are not cheap. I recently helped a friend move out of a basement suite in Fort Langley — one of the 200 non-single-family dwelling units. The home it is located in is for sale for more than $1 million, and that is not unusual.

Willoughby, on the other hand, has a much wider variety of housing available. Many condominium units are in demand as starter homes. There are a lot of basement suites as well. Some say there isn’t enough parking, because of the suites.

One issue that Willoughby has, which undoubtedly affects the sale of condo units, is the lack of transit east of 200 Street. Fort Langley has better bus service than Willoughby, even though it is about 80 per cent smaller in population size.

Other communities have significant numbers of both “rich” and “poor.”

Aldergrove has 14 per cent of its population with incomes under $20,000, almost 50 per cent above the Township average of 10 per cent.

Walnut Grove has 16 per cent of its population with family incomes of $150,000 or more, and has the highest number of such households — 1,435.

Murrayville and Brookswood-Fernridge are more in the middle of the pack in terms of family incomes, but Brookswood-Fernridge has one distinction — there is virtually no accommodation other than single-family homes.

That factor would help explain some of the recent concerns about the community plan and its call for more multi-family housing.

The number of people with incomes under $20,000 in Langley is troubling.

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