Aldergrove Core Area Plan Revitilization Motion Referred in 8-1 vote
Councillor Woodward campaigned hard to support the revitalization of the downtown Aldergrove area through proactive and innovative measures and this was an obvious huge first big step. I won’t get into the nitty gritty details, but essentially his idea is to:
- increase Community Amenity Contributions (CAC’s) throughout the Township of Langley (mainly affecting developers in Willoughby) by 20%,
- to have 15% of all CAC’s go into a reserve fund designated for Aldergrove core capital projects starting with shared parking facilities and
- to exempt development within the Aldergrove Core Area Plan from all CAC’s
Obviously Councillor Woodward put in a lot of work alongside staff on this and there are a lot of ramifications for this idea. The rest of Council, quite fairly, desired more time to wrestle with the motion, eventually making a referral to staff in an 8-1 vote with Councillor Long opposed.
There are two items to address here. First, Councillor Woodward’s motion was to request staff to draft the framework for public input and future Council consideration, so basically Council just referred the motion to staff for a report to bring forward another report. Oh the bureaucracy.
Secondly, take note of the sole opposition: Councillor Bob Long. Councillor Long lives, eats, breathes Aldergrove and has often propped himself up as the defender of Aldergrove’s interests on Council. I imagine he took issue with the Woodward campaign and here in the second meeting we see diametrically opposed visions for Aldergrove. Here are some interesting Councillor Long quotes from Monday’s meeting:
“What is this feeling of ‘poor Aldergrove’? It seems to happen a lot… that there is something funny going on in Aldergrove. Well, Aldergrove is like any other community… is developing as the market sees viability…” – Councillor Bob Long
“There has been a significant amount of private investment in Aldergrove so I don’t know if we want to muck around with it. I think that when government starts to do that that could really cause an issue for the free market… let the market do what its gotta do” -Councillor Bob Long
He then goes on to concede that Aldergrove doesn’t have the land availability to do the infrastracture that is required for Brookswood which is why this is bit of a challenge. I’m not sure how this supported his view that the municipal government should sit back and do nothing to assist in Aldergrove’s revitalization. Councillor Woodward used this challenge later in his reasoning that you can’t get Willowbrook style parking on small lots in Aldergrove but you still need parking which is why shared parking is detailed in the Aldergrove Core Area Plan. This motion is meant to address the process of funding these captial projects.
Councillor Long also expressed confusion regarding what this money would go towards as if there was no goal – however, a quick reading of the motion explicitly states:
“…for community amenities, capital improvements and land acquisition within the Aldergrove Core Area Plan area, starting with multiple shared parking facilities, Township of Langley owned or contributed towards…” -Councillor Woodward
Seems like Councillor Long’s answer is right in front of him.
However, most Councillors that spoke up shared legitimate concerns regarding the idea of having development in one neighbourhood paying for capital projects in another neighbourhood. We’ve seen neighbourhoods pitted against each other in the Township of Langley before. Additionally, Councillor Long and others in past councils have had no problem selling off Township assets in one community to pay for capital projects in others, including the Aldergrove pool: so it may be a logical disassociation to oppose it on these grounds now.
Following Councillor Long’s earlier jab toward Councillor Richter regarding her fulfillment of censure requirements, Coucillor Woodward gave a verbal right hook of his own to Councillor Long in this exchange about Aldergrove:
“I respectfully disagree with Councillor Long that we are going to sit around and let the market sort it out in Aldergrove because I don’t want to be on Council for 6 terms dealing with the same situation in Aldergrove like Councillor Long is.” – Councillor Woodward
The gloves are off.