Wednesday, May 22, 2024

VIDEO: Making the case for Langley City, in Ottawa

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Less than two weeks after Langley City Mayor Nathan Pachal took the unusual step of issuing a video request to the federal housing minister for a meeting to talk about housing issues, it happened.

Pachal and Councillors Paul Albrecht, Leith White and Mike Solyom, with City CAO Francis Cheung got some face-to-face-time in Ottawa with MP Peter Fragiskatos, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, during a three-day trip to the nation’s capital to argue for federal aid to address the housing crisis and other issues.

 The City delegation lobbied for a review of red tape that is holding back home construction, including Langley airport limits on building heights, “when those restrictions are not actually needed, based on the flight flight path at that airport.”

“Langley City is proactively addressing the housing crisis. With over 1,000 homes currently under construction and an additional 2,600 in the development application process, we are steadfast in our commitment to expanding housing options to meet the growing needs of our community,” Pachal said. “Moreover, the City is dedicated to prioritizing transit-oriented development, particularly with the imminent arrival of two new SkyTrain stations in Langley City by 2028.”

As well, the mayor said they made it clear to the federal administrators there were two Langley’s – City and Township – with different concerns.

“A lot of people weren’t even aware of that at the federal level, that Langley City even existed,” Pachal commented.

“So by coming out and really sharing that with folks, they kind of understand a bit more the needs of our community. That we’re high growth and this is where SkyTrain is terminating.”

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Langley City Mayor releases video to press federal housing minister to meet

The video and the visit to Ottawa came after both City and the Township learned they would not receive money from the federal Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) because the $4 billion program to encourage residential construction had depleted all its money.

“We were told [in Ottawa] to resubmit our Housing Accelerator Funding, as the federal government has unlocked more funding through its new budget,” Pachal said.

READ ALSO: Mayors frustrated as Langley misses out on federal housing funds

Meetings were also held with MP Tako van Popta, MP Scott Atichison, and MP Brad Redekopp to highlight the need for a federal infrastructure assets renewal program to replace aging infrastructure.

“While we have made substantial investments in replacing outdated infrastructure, this endeavor exceeds the financial capacity of local governments,” Pachal said.

“Therefore, we require a sustainable infrastructure assets management fund to bolster investment in infrastructure renewal to accommodate our community’s rapid growth.”

The trip, from April 16-18, approved by council, cost about $10,000, for travel and accommodation for the five members of the delegation.

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