Carol Gran says she felt compelled to run for Langley City Council after a homeless person took up residence underneath a ground-level deck in the 41-unit apartment building she and her husband were living in.
“He was absolutely harmless,” Gran said.
“He was just looking for a place to stay.”
Gran and her husband had just returned to Langley after living in Kelowna, where she served three years on a municipal council that was struggling to find solutions to a growing homelessness problem.
After police finally evicted the homeless man, Gran and her husband cleaned out three months worth of garbage.
It took most of a morning.
“It reeked,” Gran said.
“(There were) cigarette butts, whiskey bottles, needles and lots and lots of candles.”
No one felt good about evicting the man, she said, but there was no other option. People from social services came around, the man was offered accommodation elsewhere, but he refused help.
Gran said she was “stunned” to see how serious the homeless problem has become in Langley City, and knows from her experience in Kelowna that it will get worse if something isn’t done.
“I do believe that I have something to offer that is sadly needed,” she sad.
Gran is a former Township councillor who represented both Langleys from 1986 to 1991 as a Social Credit MLA and Minister of Government Management Services and minister responsible for Women’s Programs.
In her announcement, the candidate noted that the three Gran children were raised here and graduated from LSS.
Gran said residents living in the City core are forced to deal with significant issues, “literally right at their doorstep.”
It is the job of local governments to provide a safe and healthy environment for its citizens, she added.
Empty buildings and storefronts present a negative picture to prospective investors and residents, Gran said.
“Every problem has a solution and sometimes fresh eyes on the situation makes a difference. From taxes to the arts, from crime to business, (I) will work hard to help make our community safer, our business community more prosperous and to hold the line on tax increases.”