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The Story of the Split Between the Township of Langley and Langley CityPosted On January 13, 2016
There was a time when the two distinct areas that now take up the Township of Langley and that of Langley City were one and the same. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves so let’s step back through time to a period even before either existed.
Regarded as a plentiful land, human settlements were commonplace and we have fairly good archeological evidence to show that the Stó:lo nations understood the importance and the potential of the land. Much of what we know has been passed down through the oral tradition, with the Kwantlen in particular being a community that dealt with and traded as long ago as the time of Fort Langley with Simon Fraser taking time to record his impression of a Stó:lo village as early as 1808.
This leads us to Fort Langley, colloquially called “The Birthplace of British Columbia” which, obviously, has an interesting tale to tell. Originally constructed in 1827, the Fort would go on to last until 1839 when it was moved to avoid flooding further upstream. Gold, some decades later, would be a driving factor that brought huge waves of settlers to British Columbia, many of who would eventually settle in an area that would, in 1873, be incorporated as the Township of Langley.
We’re going to leap forward to 1955. On the morning of March 15th, after a period of complaints and criticism for the governing practices of the Township of Langley, and unable to resolve the issues, an area known at the time as Langley Prairie, officially separated.
This separation led to the creation of the City of Langley.
Interestingly, after seven decades, the population of the City of Langley has reached just 25,000 residents, whereas the much larger area of the Township of Langley has skyrocketed to over 100,000 residents.
Now, you’re probably asking yourself, given the discrepancy in size and status of these two what, exactly, was it that caused the fuss and the separation. It’s actually rather simple, if it can be called such a thing – in 1950, after years of bitterness and earnest concern from the people living in Langley Prairie in respect to urban amenities including water, sewer, and street lights being considered unnecessary spending by the farming community existing outside the fringe, the residents had finally had enough.
An official referendum was held in 1955 and with the results, the City of Langley was born.
One such promise came from Bill Blair, who promised he would have a streetlight at every intersection which, despite many complications that arose and continue to plague the two areas, was kept.
The rest is, as they say, history. The City of Langley and the Township of Langley both have continued to grow and while many things have changed over the half-century, the commitment to providing residents with the quality of life they deserve has gone forward unhindered. To learn more about the tale of two Langleys, look at the links below.
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