Friday, March 31, 2023

Call for Artists: $1,000 Honorarium for Winning Fall Streetlight Banners Design

Langley City Streetlight Banner at City Park

Every season, Langley City crews and contractors put up over 200 banners highlighting our community’s positive energy. The banners incorporate colours of the season as well as capture some aspects of the season, such as summer vibes, walking through nature in the spring, or shopping Downtown in the winter.

Langley City has a call for artists to design this year’s fall banners. Each artist should submit two designs which should complement each other.

The banner design should:

  • Reflect Langley City in the fall
  • Be a drawing, painting, block printing, photograph, or vector art
  • Be simple, big, bold, easily seen from street level, and able to stand out when viewed at a distance
  • Use vivid, vibrant, and contrasting fall colours that provide reasonable legibility under low-lighting conditions
  • Use a limited colour palette with no yellows, oranges, or pastels, as they fade quickly

The banner designs will be judged, and the winning artist will receive a $1,000 honorarium ($500 per banner)

The deadline to submit your design is May 19, 2023, before 3:00 pm.

Please visit Langley City’s website for more details, including the technical specifications and how to submit your banner design.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Digging deeper into the Province's $7.2 million grant to Langley City

As was well publicized, the provincial government transferred $1 billion to local governments in BC via their one-time Growing Communities Fund. Langley City is receiving $7,186,000. Langley City received a letter which specified further details about the grant.

The City will be receiving a direct despot on March 31, 2023.

The provincial government will allow local governments to use the grant for the following:

  • Water, sewer, solid waste, and stormwater projects
  • Local government costs for affordable/attainable housing developments
  • Childcare facilities
  • Local government projects that service, directly or indirectly, neighbouring First Nation communities
  • Public safety/emergency management equipment and facilities (not already funded by the federal or provincial governments.)
  • Local road improvements, including sidewalks, cycling infrastructure, and lighting
  • Improvements that facilitate transit service
  • Natural hazard mitigation
  • Parks
  • Recreation facilities (including meeting spaces)

What is also interesting is the funding formula based on population and growth. The formula is such that smaller municipalities get higher per capita funding, as do higher-growth communities.

The Province's "population growth" number is determined by subtracting a local government's 2021 population from its 2016 population. The population data is from BC population estimates.

The following shows the Province's formula for divvying the grant.

Population Range From To Adjustment Factor
Very Small 0 2,000 100%
Small 2,001 5,000 80%
Small-Med 5,001 10,000 60%
Medium 10,001 20,000 40%
Large-Med 20,001 40,000 20%
Large 40,001 150,000 10%
Very Large 150,001 900,000 5%

Flat funding of $500,000 +
Adjusted Population x $365 +
Population Growth x $1000

These are Langley City's numbers. Based on BC data, Langley City had a population of 28,963 in 2021 and 25,888 in 2016.

2,000 x 100% = 2,000
3,000 x 80% = 2,400
5,000 x 60% = 3,000
10,000 x 40% = 4,000
8,957 x 20% = 1,791
Total Adjusted Population: 13,191

Population Growth: 28,957 - 27,083 = 1,871

Flat funding of $500,000 +
13,193 x $365 = $4,815,445 +
1,871 x $1000 = $1,871,000
Total: $7,186,445

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Single-Use Items Bans Coming Down the Pipeline

Overflowing garbage can

At the latest Zero Waste Committee meeting, Metro Vancouver Regional District staff provided an overview of single-use item restriction regulations from federal, provincial, and local governments.

The problem with many single-use items, especially those used out of home, is that they turn into litter on our streets, parks, and natural areas. Worse, they get into our oceans and waterways, breaking down into microplastics that enter our food system. Litter has an economic cost, including cleanup costs borne by local governments.

The federal government recently banned the manufacturing and importing of the following plastic items starting on December 20, 2022: checkout bags, cutlery, stir sticks, straight straws, flexible straws packaged with beverage containers, and ring carriers. The federal government also banned foam takeout containers. Businesses can use up existing stocks until December 20, 2023, when the federal government will ban the distribution of these single-use items.

The provincial government previously allowed local governments to regulate the sales and uses of checkout bags, drinking straws, foam takeout containers, utensils, and stir sticks. Federal regulation effectively eliminates the need for local government to regulate those single-use items.

The provincial government released an “intentions paper” on single-use items, which includes a proposed list of items they are considering banning.

In addition to what the federal government has already banned, the provincial government is proposing to ban starting in 2024:

  • All containers, bowls, plates, trays, cartons, film wrap, and cups made from polystyrene foam, PVC or compostable plastic.
  • All packaging made from oxo-degradable plastic, including oxo-degradable bin liners, dog waste bags and clothing packaging.

Monday, March 27, 2023

March TransLink Mayors’ Council: Provincial and Federal Policies Put Pressure on Transit System

On Friday, I attend the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation meeting. The Mayors’ Council is one of the two governing bodies of TransLink. TransLink’s CEO Kevin Quinn provided his monthly update on the transportation agency. He noted that ridership continues to rebound and is at 84% of 2019 levels. He also announced “Transit for the Planet” for Earth Day on April 22nd, where there will be giveaways at major SkyTrain stations.

TransLink staff presented at the meeting that the transit system faces uneven pressure due to provincial and federal government policies that are helping to transition to a clean future and ensure we have a growing job market.

These pressures include higher than expected immigration levels to Metro Vancouver, with people settling in the South of Fraser and areas well served by transit. The South of Fraser also has lower levels of work-from-home than over parts of the region. Transit ridership is well above 2019 levels in the South of Fraser, and some routes are now overcrowded.

2021 census tracts where recent immigrants comprise a high proportion of the population. Green is around 5%, Light Blue is between 5-10%, and Dark blue is above 10% of the population. Select the map to enlarge.

The rapid uptake of electric vehicles as part of the CleanBC Plan is reducing the revenue TransLink needs to provide transportation services, as gas tax revenue is declining as people adopt EVs.

The provincial government announced $479 million in stopgap funding to keep our transportation system running as we work towards new stable funding for TransLink, which will take the provincial government’s support to replace the gas tax.

The federal government’s immigration policies support our economy, but also strain local and regional infrastructure. The federal government should speed up the implementation of their permanent transit fund to help build transit to support our growing population.

Later in the meeting, the Mayors’ Council approved sending an official submission to the provincial government on their BC Clean Transportation Action Plan. The mayors asked the province to:

  • Incorporate the already approved regional goals, targets, strategies and actions from Transport 2050, Climate 2050, and Metro 2050 into the BC Clean Transportation Action Plan.
  • Collaborate with TransLink and Metro Vancouver to implement these approved regional plans, focusing on funding and implementing Transport 2050: 10-Year Priorities.
  • Work with TransLink and Metro Vancouver on the Driving Down Emissions project to identify and evaluate viable regulatory and policy tools to reduce GHG emissions from the transportation sector.