Thursday, November 25, 2021

Help Make Christmas Merry for All Families in Langley. Your Support is Needed.

Merry Christmas

The Langley Christmas Bureau helps ensure that all families in our community can enjoy a merry Christmas by providing support to buy toys for each child in a family and food for a Christmas meal.

The Bureau’s goal is to raise $280,000 this year. Unfortunately, donations are lower than expected this year, so the Bureau needs your help.

A $50 donation will buy a toy for one child. A $350 donation will buy toys and a meal for a family of four.

Any amount will help. To donation, please visit https://www.langleychristmasbureau.com/financial-donations/

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

November 22nd Council Notes: Development Proposals

On Monday afternoon, Langley City Council gave first and second reading to a suite of bylaws which will allow for City staff to schedule a public hearing for the following development proposals:

A 30-unit, double-wide garage townhouse project at the southeast corner of 54th Avenue and 198th Street.

Rendering of proposed townhouse project at 5364-5380 198 Street & 19824 54 Avenue. Select image to enlarge.

A 5-storey, 86-unit apartment project on 53A Avenue, at the corner of 201 A Street.

Rendering of proposed project at 20120-20170 53A Avenue. Select image to enlarge.

A 6-storey, 200-apartment unit with 16,000 sq. ft. of ground-level commercial mixed-use project at the corner of Fraser Highway and 208th Street

Rendering of proposed project at 20785 Fraser Highway. Select image to enlarge.

Council also gave the final reading to a rezoning bylaw and issued the development permit to allow the construction of a 4-storey, 62-unit apartment building at the northeast corner of 54th Avenue and 198th Street. This project had a public hearing and received third reading back in April 2017. This project stalled because it exchanged owners.


Rendering of proposed apartment building located at 198 Street and 54 Avenue. Select image to enlarge.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Langley City’s new Official Community Plan adopted. Council asks for an affordable purpose-built rental policy.

Langley City is a member municipality of the Metro Vancouver Regional District. In our region, municipal Official Community Plans must be consistent with regional growth strategies. Langley City Council sent our new proposed Official Community Plan to the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board for approval back in July. The Official Community Plan contains “regional context statements” that show how the Official Community Plan’s policies are consistent with the regional growth strategy.

On October 29th, the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board approved Langley City’s Official Community Plan.

Metro Vancouver staff pointed out that Langley City’s new Official Community Plan further enhances regional objectives by adding 13.8 ha of land to the Mixed Employment regional land use designation. This designation preserves land for non-residential commercial and light industrial uses.

Additional employment land in red outlines with salmon-coloured inside. Select map to enlarge.

Langley City’s new Official Community Plan also supports the regional district’s industrial land strategy by protecting “remaining industrial land, intensify and optimize industrial lands, and bring the existing land supply to market.”

I’m proud that Langley City continues to support enhancing our region’s objectives.

With Metro Vancouver Regional District Board approval, Langley City Council adopted its new Official Community Plan yesterday afternoon, concluding a process that started in 2019. This new plan will now help guide our community’s future for the next several decades.

New land-use map for Langley City. Select map to enlarge.

For more information about the Official Community Plan, please visit Langley City’s website.

Langley City staff are currently working on an updated zoning bylaw that will implement the policy objectives of the new Official Community Plan.

While Langley City’s Official Community Plan has a one-for-one replacement policy for purpose-built rental units, it is silent on the affordability of those rental units. Older purpose-built rental units have lower market rents than newer units, so when these units are replaced, the market rents will be significantly higher than before.

Langley City Council passed the following motion, which I proposed:

THAT in the 2022 capital budget, staff include a line item for creating a below-market rate rental policy to be applied when older purpose-built rental buildings undergo redevelopment;
THAT staff investigate, as part of the policy development, requiring a prescribed percentage of new rental units to have below-market rental rates, secured through a housing agreement, on the site of older purpose-built rental buildings that are redeveloped; and,
THAT staff investigate, as part of the policy development, opportunities to rehouse people displaced due to the redevelopment of older purpose-built rental buildings within their existing neighbourhood.

Monday, November 22, 2021

2015 Provincial Report: Almost All Dikes Substandard in Lower Mainland

The Lower Mainland is a floodplain. Before we began diking works around the Lower Mainland, flooding was part of the natural cycle. The great flood of 1894 kicked the construction of dikes into high gear.

In the Lower Mainland, dikes are the responsibility of municipalities or special purpose diking districts. The provincial government is responsible for regulating dikes, including inspecting dikes.

The provincial government commissioned a report called “Lower Mainland Dike Assessment” which was completed in 2015. The report’s authors found that “almost all of the dikes are substandard and most will not withstand the provincially adopted design flood events.”

They also found that “in considering dike crest elevations relative to design flood levels, only 4% of the dike segments are high enough to contain the present design event.” Dike crest elevation determines how much water level rise a dike can handle before failure occurs.

Altogether, this means that our diking system is not meeting its original flood protection design.

Getting the dike network up to modern standards, which includes accounting for climate change impacts, is cost-prohibitive for municipalities and diking authorities.

The report authors made 11 recommendations of which the following stand out:

  • In connection with the Lower Mainland flood vulnerability assessment currently underway, identify which dikes most urgently need upgrading in terms of assets at risk and the substandard quality of particular dikes. Prioritize the necessary upgrades.
  • Develop comprehensive flood management plans that consider a range of structural and non‐structural flood management strategies in addition to dikes. These plans must recognize that dikes are not fail‐safe and that in some cases, upgrading dikes to withstand the design events may not be feasible, especially when climate change is considered.
  • Consider establishing an over‐arching agency to lead flood management and develop appropriate funding mechanisms to support comprehensive planning and dike upgrading by diking authorities.

One of the long-standing concerns of municipalities has been the lack of stable, significant funding from the provincial government to upgrade dikes.

With the events of last week, I hope that all orders of government renew their efforts to comprehensively and holistically manage and fund dikes in the Lower Mainland.

The following map shows the state-of-repair for dikes in the Lower Mainland.

Lower Mainland Dike Average Rating. Select map to view.

You can download the full report at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/air-land-water/water/integrated-flood-hazard-mgmt/nhc_final_lower_mainland_dike_assessment.pdf