If one of Langley Township’s biggest industrial centres doesn’t get proper transit service, it shouldn’t have to pay property taxes to TransLink, the mayor suggested.
At the Monday, Nov. 6 council meeting, Mayor Eric Woodward put forward a motion that the council endorse more advocacy efforts, aimed at the provincial government and TransLink, for bus service to the Gloucester Industrial Estates.
Gloucester is located north of the Trans Canada Highway, east of the 264th Street interchange, along 56th Avenue and nearby roads. The site, which hosts light industrial plants and shipping centres, including an Amazon location, has never had a dedicated bus connection.
Multiple Langley Township councils and mayors have advocated for any bus service to the region, both to help workers get there, and to benefit employers, who sometime have difficulty hiring because potential workers may not have access to a personal vehicle.
An info session 12 years ago brought together Gloucester employers and TransLink, but failed to create a bus route.
According to the TransLink system map, the closest bus routes to Gloucester are the 562 route that serves Fort Langley and Walnut Grove, and the 503 that serves Aldergrove. Neither comes within miles of Gloucester.
“Businesses and residents within Gloucester have paid and continue to pay TransLink millions of dollars in annual taxation via property taxes, fuel taxes and other levies without transit service,” Woodward’s motion notes.
The lack of service, his motion says, impacts the cost of living for thousands of residents and employees who can’t access their workplaces via transit. It impacts staff recruitment and retention for Gloucester businesses.
The resolution calls for effective and reliable transit service to be extended to Gloucester, or that the area be excluded from TransLink property taxes, with bus service to instead be provided by BC Transit.
“Either provide the service or let them go,” Woodward said during Monday’s council meeting.
Gloucester, like downtown Aldergrove, is at the far eastern edge of the area served by TransLink. Abbotsford and the rest of the Fraser Valley is served by BC Transit.
It took years to work out links between BC Transit and TransLink schedules to allow bus connections east-west through Aldergrove, and later down the Trans Canada between Chilliwack and Abbotsford to Langley’s Carvolth Exchange.
Woodward’s motion passed six to one, with Councillor Kim Richter opposed. Two councillors were absent at the time.