Thursday, February 22, 2018

February 19, 2018 Council Meeting Notes: $125,976.79 in community grants awarded

So far this week, I have posted about development proposals and the upcoming public meeting on the proposed bingo hall relocation at Cascades Casino. These items were part of Monday night’s Langley City council meeting agenda. Today, I will be posted about the remaining items that were covered.

Council heard two presentations. The first presentation was from Tim Cheung and Simon Lau of Unifor 2002. Their union is advocating for a federally supported, universal Pharmacare program. This idea has received support from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Cheung and Lau requested that Langley City send a letter of support for universal Pharmacare to our MPs and MLAs. Council agreed to send a letter of support.

A presentation from ICBC on its distracted driving awareness campaign. Select image to enlarge.

Leanne Cassap from ICBC delivered a presentation to council on its districted driving awareness campaign. She thanked the City and our staff for supporting the campaign.

Over the past month, the 2018 budget has been making its way through the process of getting adopted. On Monday, the 2018-22 Financial Plan received final reading, and was adopted by council. You can read more about the budget in previous posts.

Last year, the Langley City Crime Prevention Task Group asked council to pilot including a brochure as part of the business license renewal process, informing business owners about the free crime prevention assessment available through the RCMP. Due to the success of this pilot, the task group asked council to make including this brochure permanent. Council agreed.

The Langley Emergency Program is a shared responsibility of the City and Township of Langley. The Langley Emergency Program is interested in applying for a $25,000 grant from the provincial Community Emergency Preparedness Fund. This funding can be used for emergency operations centres, emergency operations training, emergency social services, evacuation route planning, flood risk assessment, flood mapping, flood mitigation plans, and structural flood mitigation. Council did our part, and supported the Langley Emergency Program’s request for this funding.

Langley City council dedicates a partition of the revenue the City receives from the casino for community grants. The following organizations and groups will receive grants this year:

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

February 19, 2018 Council Meeting Notes: Public meeting scheduled for proposed bingo hall at Cascades Casino

Langley City council was made aware via the local newspapers at the end of December that Gateway Casino & Entertainment was considering relocating Playtime Langley Bingo into Cascades Casino, replacing the Summit Theatre.

Proposed bingo hall at Cascades Casino. Select image to enlarge.

At the same time, Gateway is proposing to renovate the current convention space to “allow the ability to host live performances.” This would include modifying the ceiling of the current banquet hall to “allow for retractable sound and lighting; and the new configuration will allow for up to 600 guests, including those under the age of 19.”

More information on Gateway’s plan is included in the latest council agenda package.

Langley City council received a letter from BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC) in January. BCLC is responsible for casinos in our province. The letter stated the proposed addition of the bingo hall at Cascades Casino is a “substantial change” which requires the following steps to occur before the bingo hall can being operation:

  1. Consult with potentially affected local government.
  2. Receive adequate community input.
  3. Provide formal written approval to BCLC and the Gaming Enforcement Branch.
  4. Comply with the objection and non-binding dispute resolution process outlined within the Gaming Control Act.

On Monday night, Langley City council approved sending a letter to both Surrey and the Township of Langley informing them of the proposed “substantial change”. At the same time, council approved holding a public meeting on Monday, February 26 at 7:00pm at the Langley City Hall Council Chambers.

The public meeting agenda is proposed to be:

  1. Representatives from BCLC and Gateway Casino & Entertainment will each make a presentation to provide information regarding the proposed “substantial change” to accommodate the bingo facility.
  2. After the presentations, attendees will be provided with the opportunity to provide feedback and to ask questions regarding the proposed “substantial change.”

Yesterday, I posted about rezoning bylaws and proposed redevelopment projects. Tomorrow, I will post about the remaining items from Monday night’s council meeting.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

February 19, 2018 Council Meeting Notes: Rezoning west of 200 Street, new build proposed at Langley Mall.

The area west of 198 Street between 53 Avenue and 56 Avenue has seen a significant amount of redevelopment over the last few years. At last night’s Langley City council meeting, there was a public hearing for a bylaw to rezone property located at the end of 55A Avenue to accommodate a 33 unit, 3-storey townhouse development as shown in the following rendering.

Proposed townhouse development at the end of 55A Avenue. Select image to enlarge.

There were no comments from the public provided during the public hearing. After the public hearing, council asked some questions about the proposed site plan to the project proponent. One of the requirements of the City is the inclusion of a connection between 55A Avenue and the parallel lane north of 55A Avenue at 196 Street. This new connection will include a 2-metre sidewalk as well as a 6-metre roadway. The sound-wall along 196 Street will remain. All vehicle access to the proposed development will be via the lane.

Council gave third reading to the rezoning to accommodate this project.

Later during the meeting, Council gave first and second reading for two additional bylaws to accommodate rezoning for other townhouse projects in the area. One rezoning application was at 56 Avenue and 196 Street. The other was along the south-side of 55 Avenue near 198 Street. A public hearing for these bylaws will now be scheduled.

Proposed townhouse project at 56 Avenue and 196 Street. Select image to enlarge.

Proposed townhouse project at 55 Avenue and 198 Street. Select image to enlarge.

Back in the fall of 2012, the owner of Langley Mall proposed adding a new retail building at the northwest corner of their property. Because this is in Downtown, it required a development permit. It was never built. 6 years later, the owner of Langley Mall proposed a slightly modified version of the 2012 building. This required that council approve issuing a new development permit.

Rendering of proposed building located along Douglas Crescent at Langley Mall. Select image to enlarge.

One of the basic tenets of creating a walkable, vibrant downtown is that retail businesses must have their primary entrance directly from a street. One of my primary concerns was that the building would turn its back to the street, providing primary access via the parking lot. During the meeting, the proponent of the building stated that it is designed in such a way that primary pedestrian access could be provided from Douglas Crescent. I tried to impress upon the proponent the importance of ensuring that pedestrian access is provided directly off Douglas Crescent. This building will not include a drive thru.

There was a resident at the meeting who spoke against the proposed retail building, citing concerns about noise, drug-use, and homelessness. The resident was also concern about increased traffic. Council also had concerns about the traffic patterns in the mall creating a hazard for both people driving and walking.

Council approved issuing a development permit, but required that the proponent complete a traffic engineering assessment as a condition of its issuance.

Council also gave final reading to a bylaw to allow the reconfiguration of the cul-de-sac on 199A Street.

There were many other items that were addressed at Monday night’s council meeting which I will be posting about throughout this week.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Metro Conversations: The Future of Transportation

Metro Conversations - Conversation 5: February 27

Metro Conversations is back in New Westminster as part of Innovation Week which runs from February 23 to March 3.

Elon Musk’s bold vision of electric autonomous vehicles, cargo missions to Mars, and a network of high-speed underground Hyperloop tunnels promises a future free of traffic, free of drivers, and cities on Mars. Yet, what infrastructural and ethical considerations do cities and policymakers need to make to ensure that this transition is not only possible, but that nobody is left behind in this race to the future? Join us for the fifth conversation on the future of transportation.

Metro Conversations offers a unique format that bringing experts in the field together with citizens for two-way dialogue and discourse within a strict 1-hour time limit. Beyond a lecture, it is a sharing of ideas.

The free event will take place on Tuesday, February 27 at 7:00pm in room 417 at the Anvil Centre located at 777 Columbia Street, New Westminster. Doors open at 6:30pm and everyone is welcome.

Seating is limited, and it is recommended to register at the event’s Eventbrite page to help us manage seating.

For more information on Innovation Week, please check out: https://www.newwestcity.ca/innovation-week.

These on-going conversations are organized by Patrick Johnstone from New Westminster, Nathan Pachal from the City of Langley, Kiersten Duncan from the City of Maple Ridge, and Mathew Bond from the District of North Vancouver. These conversations are made possible with the generous support of SFU Public Square. This conversation would not be possible without the support of the City of New Westminster.

Reserve your seat at Eventbrite