Thursday, February 13, 2020

February 10 Council Meeting: Zoning Matters

This week I’ve posted about feedback received about Langley City’s proposed 2020-24 Financial Plan, and an update on various civil projects occurring in the community; these matters were both from Monday night’s Langley City council meeting. This post will cover the remaining items from that evening.

Council gave final reading to bylaws, and approved issuing development permits, which enable the construction of two development projects:

On January 27th, council decided to start the process of replacing the former Advisory Planning Commission with a new Advisory Design Panel. Council gave final reading to repeal the bylaw for the old Advisory Planning Commission and replace references to this old commission, with Advisory Design Panel, in other bylaws.

Council also approved Councillor Gayle Martin to attend the International Making Cities Livable Conference in Carmel, Indiana from June 2nd to 6th, 2020. The total cost is estimated to be $2,000.

The Langley District Parent Advisory Council sent a letter to both Langley City and Township councils requesting that zoning bylaws be amended to prevent businesses from selling vape products that are located within a 2km radius of schools.

As Langley City is in the process of updating its Official Community Plan and zoning bylaw, council requested that City staff investigate this request as part of this update process.

As a note, if council did decide to move forward with this request, existing businesses that sell vape product within a 2km radius would be grandfathered in as per BC law.

Finally, council heard from Anthony Butera regarding setting up a retail cannabis dispensary in Langley City.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

February 10 Council Meeting: Engineering and Parks Update - Snow, flooding, and other matters

This last month has been extremely busy for Langley City crews; Langley City council received an update on Monday night about the various activities and projects underway in the community.

In the middle of January, Metro Vancouver received an extraordinary amount of snow in a short period of time. Langley City crews were out making sure that city-maintained roads, walkways, sidewalks, and facilities were accessible.

Snow in Downtown Langley. Select image to enlarge.

At the beginning of this month, after weeks of heavy raining, the Nicomekl River floodplain was fully doing its job. City crews were out ensuring that our community remained safe, responding to localized flooding events.

Flooding, pedestrian bridge east of 203rd Street. Select image to enlarge.

Flooding, Brydon Lagoon. Select image to enlarge.

The Nicomekl River floodplain is protected. One of the reasons why we didn’t see massive flooding in our community this month is because we have preserved the integrity of the floodplain over the years to protect us from a 1 in 100-year flooding event. Due to climate change, there will be more frequent and severe flooding that the current floodplain will not protect us from. This is why the City updated it Floodplain Elevation Bylaw recently, and is proposing to support redevelopment to reduce flooding risks in the upcoming new Official Community Plan.

In time for spring, the new Douglas Park Community Garden will be open.

A proposed Rotary Centennial Park Community Garden is also in the works.

A new public washroom will be opening soon at Nicholas Park.

If you’ve travelled down 203rd Street recently, you will have noticed that there is a new traffic light at Industrial Avenue to enable better access between Industrial Avenue and 203rd Street.

Traffic light replacement in progress at 53rd/53A Avenue/206 Street. Select image to enlarge.

The traffic light at 53rd/53A Avenue/206 Street is also in the process of being replaced.

LED lighting replacement. Select image to enlarge.

Council also learned that work is continuing to replace all our streetlights with energy-efficient LED lights.

New water and sewer system monitoring and control system. Select image to enlarge.

The system that ensures that our water and sewer system is fully monitored and controlled was recently replaced. This will help ensure that our city-owned utilities continue to provide reliable service.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

February 10 Council Meeting: Feedback received on 2020-2024 Financial Plan

At the start of last night’s Langley City council meeting, people had the opportunity to provide direct feedback to council about the proposed 2020-2024 Financial Plan. People were also able to send a letter or email to council as well as attend an open house which was held last week. More information on the financial plan is available in previous posts I wrote.

Council received seven emails about the financial plan. About eight people attended the council meeting specifically for the financial plan, with three of those people talking directly to council.

All 10 people who provided submissions to council were opposed to the financial plan and proposed borrowing of $50 million to investing into our community.

Generally, the people who provided direct feedback were asking council to cut the budget which would result in cuts to services. It is important to review all services and spending in our municipality. Senior City staff and council did go through a thorough review of the budget this year.

Some people noted that the proposed residential tax increase would be six percent or higher. The average residential tax increase is proposed to be 5.6%

Langley City recently commissioned a community survey, and there was a strong desire from the majority of residents for continued investment into our community.

Balancing Taxation and Service Delivery Levels from 2019 Langley City Community Survey. Select image to enlarge.

For a list of specific investments that people would like to see, please read a previous blog post on the topic.

One speaker at the meeting did ask council to consider setting up a development corporation if we moved forward with strategic property investment to support the SkyTrain extension to our community. Langley City does have the Langley City Development Corporation which could be used for such a purpose.

One of the overall themes was the impact of property tax on people with fixed incomes. My mom owns an apartment in Kelowna, so this is something that has a direct impact in my family. Because of the rapid increase in the value of property, most people who own land are “house rich.”

To help people who are on a fixed income, the provincial government offers a property tax deferral program. This allows people on fixed incomes to defer paying property tax until they sell their property.

Later during the meeting, council unanimously approved third reading of the 2020-2024 Financial Plan bylaw.

Because City council is considering borrowing $50 million over the next five years to support investing into our community, we must go through an Alternative Approval Process per provincial law. There will be further opportunity to have a direct say on this proposed borrowing. I will provide more information about this process as it becomes available.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Langley City January Property Crime Map

The following is the latest map which shows where property crime has occurred in Langley City for the month of January.

Langley City Property Crime Map, January 2020. Select map to enlarge.

There are a few things to note about the map. The grey boxes on the map are the location of Block Watch neighbourhoods.

Also note that the population density is higher north of the Nicomekl River than south. Also, north of the Nicomekl River is a regional centre and business hub for Metro Vancouver. It would be expected to see more activity north of the Nicomekl River because of this.

One of the ways that the RCMP can target crime hot spots is by reviewing reports of suspicious activity. If you seen any suspicious activities in your neighbourhood, please call the RCMP non-emergency number at (604) 532-3200. Also, never feel that something is too small to call into the police. They value all calls.

If you would like to help reduce negative activity in your neighbourhood, please consider joining a Block Watch. Many neighbourhoods in Langley City have Block Watch programs in place. If you are interested in joining a Block Watch, or want to learn more about the program, please contact:
Florence Fowler
Direct Line: 604-532-3213
Email: florence.fowler@rcmp-grc.gc.ca