CHAMBER WEEK: Langley chamber seeks transportation solutions
Langley’s business community will back up its neighbours in calling for an expansion of the Trans-Canada Highway, as far east as the Sumas Prairie.
“How far east would we like it expanded?” said Scott Johnson, president of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce. “To Hope!”
For now, the chamber will settle for supporting the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce’s drive to expand to six lanes from 200th Street east to Whatcom Road.
It’s one of several projects the chamber is working on when it comes to transit and transportation, trying to ensure that goods and workers can move freely.
Businesses in Langley have employees and customers in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and even Hope, said Johnston.
The local chamber is hoping to see the motion go national, when the Canadian Chambers of Commerce meet in Frederickton, N.B., this year.
Meanwhile, the chamber will keep pushing for local changes, though some of them will require international partners.
Last year, the Aldergrove Border Crossing’s expanded new buildings officially opened.
“We’re obviously very happy about the physical expansion, but we’d like to see an expansion to 24 hours a day,” said Johnston.
Right now the crossing is open from 8 a.m. to midnight.
The problem is changing hours requires both sides, American and Canadian, to agree and fund the service.
That’s a bit of a challenge, said Johnston. But they’re not alone in their work.
The former executive director of the chamber, Lynn Whitehouse, worked to build bridges with Washington State chambers of commerce which are also supportive of extended hours. They’ll lobby U.S. authorities for the change.
A change would help bring in tourists as well as smooth things for local exporters.
“Many Langley businesses are shipping internationally,” said Johnston.
Finally, the chamber is supporting the current TransLink expansion plan, which will add more buses, seabuses, and eventually expand light rail or SkyTrain as far as Langley.
The region wants to use mobility pricing to pay for the next few phases, and the chamber is waiting to see what that would mean in practice.
He noted other cities have used it in the past, and the chamber supports that plan.
“There’s no reason we can’t make it work,” Johnston said.