Thursday, January 13, 2022

Langley City projects on-the-go including 200th Street sewer

In Metro Vancouver, many municipal projects can continue throughout the winter months when temperatures are above zero. With the recent “Christmas freeze” gone, work is picking up on these projects again. One of the significant City projects is replacing the sanitary sewer under 200th Street. For the next two weeks, construction work will be moving south of 49th Avenue and include a section under Grade Crescent. Please expect delays.

200th Street Sanitary Sewer. Select image to enlarge. Photo Source: Langley City

The 208th Street Safer Cycling Project is also progressing with work to complete the protected bike lanes across the 208th Street bridge at the Nicomekl River.

208th Street Causeway Safer Cycling Project. Select image to enlarge. Photo Source: Langley City

The Glover Road Safer Cycling and Underground Utility Replacement Project has progressed despite the weather. Streets typically have two layers of asphalt. To ensure its long life, asphalt requires dry weather with temperatures above 12. The City’s contractor put the first layer down before the cold weather. The contractor will put the top layer on during the spring when it warms up.

Glover Road Safer Cycling Project. Select image to enlarge. Photo Source: Langley City

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Langley City Committee and Task Group Appointments for 2022

Langley City has a variety of committees and task groups where members of the public can volunteer. These groups help inform the policies of the City and make things happen.

Langley City Council appointed new people to task groups and committees as follows:

Advisory Design Panel - One year term:
Scott Thompson*, resident member at large
Leslie Koole, resident member at large

Arts & Culture Task Group - One year term:
Dena Ojaghi, youth representative

Crime Prevention Task Group - One year term:
Lew Murphy, member at large
Don Osborne, member at large
Scott Thompson*, member at large
Natalie Selvage, youth representative

Environmental Task Group - One year term:
Marcela Ferreira, member at large
Amika Watari, post secondary representative

CP Community Advisory Panel - Two year term:
Rob Chorney, resident member at large

Board of Variance – Three year term:
Angie MacDonald, board member
Jim Wuest, board member

Please visit Langley City’s website for more information, including how you can volunteer.

Langley City Council members also serve on committees and task groups as well as external bodies such as the Langley Local Immigration Partnership and Fraser Health Municipal Advisory Council. For the list of 2022 appointments approved at the last council meeting, please read, “Delegates and Representatives Appointments.” As a note, Councillor Albrecht was appointed co-chair of the Crime Prevention Task Group and Councillor Storteboom as the alternate for the Langley Human Dignity Coalition.

*These are two different people.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Council gives first and second reading to update zoning bylaw to allow Ladyluck Tattoo to relocate

Langley City’s zoning bylaw requires a 400-metre separation distance between a new business and existing businesses in specific categories to help promote a variety of retail service-oriented businesses in our community. Tattoo parlours are one of those categories of businesses.

In December, Council gave third reading to a rezoning bylaw which, if given final reading, would enable the redevelopment of the property located at 20785 Fraser Highway to build a 6-storey mixed-use building.

Ladyluck Tattoo is located at 20785 Fraser Highway, and as a result of this possible redevelopment, the owner found a new location within Langley City to relocate their business. Ladyluck Tattoo has operated in our community for 27 years, but because of the 400-metre separation distance requirement, they would not be able to relocate within Langley City.

Council’s intent, requiring a 400-metre separation distance for certain service-oriented businesses, is to create a diverse service-oriented business community. The intent is not to force an owner to go out of business in Langley City.

As a result, Langley City staff have worked with the owner of Ladyluck Tattoo to propose an update to our zoning bylaw, allowing the business to relocate to 103 – 20258 Fraser Highway and move back to 20785 Fraser Highway if and when that project completes.

Council gave first and second reading to update our zoning bylaw to allow the relocation of Ladyluck Tattoo. Council will also hold an extra council meeting this month to ensure that this proposed update to the zoning bylaw could be adopted before Ladyluck Tattoo has to move.

As an aside, one of the reasons why I love living in Langley City is that we are small enough that each business and resident has the opportunity to be heard by Council and City staff personally.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Langley City needs to improve its snow game

200th Street sidewalk near 56th Avenue. Select image to enlarge.

In Metro Vancouver, we tend to get under a month of snow. But when it does snow, it dumps. In Langley City, we do not hire more crews to maintain our roads and sidewalks when it snows. Crews are retasked from other work to plough our roads and select sidewalks/walkways.

When it comes to our roadways, I know we have some of the best in the region when it comes to snow removal and winter maintenance. Sidewalks and bike lanes are another story.

When a sidewalk is along the perimeter of private property, the private property owner or tenant must clear snow off sidewalks within 24 hours of a snowfall event.

The City does not perform winter maintenance on separated bike lanes.

Previously, I lived near 204th Street and 53rd Avenue. For the most part, property owners in that neighbourhood, which includes Downtown Langley, removed snow off their sidewalks in a timely fashion.

This year, I moved to the end of 55A Avenue near Surrey. As someone who does a lot of walking, I can tell you that sidewalk snow removal is hit or miss in this part of town.

The significant issues are along 200th Street and 56th Avenue. Many commercial property owners and their tenants do not remove the snow on sidewalks along their properties. The City maintained sidewalks are “proirty two” in the area.

As someone who is able-bodied and has snow gear, I was able to trudge through the snow for the first day or two after a snowfall. But as the temperature hoovers around zero in Langley City, these sidewalks quickly turn icy, creating slipping hazards. I cannot count the number of times I’ve almost fallen onto my butt these past few weeks when using some of these unmaintained sidewalks.

As a City, we want to build a community with universal access. The means that everyone, including people with limited mobility, who use scooters or use other mobility devices, should be able to use sidewalks safely. 200th Street and 56th Avenue today are not universally accessible when it snows.

Langley City’s new Official Community Plan speaks to prioritizing walking and mobility aids; bicycling and rolling; and public transit.

So, what should we do?

As I noted, Langley City crews are already super busy when it snows, so we cannot ask them to do more.

The first step is to create an ongoing education campaign to inform commercial and industrial property owners that City bylaws require that they remove snow off sidewalks along their properties.

City council may also need to consider increasing the snow removal budget and purchasing equipment, allowing City crews to get to “priority two” sidewalks faster and clear separated bike lanes.

With climate change, our winters are becoming more intense. Heavy snowfall will be more frequent over the coming years.