Brenda Locke leaves crumbling coalition which is no longer safe for dissenters

Brenda Locke has left Safe Surrey Coalition, citing problems with Mayor Doug McCallum's approach to his job. 
The Safe Surrey Coalition is no longer safe for those with dissenting opinions, and it isn’t much of a coalition any more. Coin. Brenda Locke left the coalition on Thursday (June 26), citing numerous actions by Mayor Doug McCallum. She is also seeking legal advice about comments McCallum made about her, when she expressed concern about how the size of the proposed Surrey Police force would affect Sophie’s Place, an agency which helps children who are victims of abuse.   She is the second of the seven councillors who were elected from the slate in October (along with McCallum), to depart. Coun. Steven Pettigrew left several weeks ago. McCallum threatened Pettigrew with expulsion from the council chambers on Monday night (June 24), which may have been a last straw for Locke. Locke’s departure is much more ominous for McCallum. She was the only person elected to council, other tha…

Highway 1 widening long overdue, but much more is required

Frank Bucholtz photo
Federal infrastructure minister Francois-Philippe Champagne announced on Thursday that the federal government will commit to providing $108 million of the $235 million total cost to upgrade Highway 1 to six lanes between 216 and 264 Streets in Langley. Other funding partners are the B.C. government, represented by Premier John Horgan and Transportation Minister Claire Trevena at the ceremony, and the Township of Langley, represented by Mayor Jack Froese.

At long last, the NDP government has committed to follow through with a project announced by their predecessors - at least a portion of the project.
In March, 2017, the BC Liberal government announced it would widen Highway 1 from four to six lanes as far east as Whatcom Road in Abbotsford. A day afterwards, former transportation minister Todd Stone told CHNL Radio in Kamloops on that the project was “tender-ready” back then.
Two years later, the province has announced the widening from 216 to 264 Streets, at a total…

Langley gets its latest community newspaper on Friday

On Friday, Langley will become the latest Lower Mainland community to see two of its community newspapers become one.
The Langley Advance Times will begin publication that day, with the amalgamation of The Advance  (which began in 1931) and The Times (which started 50 years later, in 1981). Both have been owned by Black Press Media since 2015.
There is still another community newspaper in Langley - the Aldergrove Star, also published by Black Press Media. It is based in Aldergrove, and serves the eastern portion of Langley and western portion of Abbotsford.
The move to amalgamate makes sense, and will actually provide better news coverage. The news staff at the two newspapers have laboured heroically since each went to once-a-week publication, but there is no doubt they have been stretched on many occasions.
I have the highest regard for Roxanne Hooper, editor of the new publication. We worked together many years ago at the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News, and she is not only a hard work…

'Big Hill' has always been a very challenging stretch of railroad

This photo, published in Floyd Yeats' Canadian Pacific's Big Hill (1985), is from the Soole collection at the National Railway Museum in York, England. It shows CPR's The Dominion westbound, about to enter the Upper Spiral Tunnel. Portions of the lower grade are shown in the background.

Three Canadian Pacific railroaders died at 1 a.m. Monday, when their 112-car grain train derailed on what railroaders know as “The Big Hill,” between the summit of Kicking Horse Pass on the B.C.-Alberta boundary, and the town of Field, 10 miles to the west. News reports and photos of the scene show unbelievable destruction. The lead locomotive apparently went off a bridge into the Kicking Horse River, and at least a Union Pacific trailing locomotive and 99 cars piled up behind it. Only 13 cars and the rear end locomotive stayed on the tracks.
A Transportation Safety Board preliminary report Tuesday indicated that the train had been stopped for a crew change on the upper part of the hill, at Pa…

NDP invigorated with Nanaimo byelection results

CBC photo
Premier John Horgan celebrates with new Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson, who won the Wednesday byelection with almost 50 percent of the vote.

There are a few significant lessons to be pondered from the results of Wednesday’s byelection in Nanaimo. First and foremost - the NDP government is here to stay, likely for at least another year. Winning NDP candidate Sheila Malcolmson won almost 50 per cent of the vote, with final figures from the counting on Wednesday giving her 10,538 votes. Liberal candidate Tony Harris has 40.5 per cent of the vote, with 8,665. The most surprising and significant vote totals were posted by Michele Ney of the Green Party. She comes from a well-known political family, and the Green Party had close to 20 per cent of the vote in 2017. Her vote percentage was just over seven per cent, and she gained just 1,579 votes. It is obvious that most of the Green vote from 2017 migrated to the NDP and Liberals. Many Green voters from 2017 still felt that the NDP gover…

Tragic fatal crash at Langley Bypass rail crossing need not have happened

Sunday’s fatal crash involving a car and a train at the Langley Bypass crossing was the second in just over three years on the Canadian Pacific rail corridor to take the lives of elderly Langley residents. In September, 2015, an ambulance was hit by a train at the Crush Crescent crossing, killing the 87-year-old patient inside.
Sunday’s terrible tragedy involving a car and a train needn’t have happened.
The crash, detailed in this Langley Times story, took place on a sunny December morning. The victims, a 90-year-old man and an 88-year-old woman, were in a vehicle that somehow became stranded on the Langley Bypass crossing. The crew of the westbound CN coal train had no ability to stop the train, which would have weighed in excess of 10,000 tons. The train pushed the car the couple were riding in close to a kilometre down the tracks before it stopped.
The couple were identified on Monda…

Santa has a bag full of gifts for politicians

Santa Claus has a bag full of goodies for the newsmakers among us.