Over the years, the City of Langley has adopted a number of social plans and strategies. While it is good to develop plans and strategies, taking action on them is equally important. For a plan or strategy to be effective, it has to be continually reviewed with progress tracked.
The City of Langley is home to a diverse population with people from all walks and stages of life. Back in 2008, the City adopted a Social Plan in collaboration with SPARC BC. I was reviewing the plan over the last few days as I recently rediscovered it. While the plan is over eight years old, it is still relevant today.
The plan identified the following broad recommendations:
- Improve access to green space and recreational opportunities
- Reduce homelessness in the community
- Ensure the City has a mix of safe, affordable housing options
- Support building transitional/support housing facilities to help get people out of homelessness
- Support building a detox and residential treatment facility
- Support the provisioning of more community based health services
- Support programs that connect our diverse population to combat issues such as isolation
- Work to provide awareness of community safety issues
- Raise awareness about social issues in the community, and work with other agencies to address these issues
- Coordinate and build social agency capacity in the community to address the needs of Langley City residents
Each of these recommendations have specific short-term and long-term action items associated with them. Some of the long-term recommendations included exploring tax and development cost charge breaks for affordable housing; and, creating City staff capacity to support agencies with needs assessments and coordination, and to respond to emerging issues.
Action has been taken on some of the recommendations in this plan, but other recommendations have not be actioned. Plans without provisions for on-going monitoring have a tendency to “collect dust” on a shelf. I have to wonder if this sometimes happens with City of Langley plans too.
Over the years, the City of Langley has developed a lot of great plans and strategies to address social issues in our community such as around reducing homelessness, creating affordable housing, and reducing crime. I have to wonder if these plans and their recommendations should be consolidated into a living document which has a requirement for progress monitoring and continual updating. This would ensure that we are moving forward with addressing some of the complex issues in our community.