Thursday, April 26, 2018

#LangleyCityConnect Neighbourhood Meetings Coming Up in May

For the past several years, Langley City has hosted a series of neighbourhood meetings annually. Generally when public meetings occur in a community, it is to seek feedback on a specific plan or project. Otherwise, people are expected to reach out to local government if they have other questions or concerns. This can be an intimidating process for many people.

People at Douglas Park neighbourhood meeting in October 2017. Select image to enlarge.

Our Langley City neighbourhood meetings are a way for local government to come to people where they are at, in a casual atmosphere. The mayor and city council will be on hand, as will be representatives from every city department, plus the RCMP, to answer your questions.

There will be members of Langley City’s Crime Prevention Task Group at the meetings looking to sign up people to help out with the upcoming “Know Your Neighbours” campaign.

You can also learn about community projects, what has been accomplished over the last year, and learn about the wide range of programs and services available in our community. If you want, you can also provide feedback on upcoming city-led initiatives.

If you have a question about organics collection, parks, redevelopment, or the budget, or you just want to stop by to meet other people in your neighbourhood, please consider attending an upcoming neighbourhood meeting.

Details:

Date: May 1, 2018
Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Location: Simonds Elementary School Gym - 20190 48 Avenue

Date: May 8, 2018
Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Location: Douglas Park Community School Gym - 5409 206 Street

Date: May 16, 2018
Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Location: Alice Brown Elementary School Gym - 20011 44 Avenue

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

April 23, 2018 Council Meeting Notes: Downtown Saturday farmers market starting up, and redevelopment continues

Several groups presented information at Monday night’s Langley City council meeting. There were also several zoning bylaws that continued their progress forward, and some housekeeping bylaws addressed.

The first presentation was from the New Westminster & District Labour Council reminding council about the upcoming Day of Mourning for Workers Kill or Injured. Representatives from the Labour Council noted that the Day of Mourning also serves as a reminder to make our workplaces safer. A safe work environment also needs to support good mental health; bullying and harassment is akin to a workplace injury. Langley City will be raising a flag to acknowledge the Day of Mourning. For more information about this day, please visit the Labour Council’s facebook page.

The Langley Community Farmers Market will be expanding in Langley City. The market currently is open on Wednesday from noon to 4:30pm at the Langley KPU Campus. The market will now also be open on Saturday between 10am and 2pm at the Timms Community Centre parking lot in Downtown Langley. The market only allows people that produce their own goods to be vendors. This will be a great addition to our community, and I look forward to the opening date of June 2nd.

Council also received a presentation by Ginger Sherlock who is the Langley Emergency Planning Coordinator. She reminded council that Emergency Preparedness Week is coming up from May 6th through 12th. There will be events scheduled in both the City and Township. She noted that information about these events will be posted to both municipality’s websites, and on social media with the hashtag #FamilyReady.

There were three land-use matters addressed by council. The first was a public hearing for a re-zoning request to accommodate a 3-storey, 39-unit townhouse project at the end of 199A Street near Brydon Crescent. At the public hearing, one resident asked if sewer services would be interrupted for neighbouring residents during construction. He was told that there would be no interruption in service. Council gave third reading to the bylaw for re-zoning.

Site plan for proposed project at the end of 199A Street. Select image to enlarge.

Council also gave first and second reading for a bylaw to rezoning 20689 and 20699 Eastleigh Crescent to support a 3-storey, 23-unit townhouse project. This will allow for a public hearing to be scheduled.

Rendering of proposed project along Eastleigh Crescent. Select image to enlarge.

Langley City allows secondary suites, but some properties in our community have land-use contracts from the 1970s which prevent them. It is the City’s policy to remove these contracts at the request of owners. Council gave first and second reading to discharge the land-use contract for 5139 206 Street.

Council gave final reading to adopt various housekeeping bylaws for the upcoming fall municipal election.

Council also gave first, second, and third reading to the 2018 tax rate bylaw. The budget was approved earlier this year, and I posted about what the impact will be for sample single-family and multi-family properties at that time. A tax rate is also known as a mill rate, and it must be adjusted annually.

You may have heard that Metro Vancouver Regional District directors voted for a retroactive retirement allowance from 2007. As this didn’t go over well with the general public, the directors are reconsidering this allowance. Langley City council passed a motion asking our Metro Vancouver director to consider voting against this allowance.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Council approves additional funding for Bylaws on Bikes Program

One of the reasons that I moved to Langley City was because of the number of parks, and the extensive trail network. In fact, around 14% of the community is park space. The RCMP has a program in place where members patrol on bicycle throughout the community. Having RCMP members cycling around our community improves their visibility, aiding in crime prevention. Research shows that having police on bikes results in improved access to police services in a community, and increases the likelihood of police encountering an illicit activity in progress during a patrol.

Given the large portion of our community that is only accessible by foot or bicycle, have RCMP members on bikes allows for the patrolling of areas that are not accessible by motor vehicle, improving response times in those areas.

While the RCMP performs summer bike patrols in Langley City, this was not done traditionally by our bylaw department. Last year, a new program was started called the “Integrated Proactive Homelessness Inspection Team.” One of the initiatives of the program was to have bike patrols where both RCMP and bylaw department members where out enforcing both the City’s bylaws and the Criminal Code, with the safety of people who were homeless and other members of the community in mind.

These bike patrols enabled our bylaw department to have improved access throughout our parks and trails network, and other more isolated areas in Langley City. These proactive patrols resulted in a reduction in calls for service for both the RCMP and our bylaw department.

In 2017, our bylaw enforcement staff used bikes made available by the RCMP. This year, those bikes were not available. City council approved investing $4,500 for two bikes plus associated equipment to allow this successful program to continue at last night’s council meeting.

It is innovative programs like this that improve both the perception of safety, and actual safety in our community with minimal cost. A win-win!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Population projections show critical need for Fraser Highway Light Rail

Last week, I posted about population growth in our region based on the latest information available from the Metro Vancouver Regional District. One of the significant shifts is population is the migration of people who currently living in Vancouver and Burnaby, towards Surrey and Langley. What will the population in our region look like in the next 20 years? The following map shows the projected population by 2041, including the change in population from the latest census.

Projected population growth between 2016 to 2041 in Metro Vancouver, by area. Select map to enlarge. Source: Metro Vancouver.

What I like about this map is that it breaks population figures down by urban contiguous areas. Cloverdale and Langley will have a similar population to the Tri-Cities. Surrey will eclipse Vancouver in population starting in 2041.

The South of Fraser will see close to 390,000 people move-in over the next few decades. How we design our transportation systems and communities will be critical to ensure that our region doesn’t grind to a halt. Building mixed-use town centres that are walkable and bikeable, connected by high quality transit will be a must. Just as critical will be to ensure that the majority of jobs are located near transit.

One of the transit projects that I’m most anxious to see open is light rail connecting Downtown Langley to Downtown Surrey.

Last week, UBC started pushing for an extension of the Millennium Line to their Point Grey campus. I’m all for more transit service everywhere in our region, but I also know that the current 10-Year Transportation Vision doesn’t include a SkyTrain extension to UBC. Funding being limited, I always have a bit of a concern that the South of Fraser will get the short end of the stick.

If additional funding becomes available to support building light rail along King George Boulevard, along Fraser Highway, and SkyTrain all the way to UBC, that would be great news. If the funding envelope stays the same, I hope that all levels of government will stick to the current 10-Year Transportation Vision. I believe that sticking to the vision is important, not just because I live in Langley, but because of the sheer number of people that will be moving to the South of Fraser over the next two decades.