Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Township Council Performance Review - Jan 9, 2006 evening Meeting

Not much to report on the Council Meeting except perhaps for the “gotcha” below. The meeting took about 1 1/2 hour in total, if that. There were no delegations or presentations.

In the last Council meeting, Charlie Fox talked with concern about the Fox & Hounds pub expansion and seemed to be pleased this meeting by basically adding another tree to give the nearby residents more privacy. Then there was some discussion about bylaws and other development permits that did not seem newsworthy at all. Exciting, you should have been there. I almost fell asleep in the viewing gallery.

Even Mayor Kurt Alberts for the first time in recollection had a very short Mayor’s report. More importantly, in his report he spoke very kindly of the recent tragic passing of some community leaders. He spoke admirably and reverently of George Preston who passed away at age 74 on Sunday morning. George was the prominent local businessman who twice served as Mayor of Langley Township. He supported countless charitable, arts and community organizations since coming to Langley in the 1960s. He will be sorely missed.

The council also announced the appointments of Councillors and community representatives to the council boards, commissions and committees. You can view all the appointments on the linked Township Council Agenda (link to be posted shortly). We will try to digest and summarize our thoughts on them at some other time. If you want to share your thoughts, feel free to do so.

Langley Free Press’s First “Gotcha”

The only notice of motion was from Councillor Kim Richter and as usual this council, just as the previous council, did not pass it and no body even wanted to talk about it at all because it was not even seconded for discussion. This is not so unusual as all the lads on Council were probably very uncomfortable discussing this item because it talked about making Langley better and more accessible for the disabled, handicapped and the elderly.

By the way, if you have not noticed, Councillor Richter is the only female on a council of the 9 members. As such, please forgive this editor in future when I refer to the males on council as lads, laddies, boys, lackies, ole boys club, not so silent slate, etc. The benefit of an all male groupthink opposition to Richter’s generally thoughtful motions makes it wonderfully easy for me to lump them together under any one of the the foregoing descriptors. Really great for an Editor, not so good for Richter or the Taxpayer though!

Anyhow I digress. Richter’s motion was a followup to the last meeting when Ken Hinton, township accessiblity watchdog, and Mary Trafford, a disabled youth worker, asked the Council to consider increasing accessibility for the handicapped and giving people the ability to age in place via “universal design” standards in new home construction. Richter’s motion asked Council to require that 25% of all new construction be “universal design” and that Council ask staff to report back on the feasibility of establishing a “Melrose Place” for disabled young adults. Both Hinton and Trafford made impassioned pleas to Council for action on these issues. Richter, at least, heard them.

But as I said the Albert’s ole boys club on council always seems to shy away from uncomfortable topics. Come on laddies, at least talk about it!

The real story though is this editor kept brochures and stuff on all the new council members’ election promises and propoganda. As a new feature, we will call discrepencies to election promises “Gotcha” in the future.

We at Langley Free Press for the life of us can’t understand why Councillor Jordan Bateman did not go along with Richter’s motion or at the very least second it for discussion. This would have been a great opportunity for him to try to at least talk around his campaign pledges. His election brochure shows his top 6 “pledges to you”.

Specifically note Bateman’s pledge No. 3; “make Langley the most wheelchair-friendly community in Canada”. Not to mention his other “pledge to Langley’s seniors … improve your recreational, social and housing opportunities”. Did I miss something or doesn’t adopting, modifying or at least exploring Richter’s motion on universal design talk to Jordan’s “pledges”? How soon politicians forget! I’m baffled.

Jordan, we’re not really picking on you. We look for the obvious. This one was too easy. Any how, Gotcha.

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