Thursday, January 21, 2021

TransLink looks to Metro Vancouver Board to approve $114 million electric bus program

The federal government provides fixed funding annually to local governments throughout Canada as part of the Gas Tax Fund. In Metro Vancouver, 95% of this funding is directed to the Greater Vancouver Regional Fund for transit projects.

TransLink must submit a list of projects it would like to fund from the Regional Fund to the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board for approval every year.

In 2018, TransLink used some funding from this program to purchase six 40-foot battery-electric buses to operate on the 100 route between Marpole Loop in Vancouver and 22nd Street Station in New Westminster. This route has fast chargers for the battery-electric buses.

In early 2020, TransLink’s Mayors’ Council approved its Low Carbon Fleet strategy. Over time, TransLink will be replacing most of its diesel buses with battery-electric and renewal natural gas buses. Renewal natural gas is created from landfill, compost, and agricultural gases.

TransLink’s whole-owned subsidiary Coast Mountain Bus operates out of six transit centres, where buses are stored and maintained. Buses based out of the Port Coquitlam Transit Centre are planned to be converted to battery-electric buses with in-route chargers.

As part of its 2021 application to Metro Vancouver, TransLink is requesting $86.1 million to purchase 57 battery-electric buses. It is also asking for $27.8 million to upgrade the Port Coquitlam Transit Centre to accommodate these buses.

The full list of projects that TransLink is requesting funding for this year include:

Project Cost in Millions
2022, 44 HandyDART Vehicle Purchase - Replacement $6.5
2022, 64 Community Shuttle Vehicle Purchase - Replacement $15.3
2021, 22 Bus Service Support Vehicles - Replacement $1.4
2021, 6 SkyTrain Service Support Vehicles - Replacement $0.4
Escalators replacement at Commercial‐Broadway SkyTrain Station $5.5
Elevators replacement at the 29th Avenue, Patterson, Edmonds, Columbia and Waterfront SkyTrain Stations $11.2
2023, 57 Battery‐Electric Conventional Bus - Replacement $86.1
Upgrades to the Port Coquitlam Transit Centre to support battery-electric buses $27.8
Total $154.0

If the Metro Vancouver Board agrees, TransLink will be starting in earnest the plan to renew its bus fleet with low-emission vehicles.

TransLink must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Langley City’s Request for Service is the fastest way to report a problem

As a Langley City Council member, one of my roles is to help people navigate municipal government. One thing that gives me stratification is when a resident can get their matters resolved.

I’ve posted about it before. One of the first things that I ask people when they contact me about getting something fixed or cleaned-up is if they’ve completed a Request for Service.

Request for Service is Langley City’s online tool for reporting issues.

I use the tool all the time myself. I’ve likely completed hundreds of Request for Service requests over the years for things like burnt-out streetlights, abandoned garbage cleanup, trail repairs, signage requests, and bylaw matters.

The benefit of using Request for Service is that it delivers your request directly to the people who can action your request. It also gives you an ID number. All actions associated with a request are associated with that ID number.

Sometimes people reach out to me after they’ve reached out to City Hall about a matter. If a person has a Request for Service ID number, it streamlines figuring out what occurred.

Not all matters can be addressed with the Request for Service tool. It does take an email or phone call to address issues sometimes.

If you see a broken water main, damaged sewer line, non-functional traffic light, missing stops sign, or a sinkhole, please call the City at (604) 514-2800 or (604) 534-3496 if it is after-hours.

For after-hours bylaw issues such as around noise, please call the non-emergency line of the Langley RCMP at (604) 532-3200.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Celebrating Arts and Culture in Langley City – On Now

Screenshot from Langley City website.

Langley City has launched its Celebrating Arts and Culture Virtual Gallery at https://langleycity.ca/celebrating-arts-culture-langley-city

The virtual gallery contains art in all mediums, including printmaking, music, photography, dance, paintings, sculptures, fabric, pottery, and drawings.

Some local businesses are displaying art from the virtual gallery that people can view from the outside. If you happen to be in Downtown Langley (along 203rd, 56th, or the One-Way), be sure to keep your eyes peeled for murals, pottery, paintings, and 3D printing art.

The virtual gallery will be up until January 31st, and many of the pieces are for sale.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Regional District looking to strengthen climate change policies. Perfect timing for Langley City.

Last week, Langley City council unanimously passed a motion that there is a climate emergency. Council requested staff to provide a work plan for how our community can achieve net-zero carbon emissions before 2050. Included in that work plan is updating our Sustainability Framework to incorporate current best practices on climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience, focused around development and infrastructure projects.

The Metro Vancouver Regional District is in the process of updating the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS). Langley City's Offical Community Plan must be consistent with the objectives of the RGS.

Climate change policy areas. Select image to enlarge. Source: Metro Vancouver

One of the areas of focus for the updated RGS is climate change and natural hazards. The current RGS is light on specific measures that municipalities in Metro Vancouver must take around climate change and natural hazards risk reduction. The Regional District is looking to strengthen the language in the updated RGS as follows:

  • Embed new climate change policies in all goals of the update RGS
  • Require ecosystem services such as carbon storage and flood protection to be considered when changing regional land-use designations
  • Require municipalities to specify how they will meet regional GHG emissions reduction targets
  • Quantify the influence of land-use, carbon storage, and regional GHG emissions
  • Create policies to reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions based on current standards and best practices
  • Identify and map regional-scale natural hazards, risks and vulnerabilities
  • Encourage regional growth patterns that incorporate emergency management, utility planning, and climate change adaptation
  • Support regional flood management

Langley City is currently in the process of update our Offical Community Plan. If City council adopts the updated Offical Community Plan this year, the next step will be to update our master plans, such as the Master Transportation Plan. Langley City’s timing is fortuitous as updating our master plans will likely be occurring simultaneously as the Regional District updates its policies.