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As Township of Langley grows, it’s falling behind on infrastructure, says mayor – BC |



The funding and construction of new infrastructure — roads, schools, community centres, and more — is not keeping pace with growth in the Township of Langley, according to its mayor.

The township’s council has approved roughly 6,000 new housing units since the October 2022 municipal election, with some 3,700 units now under constructions, Eric Woodward told Global News. The challenge is particularly acute in the neighbourhood of Willoughby, he added.

“This council has been very, very clear and very, very dedicated to catching up with that infrastructure, and that includes completing our major roads within Willoughby and also preparing for our recreation needs of the future,” Woodward said.

“We have more announcements to come so that we prepare for that growth that we know is coming in the future and we get ahead of it as much as we can within the next couple of council terms.”

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Surveillance video captures Langley Starbucks shooting

The Township of Langley has nearly 150,000 residents, a land mass of 316 square kilometres, and describes itself as a “large and fast-growing municipality.” Population estimates project it will expand to 200,000 people by 2040.

In September, the township’s council thrust big new dollars behind a planned expansion of the Langley Events Centre, which is adding two dry arena’s and three ice rinks to the centre’s recreation facilities.

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The township is also in the midst of collecting public feedback on a vision to grow and revitalize the 200 Street corridor, which stretches 800 metres on either side of the street from the Trans-Canada Highway south to 68 Avenue for 2.5 kilometres. That plan is set to include rapid bus transit from TransLink.

“That would connect the Carvolth transit exchange to the new Willowbrook Skytrain station around the 2028 time frame,” said Woodward.

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“It would be great (if), as we consider Translink’s vision for bus rapid transit, that we also contemplate what it might look like if that could ever transition to light rail or Skytrain in the future.”

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Where We Live: Discovering Fort Langley

James Hansen of Strong Towns Langley said he’s concerned with the township’s “development model,” hearing talk of large highrises along 200 Street.

“I think what we’re seeing is kind of the development model that the Township of Langley has followed for the past decade, which is trying to build new neighbourhoods, new growth, brand new neighbourhoods in isolation of existing neighbourhoods,” he described. “We really need to make sure we’re not setting up new residents for car dependency.”

Hansen said he worries that some new housing developments may not be built near much-needed amenities.

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“Langley has a very sprawling network of roads and water and sewer pipes that sometimes even stretch into rural areas,” he explained. “The maintenance and upkeep costs to subsidize those, depending on growth — we’re depending on these newer, denser neighbourhoods, and so what happens is maybe the newer areas, they don’t get everything they need because they’re helping to pay for mistakes of the past.”

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Langley Township supporting revival of Interurban tram line

Woodward, meanwhile, estimates the township is also in need of three or four new elementary schools, one high school and one middle school.

“We’ve also been very clear that we may have to slow down growth in other areas because the province hasn’t kept up with schools, hasn’t kept up, kept up with widening Highway 1, has not widened provincial Highway 10, which we call Clover Road,” he said.

“So if we’re expected to produce more housing, it’s really incumbent upon the province to do their part as well, from schools to road infrastructure to hospitals.”

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As of June 2023, the B.C. government had four major school capital projects listed for Langley, only one of which was a new school with an estimated completion date of fall 2025.

Municipalities often use fees charged to developers for new construction in order to pay for certain infrastructure, avoiding the need to increase property taxes. As of right now, those development cost charges can be applied to planned regional water, liquid waste and park infrastructure upgrades, for example.

On Tuesday, however, the province tabled legislation that, if passed, would expand the kinds of infrastructure those fees can be spent on, adding fire halls, police facilities, solid waste facilities that support new homes, and cost-shared provincial highway projects to the list, so long as the highway projects are needed to access nearby housing projects.

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