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Langley Township eyes seat at Fraser Valley Regional District

Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz is meeting today (Friday) with other mayors from the Fraser Valley and the Lower Mainland to talk about possible changes to regional district governments.

The possibility of Langley Township leaving the Metro Vancouver Regional District to join the Fraser Valley Regional District, or to form a new regional district government with Abbotsford and possibly Mission apparently sparked the meeting.

Langley Mayor Jack Froese did not want to discuss details with a Progress reporter before the Friday meeting, and Mission Mayor Ted Adlem and Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman did not return phone calls.

But Froese and other Langley councillors are reportedly miffed by a decision by TransLink not to expand transit services south of the Fraser River.

"Langley Township and other communities on this side of the river support TransLink by paying for services that benefit all other areas of the Lower Mainland," Froese said in an earlier interview. "But when it comes to our turn, we have the rug pulled out from under us."

Froese told the Progress he's going into the Friday meeting "with an open mind."

Banman opposed the City of Abbotsford leaving the FVRD when he was running for election as mayor,  a move that was eventually shot down anyway by B.C.'s Minister of Community Development, MLA Ida Chong.

But Gaetz, who is also the FVRD chair, said FVRD staff also showed it was not in Abbotsford's financial interest to leave the regional district, so "there must be another issue underneath" that prompted Banman to call the meeting.

Gaetz said Chong had indicated that Abbotsford could not leave the FVRD, if it had a detrimental financial effect on the regional government, "and I imagine that Metro Vancouver would have the same concern with Langley leaving."

Whatever the outcome of Friday's meeting, Gaetz said she would be "thankful" to have the matter settled "one way or another."

"From our perspective ... we want everybody to be happy, and we want everybody to get along," she said.

- with files by Natasha Jones at the Langley Times

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