Thursday, May 23, 2024

Final May 13 Council Meeting Updates

Over the last week or so, I've posted about Langley City's May 13 Council meeting, including updates on our finances, improvement project changes, housing matters, childcare, and road and water construction projects. Today, I'll be finishing my coverage of that meeting.

Council received a presentation from Langley City resident Bruce Downing. He expressed concerns and some potential solutions to addressing urban wildfires in the Nicomekl Floodplain and general considerations about responding to and addressing the aftermath of disasters. Council passed a motion to have staff review Mr. Downing's recommendation and prepare a response. He also called on Council to design "Langley City" ball caps.

As a note, anyone can make a presentation before Council, but you must book time. You can find out how in the "Delegations and Community Spotlights" section of Langley City's website.

Council gave third reading to updating our public notice bylaw, which outlines how we provide notice for non-legislatively required notices. This update is a housekeeping matter; you can read more about it in a previous post.

Council also gave final reading to our tax rate bylaw, which implements the tax rate from our approved 2024 budget. You can also read more about this in a previous post.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Langley City isn't Banning Childcare in Our Whole Downtown. Langley City Expanding Where You Can Create Childcare Centres.

Yesterday morning was a rought start for me. I woke up to a headline from a local news outlet claiming, "Langley City council looks set to ban additional daycares in its downtown." Social media was full of hot takes about this headline, mostly from folks who don't live in Langley City. Global News, CKNW, and CTV also called up. The problem with this is that Langley City is not proposing to ban additional daycares in our downtown area. I spent most of my day setting the record straight.

We are proposing to put a moratorium on new daycares in a small two-block area of our Downtown, known locally as the Fraser Highway One-Way Area. I'll get into the reasons for that later. This area represents about 9.5% of our downtown area.

Langley City Council is committed to creating new childcare spaces. We are investing $4.2 million, in partnership with the provincial government, to add 74 new childcare spaces in our Douglas Park Recreation Centre, about 100 metres from the Fraser Highway One-Way.

Langley City completed a Langley City Child Care Action Plan, outlining the need for child space in three categories: under 36 months, 30 months to school age, and school age. While there is a massive need for childcare across the spectrum, school-age child care (before and after-school care) is severely limited in Langley City.

The following map shows current childcare facilities in our community. Currently, Langley City allows childcare by right in most commercial areas, on school sites, and in recreation centres. Langley City also allows home-based childcare (up to eight childern) in detached homes by right. Over the years, Langley City Council has also rezoned additional sites for childcare centres.

Map of Langley City with childcare locations. Select the map to enlarge.

Given the need for more childcare spaces, especially for school-aged children, Langley City will introduce a new zoning bylaw, scheduled for July, that will allow childcare facilities in all residential and commercial areas of our community. If you want to build a childcare centre, Langley City will not get in the way.

Now, back to the Fraser Highway One-Way area. This area is about 1/3rd the size of the Willowbrook Shopping Centre site. It is the heart of our community and has been our retail main street/high street for over 100 years. The following map shows our downtown area in purple and blue. We are considering putting the moratorium in the blue area.

Map of Downtown Langley with childcare locations. Select the map to enlarge.

If you ask people what they love about Langley City, they will say our walkability and the Fraser Highway One-Way area. Like any shopping area, it thrives because of its diverse shops and services. Active spaces like restaurants, cafes, clothing stores, bookshops, and unique retailers draw locals and out-of-towners to a shopping area, helping all businesses thrive.

Too many service businesses, such as doctors' offices, dental offices, and even daycares, can and do kill a shopping area. All these services are good when spread out and exist in the Fraser Highway One-Way area today.

About every 100 metres (a 1-minute walk), there is a childcare centre in this Fraser Highway One-Way area. There are four centres in this area, with a proposed fifth. This concentration of daycares impacts the diversity of shops and services in this small two-block by 1.5-block area, creating dead zones and impacting other small business owners as daycares drive down foot traffic, a key metric for retail businesses.

Langley City is investing in childcare. We are building childcare facilities in our recreation centres and expanding where people can build childcare centres in our community. At the same time, we are considering putting a moratorium within a small 9.5% area of our Downtown to ensure the continued success of entrepreneurs and small business owners in our cherished Fraser Highway One-Way retail area.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

May 13 Council Notes: Apartment and Townhouse Projects

Last Monday, Langley City Council reviewed several development applications.

The first application was for a proposed 26-unit townhouse complex at the northeast corner of 208th Street and 50A Avenue. The proposed project includes one two-bedroom unit, 23 three-bedroom units, and two five-bedroom units. The project follows the City's Townhome & Plex-Home Best Practices Guide. The City developed this guide based on residents' feedback in our traditional detached housing neighbourhoods.

Rendering of proposed townhouse project at 5030-5064 208 Street & 20845 50A Avenue. Select the image to enlarge.

For example, all of the proposed units include double-wide garages. The project also includes five on-site visitor parking spots. The units are setback and step down in height off 50A Avenue and do not include balconies that can look into neighbouring properties. As part of this project, they will provide a new public pathway to Nicholas Park off 50A Avenue. The large trees on the corner will also be retained.

Council gave first and second reading for this proposed townhouse project.

Rendering of proposed apartment project at 20719-20731 Eastleigh Crescent. Select the image to enlarge.

Council also gave first and second reading for a 5-storey, 132-unit apartment building at the corner of Eastleigh Crescent/56th Avenue/208th Street. The building will have 115 one-bedroom units and 17 two-bedroom units ranging from 440 sq. ft. to 740 sq. ft. As there are several active projects in the area, Council asked for details on where tradespeople will be parking throughout the project's entire lifecycle. The applicant committed to getting this information to Council before third reading. Of note, the parklette on the east corner of Eastleigh and 56th will be getting renewed. The parklette will remain public property.

Council gave third reading to rezone the property at 20256 - 20272 54A Avenue to accommodate a 6-storey, 114-unit apartment project. You can read more about this in a previous post. Third reading acts as an "approval in principle", allowing the project applicant to finalize the details and requirements of their project before Council signs off with a final reading.

Council gave final reading to rezone and issued a development permit for a 6-storey, 96-unit apartment project at 19701-19729 55A Avenue. You can read more about this in a previous post.

Council also gave final reading to rezone, secure rental units through a housing agreement, and issued a development permit for a 6-storey, 75-unit apartment project at 20214 & 20224 54A Avenue. You can read more about this in a previous post.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Updating Langley City's Financial Plans and Improvement Projects

Yesterday, I posted about Langley City's 2023 audit financial statement and that we received a clean bill of financial health. Today, I am highlighting amendments to our 2023-27 Financial Plan and 2024-28 Financial Plan.

As part of basic housekeeping, once we've received our 2023 audit financials, we need to update the 2023-27 Financial Plan and Capital Projects and Improvements Plan to reflect those financial results. Council gave first, second, and third reads to approve this update in principle.

As we move through the year, the City and Council's priorities for improvements and projects change. We can also receive funding for projects from the federal government, the province, TransLink, ICBC, and others. These changes mean that Council must approve amendments to the plan throughout the year. On Monday, Langley City Council gave the first, second, and third readings to approve the following changes in principle.

  • Langley Bypass Roadway and Cycling Improvements - Received additional funding from TransLink.
  • 200 St Culvert Upgrade at Brydon Crescent - Received additional funding from TransLink.
  • Major Road Network Rehabilitation - Received additional funding from TransLink.
  • SkyTrain Multi-Use Path - Received $4 million from the province to create a walking/bike path along the entire SkyTrain route in Langley City.
  • Building a Safer Langley - Received additional funds from the federal government.
  • Local Government Climate Action Program - Received additional funds from the province.
  • Road Rehabilitation - Received additional funds from the federal government.
  • Demolition of Buildings Adjacent to City Hall / Timms Centre - Reallocated funds from City reserves.
  • Fire Hall Exterior Building Envelope Repair - Reallocated funds from City reserves.
  • Fire Ladder Truck Replacement - Reallocated funds from City reserves.
  • Fire Department Thermal Image Camera - Reallocated funds from City reserves.
  • City Park Baseball Diamonds Upgrade - Reallocated funds from City reserves.
  • Miscellaneous Property Purchase - Reallocated funds from City reserves.
  • 208 Street Water Service Repair - Reallocated funds from City reserves.
  • Sewer and Drainage Replacements - Reallocated funds from City reserves
  • Water and Sewer Hydraulic Modelling Software - Reallocated funds from City reserves.
  • Township of Langley Imposed RCMP De-integration Study - Reallocated funds from City reserves.
  • RCMP City Detachment - Reallocated funds from City reserves.
  • City-Wide Parking Study - Reallocated funds from City reserves.
  • Douglas Crescent & 203 St Intersection Safety Improvements - Reallocated funds from City reserves.
  • Fraser Highway, 201A St to 203 St Water Main Replacement - Reduced Budget
  • 46 Ave, 196 St to 200 St Repaving - Deferred project to free up funding
  • Mayor Roads, Left Turn Lanes - Deferred project to free up funding
  • Fire Hall HVAC Renewal - Deferred project to free up funding
  • Park Equipment – Chipper & Trailer - Deferred project to free up funding
  • Rail Notification System - Deferred project to free up funding

You can view the entire document of changes on Langley City's website.