Mayor's Message to Community

Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese provides updates to the community during the COVID-19 outbreak.

March 23, 2020

Good evening everyone, I would like to start by acknowledging that we are on the traditional territories of the Kwantlen, Katzie, Semiahmoo and Matsqui First Nations.

As you can see, this Council meeting will vary from the standard procedure as we respond to unprecedented circumstances in our community and around the world.

Physical distancing measures have been put in place and the structure of the meeting will be different, as we deal with a number of issues to ensure everyone’s safety and keep our community functioning as normally as possible as we prepare for the circumstances before us.

The threat of COVID-19 is causing things to change rapidly and constantly, and Council is taking measures to stay on top of the situation.

All members of Council are dedicated to serving this community and are doing everything in their power to protect and support our residents and staff during this extraordinary time, all in an effort to mitigate the impact of this disease.

Tonight we will take steps to move the budget forward so it can be considered by Council and thereby the necessary funding made available to Township staff who may then carry on operating the municipality and providing the services we all depend on.

We will also consider declaring a local state of emergency, this will give us the tools to support our local Emergency Operations Centre. The EOC was activated at Level 1 on March 19 in order to provide a centralized information and response centre and to ensure the appropriate levels of services are in place to support our community.

Tonight we will consider a Council Procedure Bylaw Amendment that will allow us to hold Council meetings electronically. Final reading of the bylaw amendment will be held during a special meeting of Council on Friday, March 27, and from then on, the work of Council will be done electronically thereby reducing personal interaction.

Residents who would like to address Council are asked to do so via email, this will help manage upcoming Council meetings, and streamline content for essential priority items.

Throughout BC, Mayors and Councils are working together to manage through this crisis, but issues will, of course, come up that are unique to each community. And by declaring a local state of emergency it permits the municipality the flexibility needed to address issues pertinent to the Township of Langley.

Each issue will be assessed as they arise and dealt with appropriately, such as the recent decision to close our recreation centres and playgrounds in an effort to help limit the transmission of the virus.

We also want to recognize and thank our first responders, the doctors, nurses, hospital staff, health care providers, transit operators, police and fire personnel, and the employees in our grocery stores and drug stores who are ensuring the public has access to important supplies.

I have complete confidence in our Township leaders and would especially like to thank Fire Chief Stephen Gamble, Langley RCMP Superintendent Murray Power, our senior staff members, and the committed leadership of our CAO - Mark Bakken; all of whom are working around the clock, continuously reviewing information, planning, and making decisions to ensure our community continues to be safe and operational.

I want to convey Council’s appreciation and complete confidence in our municipal employees, the members of CUPE Local 403, IAFF Local 4550, and our paid-on-call firefighters. Yesterday I was out driving through Fort Langley and stopped to thank a Township staff person who was out checking on the Pump Station – and earlier today I met staff member, Matt, at one of our local pocket parks who was ensuring the closure signage for the playground was in place; Council appreciates the work you are doing.

You are dedicated to serving our residents, keeping us safe and protected. You ensure our water, sewer, and road systems are operating, and all essential services functioning, and we are grateful for your commitment and professionalism.

Finally a recap to everyone and as Dr. Bonnie Henry reminds us daily, it’s imperative that we maintain physical distancing at no less than two metres, shop smartly don’t hoard, wash your hands often; these efforts will make a difference.

As a community and as individuals, how we respond to the pandemic now will be vital in the weeks and months to come.

We encourage everyone to visit tol.ca/COVID19 regularly for up-to-date information on the Township’s response to the pandemic, along with links to websites with important COVID-19 information. Please be safe and stay healthy.

For up-to-date information, please visit the Township website at tol.ca/COVID19.

Watch the video of this message.