Langley City Election 2018 - October 20th

Monday, October 15, 2018

Protecting green space from urban development in Metro Vancouver

Earlier this month, I posted about the changes in regional land-use designations and the impact of development on green space. Municipalities in Metro Vancouver must ensure that local land-use designations (zoning) are in line with regional land-use designations.

Changes in Regional Land-Use Designations, 2011-2018. Select charts to enlarge.

The data shows that over the last 7 years, the region has essentially preserved green space in Metro Vancouver. Green space includes agricultural, rural, and conversation & recreation land-uses.

One of the primary features of our regional growth strategy is the urban containment boundary. Almost all urban development is supposed to occur within that boundary. The following map shows the remaining “greenfield” land within the urban containment boundary that is open for development, plus how much of this “greenfield” land has been developed over the last five year.

Map of remaining “General Urban” land in Metro Vancouver. Select map to enlarge.

In Metro Vancouver’s case, most of the “greenfield” land is former suburban land. Between this “greenfield” land, and redevelopment within regional town centres and transit corridors, there is a generation of land available for urban development that will not require us to give up our food lands and conservation areas.

Our region is not perfect. For example, within the urban containment boundary there are sensitive ecosystems that are at risk. An example of a sensitive ecosystem would be the Nicomekl Floodplain. There is still work that needs to be done at the regional and municipal levels to better manage these ecosystems from the externalities of urban development.

A local Langley City example would be our new rules around development near environmentally sensitive areas that was adopted last year.

While Metro Vancouver and its municipalities have done a relatively good job of containing urban development, there is still some development that occurs in agricultural areas. The provincial government is reviewing the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) with the goal of strengthening the preservation of food land. I am looking forward to seeing the recommendations and an implementation plan from this review.

With our regional growth strategy and ALR strengthened, I am confident that we can protect our green space for generations to come.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Langley City Council Candidate Videos

One of the questions that I’ve been getting regularly over the last few weeks from people is where can they find information about who is running in the Langley City civic election. With general voting day on October 20th, many people are making their final decisions about who they will support.

Langley City itself has posted candidate profiles. The Langley Times and Langley Advance newspapers also have information about candidates available online. The Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce recently posted videos where they asked candidates about affordable housing, transportation, and business.

You can find a link to all other candidate videos on the Chamber’s website.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

This year 681 young people experienced homelessness in Metro Vancouver, 16 in Langley.

In Canada, there are many individual factors and societal factors that lead people to experiencing homelessness. Federal, provincial, and local governments need to work together to reduce the pathways that lead to homelessness, and increase the pathways out of homelessness. While this should be done for people of all ages, I believe that extra attention should be given to reducing the number of young people (up to age 24) who experience homelessness.

Regional Homelessness Conceptual Framework: A Mental Model. Select chart to enlarge. Source: Metro Vancouver.

Education is key to providing opportunity for people. If you do not have stable housing or food, your ability to learn in significantly diminished. This could lead to a lifetime of experiencing homelessness.

The Metro Vancouver Community Entity, a partnership between Metro Vancouver and the federal government, recently released the 2018 Youth Homeless Count. 681 people up to the age of 24 were identified as being homeless. In Langley City and Township, 16 young people were identified as experiencing homelessness. The report authors note that this is an underestimation as there are many people who are “couch-surfing”, staying with friends or strangers, that are not connected with youth support service agencies, and therefore cannot be counted.

Unaccompanied Youth and Accompanied Children by Municipal Sub-Region. Select map to enlarge.

There are certain people groups that are over-represented in the youth homelessness population. 42% of people identified themselves as Indigenous. 26% of people identified themselves as LGBTQ2S. Extra attention is needed to reduce the number of Indigenous and LGBTQ2S youth from experiencing homelessness.

More than half of young people experienced homelessness for the first time because of a family conflict. I’ve personally heard too many stories about a young person being kicked out of their house because they came out to their parents.

Mental health and substance addiction were also leading causes for young people to become homeless for the first time. There are gaps in the healthcare system that need to be closed to help young people and their family get support and treatment services.

Ending youth homelessness should be a priority for all governments. In Langley, Encompass Support Services Society recently opened the Youth Hub. One of the services of that facility is to provide housing for young people. While this is a good start, I believe that more beds and support services will be required throughout Langley.

Providing stable housing, meals, and support is not only the morally right thing to do, it is the fiscally prudent thing to do. When someone is homelessness, it costs society at least $66,000 per year. Providing housing and supportive services costs up to $18,000 per year. Providing affordable housing cost up to $8,000 year. Preventing a lifetime of homelessness for a young person means giving them a lifetime of opportunity. It also saves millions of dollars per person in societal costs.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Election Update #7 - Investing in Basic Infrastructure and Upkeep

Providing water, sewer, street lighting and general infrastructure maintenance are just some of the fundamental services that municipalities provide, but these generally receive little attention during election campaigns.

One of the reasons why I ran for council was to ensure that our critical services remain in a state of good repair. Most of Langley City’s infrastructure was put in during the 1950s thru 1970s, and is reaching its end of life. This means that over the next 10 years, we will need to double down on infrastructure renewal in our community.

If re-elected, I will continue to advocate for our City to expand its asset management program which helps us plan for infrastructure renewal in the most efficient ways possible. I will also advocate to other levels of government for infrastructure funding to help keep property taxes reasonable.

I will continue to support budget measures to ensure that taps work, toilets flush, energy-efficient street lights are installed throughout our community, and streets are kept clean and maintained.

While these initiatives are not headline-grabbing, maintaining our basic infrastructure is critical to ensuring that Langley City remains healthy, safe, and prosperous.

With your support, we can continue the positive momentum, bringing solutions forward for a better Langley.

If you are able to volunteer your time to help out on the campaign in these final crucial weeks, please visit https://help.nathanpachal.com/.