Langley Township candidates tackle questions on firefighting issues

No serious disagreements arose at IAFF-hosted meeting on Thursday

There were no fireworks at a debate on fire safety by the Langley Township mayoral and council candidates on Thursday evening.

Organized by the Langley Township Fire Department’s union, IAFF local 4550, the meeting drew about 200 spectators and supporters of the various candidates.

Several themes came up repeatedly throughout the meeting.

Multiple candidates mentioned the need for more full-time staffed fire halls. Currently, four of the Township’s seven halls have full-time staffing.

“I think it’s about time that Brookswood had a full time staff,” said Sunny Hundal, one of the first to speak on the topic. Other candidates largely agreed, though Kim Richter suggested it should be in the northeast quadrant of the Township, putting it near the busy and crash-prone 264th Street highway interchange.

Another repeated theme was the impact of growth on the need for more and better emergency responders.

Eric Woodward was in favour of more training for specialized rescue, including high-angle rescue techniques, and said he was surprised when he learned that Township firefighters don’t have emergency medical technician training.

Several candidates recalled fires striking their own homes, including Kerri Ross.

“The longest time in my life was waiting for people to get there,” she said, noting she now lives close to a fire hall by choice. She warned that development will bring empty houses to Brookswood, posing possible fire hazards.

Mayoral candidate Anna Remenik was one of multiple candidates who said there need to be more firefighters to keep up with the Township’s rapidly growing population.

“We simply cannot fall behind,” said Blair Whitmarsh.

“It’s going to have to grow as our population grows,” said Kim Richter.

The technical aspects of firefighting as the Township adds more tall buildings were also discussed.

Steve Ferguson pointed to the number of six-storey buildings and possible high rises in Willoughby as posing future challenges.

Angie Quaale also brought up accidents with rail cars that would require fire response.

A sometime fundraiser for the Wounded Warriors charity, Michael Pratt mentioned the need for help with PTSD among some first responders.

Mayoral candidate and libertarian Alex Joehl brought up policing, promising that if elected he would create a task force to examine replacing the Langley RCMP with a municipal force. Joehl said local policing may provide better service.

Jonathan Houweling mentioned crime, noting that a burning car was left outside his home after a recent shooting.

Overall, the evening saw no direct disagreements between any of the candidates.

In their opening and closing statements, several candidates spoke on non-emergency related issues.

Michelle Connerty said she favours a tree cutting bylaw and wants to widen 208 Street in Willoughby right away.

“It’s the central nervous system of Langley,” she said.

Petrina Arnason also called for action on the busy road. “208th Street needs to be fixed,” she said.

Stacey Wakelin wants to tackle homelessness, she said.

“Ignoring this is not the solution,” she said.

Phyllis Heppner called for the creation of a performing arts centre through a public-private partnership.

Greg Teichreib extended the discussion of services expanding from fire to parks, schools, and even childcare, which he said need to expand as the community does.

Only three candidates missed the meeting. Mayoral candidate Jack Froese had a previous engagement, and Gary Hee and Terry Sheldon did not attend.

Just Posted

The man who gave up law school to work in a homeless shelter

Joshua Medcalf is keynote speaker for 2018 Leadership Superconference at Langley Events Centre

Man who abducted and assaulted 11-year-old Langley girl has parole rules tightened

Brian Abrosimo made ‘inappropriate and sexualized’ comments

VIDEO: Langley-based Fraser Valley Fusion 2002A crowned champions in Oregon

Fastpitch team takes Triple Crown Sports Valley South 16U Tournament in Medford

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

VIDEO: Fans turn out for anniversary of iconic antique store in Langley

Weekend event was also a fund-raiser for Salvation Army Gateway of Hope

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Trump: Saudi king ‘firmly denies’ any role in Khashoggi mystery

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is travelling to the Middle East to learn more about the fate of the Saudi national

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65

Allen died in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Sockeye run in Shuswap expected to be close to 2014 numbers

Salute to the Sockeye on Adams River continues until Sunday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m.

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

Aldergrove Starfish program gets boost

Jazz Pilots for Kids donates $4,871 for after-school food program

Most Read