Friday, January 27, 2023

TransLink Mayors’ Council gets to work on 10-Year Vision

Mayors’ Council

Yesterday, I attended the third Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation meeting since the fall local government elections. The Mayors’ Council is one of the governing bodies of TransLink.

This meeting set the stage for the work the Mayors’ Council will complete over the next year. Earlier this week, I posted about the Mayors’ Council’s 10-Year Priorities Transportation Plan. The Mayors’ Council voted to endorse that Plan yesterday.

This Plan will be required to keep people moving and give people affordable travel options as our region grows. Currently, the new 10-Year Plan is unfunded. The priority of the Mayors’ Council will be to work with the federal and provincial governments to enable predictable, stable funding for TransLink to move the Plan forward.

As the Mayors’ Council has 23 members, the Council forms sub-groups to work on substantial policies, which get sent to the full Mayors’ Council for comment and, hopefully, eventual approval.

The Mayors’ Council sub-groups include:

Finance Committee — “This committee will provide input to and recommendations on the timing, pace and final shape for the next Investment Plan. In addition, the committee will be responsible for overseeing the Investment Plan’s funding strategy, and financial modelling and assumptions.”

Planning and Priorities Committee — “This committee will provide input on the processes and studies designed to prioritize TransLink plans, projects and services for funding and inclusion in upcoming investment plans. The committee will also be responsible for considering the development of other policy-related initiatives.”

Public Affairs and Governance Committee — “This committee’s mandate will primarily be external facing to provide input to communication and public advocacy efforts to secure senior government support for 10YP and the next Investment Plan. The committee will also consider the Council’s mandated “HR” responsibilities.”

Indigenous Relations Joint Advisory Working Group — “This joint working group was created in September 2022 to provide advice on the implementation of the reconciliation commitments in Transport 2050, including providing transit service to indigenous communities.”

Small Municipalities Caucus — “This caucus comprising the members of the 4-5 smallest local governments in the region have met informally and on an ad hoc basis for many years, to provide unique “small community” perspectives and inputs to regional policies and plans being considered by the Mayors’ Council. The caucus will meet as needed, likely 2-4 times per year, and will consider how proposed policies and plans may impact smaller local governments differently than other local governments in the region.”

Joint Governance Task Force — “This joint task force, comprising 3 members from each of the Board and Mayors’ Council, will develop recommendations for both bodies and the province to finalize and operationalize the governance changes proposed by Minister Heyman in a process to launch this month.”

The chair and vice-chair of the Mayors’ Council proposed a list of committee appointments. The Mayors’ Council approved the suggested appointments. The Council appointed me as vice-chair of the Finance Committee. You can read the complete list of appointments and more information about each committee’s work plan in the latest Mayors’ Council agenda.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

You can recycle more things in Langley City

Recycle BC, which producers of packaging and paper products fund, provides recycling services in Langley City.

In Langley City, you have either curb-side pickup or shared recycling bins at your townhouse complex or apartment building.

You can only recycle some packaging materials at a depot. These packaging materials include foam and flexible, soft plastics such as shopping bags. The Langley Bottle Depot on Industrial Avenue is the approved depot for Langley City.

Starting this January, more items are accepted for recycling, as shown in the following image and on the Recycle BC website.

A table of new items accepted for recycling. Select image to enlarge.

For more information, please visit the Recycle BC page for Langley City.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Understanding the embedded costs of Metro Vancouver Regional District Services

No Trespassing Sign on Cleveland Dam at Capilano River Head

When you look at your property tax bill, you’ll likely see a line item called “Metro Vancouver.” This property tax line item is one of the funding sources for the Metro Vancouver Regional District though it is not its most significant source of revenue.

The most significant sources of revenue for the Metro Vancouver Regional District are water, sewer, and solid waste fees. Munipcailities purchase water and pay a levy to the regional district to process sewer. Langley City’s water and sewer fees charged to property owners include the regional district’s costs plus City’s costs to maintain the local water and sewer infrastructure. These water and sewer charges show up on your property tax bill, are billed to your strata (which becomes part of your strata fees), or your water and sewer bill if you are a high-volume water/sewer user. High-volume users include some commercial properties. Garbage fees, known as “tipping fees,” are embedded into your solid waste fees, either on your property tax bill or embedded in the cost you or your strata pay to private solid waste haulers.

The following graphic shows the average household costs from Metro Vancouver services and how much each revenue source contributes to the overall funding for the regional district and its overall expenditures.

Breakdown of Metro Vancouver Regional District Costs. Select the graphic to enlarge. Source: Metro Vancouver

Monday, January 23, 2023

Mayors’ Council set to vote on work plan in support of 10-Year Transportation Priorities


On Thursday, the first Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation meeting of the year is happening. The Mayors’ Council and the TransLink board set the organization’s direction.

One of the items on the agenda will be to endorse this year’s work plan of the Mayors’ Council. Getting the Mayors’ Council’s 10-Year Priorities Transportation Plan moved from paper to delivery is what the proposed 2023 work plan will focus on if approved by the region’s mayors.

The key priorities currently are:

  • Developing a sustainable funding strategy for TransLink
  • Expanding local, RapidBus, and Bus Rapid Transit services
    Priority Routes RapidBus Candidate? BRT Candidate?
    King George Blvd to White Rock Yes - Extension from Newton Yes
    Lynn Valley – Downtown/Lonsdale (via Lions Gate) Yes Yes
    Marine Dr Station – 22nd St Station Yes Yes
    Langley – Haney Place (via Golden Ears) Yes Yes
    Coquitlam – Haney Place (via Lougheed) In operation Yes
    Hastings Street In operation Yes
    Richmond Centre – Metrotown In planning Yes
    Scott Road Opening 2023 Yes
  • Moving forward with North Shore Rapid Transit
  • Building the Burnaby Mountain Gondola
  • Start moving TransLink’s operations to net zero, including replacing conventional diesel, diesel-hybrid, and compressed natural gas buses
  • Completing a climate change risk assessment of crucial TransLink infrastructure, and developing a strategy to reduce those risks
  • Working with the Metro Vancouver Regional District to create policies that support a 65% reduction in GHG emissions from cars, vans, SUVs, and pickups by 2030
  • Creating a funding program for local governments to build out the Major Bikeway Network
    Map of TransLink’s Major Bikeway Network. Select the map to enlarge.
  • Developing the express transit service plan covering the Sea to Sky region to the eastern Fraser Valley
  • Continuing to develop new technologies to support Mobility-as-a-Service
  • Supporting the province’s plan to extend SkyTrain to UBC

It will be interesting to see if there will be any changes to the work plan proposed at Thursday’s Mayors’ Council meeting.