Thursday, August 6, 2020

Langley has third largest population of people experiencing homelessness though numbers stabilized

Preliminary data from the 2020 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver was recently released by the BC Non-Profit Housing Association. This count of people experiencing homelessness occurs region-wide every three years. It is a point-in-time sampling of people over a 24-hour period from March 3rd through March 4th.

This report shows a minimum estimation of people visibly experiencing homelessness in Metro Vancouver. The count does not include people who are staying with friends, living in cars, in jail, in hospital, or in locations which people performing the count were not able to enter.

Like the 2017 count, the top three community where people are experiencing homelessness are Vancouver (2,095), Surrey (644), and Langley (209). These three community represent 80% of the people counted.

The following chart shows the number of people experiencing homelessness in Langley since 2005 from the current and past counts.

The largest increase in Langley occurred between 2014 and 2017. In 2020, it appears that the number of people visibly experiencing homelessness has stabilized.

Since 2017, an integrated case management team to support people experiencing homelessness was created for Langley. This team connects people experiencing homelessness with housing. The Creek Stone supportive housing facility has also recently opened.

There is still more work to be done in Langley. 209 people is too much, and we will need the continued support of the provincial government through BC Housing and Fraser Health to get people experiencing homelessness housed and supported.

For more information, please view the full preliminary data report.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Metro Vancouver transit ridership sets record in 2019. Fraser Highway Express fastest growing route.

2019 was a record-setting year for transit ridership in Metro Vancouver and in the South of Fraser as is evident in TransLink’s 2019 Transit Service Performance Review.

The top five routes in the South of Fraser serve the Scott Road, King George Boulevard, Fraser Highway, and Guildford-Whalley corridors. The ridership of these tops routes are similar to the top routes in Burnaby/New Westminster.

There has been a myth that people in Surrey, Langley, and White Rock don’t want to take transit. The numbers show that this is a myth. When fast and frequent transit service is provided, ridership significantly increases in South of Fraser communities.

One of the success stories has been the introduction of express and local bus service along the same corridors. This combination of service increases transit ridership.

The first example of this is King George Boulevard with the R1(former 96) and 321. The second example of this is the new 503 and 502 service along the Fraser Highway corridor.

In the fall of 2019, the 503 was upgraded to the Fraser Highway Express. This resulted in a 120% year-over-year increase in boardings, making the 503 the fastest growing bus route in Metro Vancouver. Even with the rapid growth of ridership on the Fraser Highway Express, ridership also increased year-over-year for the local service 502 route.

In Langley, transit routes continued to see increasing ridership in 2019. The following table shows the change in ridership for Langley-focused routes:

Route 2018 2019 Percent Change
502 3,176,000 3,209,000 1%
501 1,521,000 1,799,000 18%
503 740,000 1,627,000 120%
555 1,172,000 1,428,000 22%
531 648,000 752,000 16%
595 449,000 629,000 40%
562 305,000 332,000 9%
372 144,000 194,000 35%
560/561 130,000 139,000 7%
509 96,000 104,000 8%
563 83,000 86,000 4%
564 53,000 63,000 19%

Transit ridership is currently around 50% of 2019 levels due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While 2019 might seem like a different era, ridership numbers show that there is a demand for transit service in the South of Fraser.

COVID-19 has muted that demand today, but when a cure is found, it is good to know that we will have a transit system available to handle new ridership demands.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Public Art in Langley City Parks: 5’ Xylophone and Interurban/SkyTrain Mural

Langley City’s Arts and Culture Task Group recommended two new public art installations in our community.

The first piece of public art recommended was an upright 12-note pipe xylophone to be installed near the picnic shelters at City Park.

Front view of Xylophone. Select image to enlarge.

According to the artist Laara Cerman, the xylophone “can be played by people of any age or culture, as music is a language that often crosses these boundaries, and it can be played from either side of the sculpture so two participants can make music together.” This fits in with the City’s Nexus Vision.

Top-down view of Xylophone. Select image to enlarge.

The xylophone will be 5 feet tall, 3 feet wide, and 1.5 feet deep. It will be built with sturdy exterior construction materials. A mallet will be embedded into each pipe on the xylophone.

Mallet emedded into xylophone. Select image to enlage.

The second piece of public art recommended was a mural by artist Judy Pohl to be installed on the exterior of the washroom building at Linwood Park.

Linwood Park is located along Michaud Crescent which was the old Interurban rail corridor that provided passenger and freight service several times a day between Vancouver and Chilliwack up until 1950.

Interurban/SkyTrain Mural. Select image to view.

Judy Pohl, in her description of the mural, notes that the “wraparound mural features Langley City’s flag on two opposite corners joining together the past and future of Langley’s rail travel. On the east side where the washroom doors are located shows the picturesque Langley Prairie with the Michaud farmhouse. The north wall features Langley's old light rail car on the prairie farmlands of the era. On the south and west walls you have our future [SkyTrain] amidst a floral bouquet representing Langley's vibrancy.”

These two public art recommendations were approved by Langley City council on July 27th. The total cost of the Xylophone is $19,544. The total cost of the mural will be no more than $3,000. Both projects are funded from Langley City’s Public Art Fund.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

July 27 Council Meeting: 400m buffer for vape and tattoo shops, apartment project approved, and walkway/road work paving program approved

Monday was the final Langley City council meeting before the summer break. The next council meeting will be held on September 14th. Council adopted several bylaws on Monday.

This first bylaw adopted amended the definition of “body-rub service” in our currently zoning bylaw. It also updated the zoning bylaw to only permit new body art and tattoo services to be located beyond 400 metres of existing establishments, as well as new vape stores only permitted beyond 400 metres of existing vape stores. You can read more information about this in a previous post.

Council also discharged two land use contracts for 19986 50A Avenue and 19986 50A Avenue.

Council approved an amended to our zoning bylaw, and issued a development permit, to allow a 4-storey, 92-unit rental apartment to be built at 5326, 5334, 5340, 5360 200 Street, and 5321, 5331, 5341, 5361 200A Street. You can read more about this apartment project in a previous post.

Council also approved the purchase of Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses for the Langley City Fire Rescue Service at a price of $407,996.38.

Council approved a tender to Lafarge Canada Inc in the amount of $516,827.00 to complete the City’s 2020 paving program which includes:

  • Paving pathway between Grade Crescent and 48th Avenue
  • Paving 62nd Avenue between 200th Street and the Mall entrance
  • Paving pathway in City Park
  • Installing new raised traffic median on 208th Street at Grade Crescent
  • Pavement repairs throughout the City
  • Road work on 203rd Street between Douglas Crescent and Fraser Highway

Council also passed a motion from Councillor Albrecht requesting that the federal and provincial governments provide emergency operating funding to protect vital local services including public transportation, public health, and emergency services.

Council received a letter from the lobby group “Clean Energy BC” asking that we support their efforts to keep the “self-sufficiency” requirement in the provincial Clean Energy Act. Council did not act on their request, but some members of council did commit to researching this matter further.