Township of Langley frets growing pains as development boom continues

Click to play video: 'Development and infrastructure concerns in Langley'
Development and infrastructure concerns in Langley
The Township of Langley is booming, with thousands of new homes under construction. And while those homes are needed, the mayor and others are concerned their infrastructure is not keeping up. As Janet Brown reports, they're calling on the province and federal government to do their share – Mar 7, 2024

“Booming,” “supercharged,” and “exciting.” All words the Langley Chamber of Commerce is using to describe development along the township’s 200th Street corridor.

And the boom appears to show no sign of slowing down in the Willoughby area, where the city has already approved about 6,000 new homes since 2022.

Click to play video: 'Langley Township votes to consider planning repeal'
Langley Township votes to consider planning repeal

A proposed development for up to 1,400 units at 66th Avenue by Polygon and a proposal for 2,000 units at 80th Avenue by Essence Properties could add thousands more families.

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“Langley is no longer a bedroom community, it is a city in and of itself,” chamber CEO Cory Redekop told Global News.

“We are excited for the growth, it’s great, but we are going to get to a point where we won’t be able to do anymore because we don’t have the schools for the kids, we don’t have the rec centres for the families and we don’t have the hospital beds for the patients … we have to have that core infrastructure to support that.”

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The concern about infrastructure keeping pace with development is one shared in the Township of Langley’s municipal leadership.

“It’s a challenge that has to be managed,” Township of Langley Mayor Eric Woodward told Global News.

“Potentially we are seeing too much growth too quickly, which is why we’ve been looking at phasing development in other areas of Willoughby.”

The 200th Street corridor is particularly attractive to developers because of its planned connection to the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension, as well as a proposed — though not yet funded — bus rapid transit line.

But transportation isn’t the only infrastructure concern. Like neighbouring Surrey, the Township of Langley is grappling with a massive influx of new students.

Click to play video: 'Concerns raised over Langley development pace'
Concerns raised over Langley development pace

“We are currently seeing about 1,000 additional students per year into the Langley school district, mostly concentrated in the Willoughby area,” Woodward said.

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“We are not seeing schools being built fast enough by the provincial government.”

The province currently has a new elementary school in the design phase, along with expansions to another elementary school and a high school in Langley.

The province has also earmarked $18.7 billion in capital spending in the 2024 budget and hasn’t ruled out more education announcements in the months to come.

Those watching the development boom are calling for big commitments from both the provincial and federal governments to ensure the community’s infrastructure needs don’t fall behind its population growth.

“This is going to be a really exciting, energetic, diverse place to be,” Redekop said.

“I think when you look back five, 10 years from now, if we do this right, if we get the investments and support from all levels of government to grow in the right way, we’ll all be pleased with what we’ve got.”

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