Thursday, December 3, 2020

Langley City’s Elves on the Shelf Ally, Timmy, and Doug countdown to Christmas. Keeping Christmas Bright Downtown.

Usually, this weekend would be the start of Langley City’s Christmas events. This year, things have to be different as public gatherings and events are not permitted at this time.

To help keep you in the Christmas spirit, Langley City has solicited Ally, Timmy and Doug to help countdown to Christmas. You can follow their antics on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. You can also visit the City’s Magic of Christmas webpage.

Here is what they were up to yesterday.

This morning we were just hanging around so we decided to add some additional decorations to the lobby at Timms Community Centre / Langley City Hall. If you visit the weight room or the library, don't forget to look up. #LCelfontheshelf

If you find yourself in Downtown Langley during the evening, check out the Christmas lights at City Hall, Innes Corners Plaza, Douglas Park, McBurney Plaza, and along the streets. City staff went all-in this year to help keep Christmas bright.

Innes Corners Plaza

McBurney Plaza

Douglas Park

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Metro Vancouver remains a recycling leader, but more needs to be done for multi-family housing

One of the things that we can be proud of is that we have been steadily reducing the rate of materials that end up in landfills or incinerated.

The following graph shows that over the past 25 years, the amount of recycled waste has been steadily increasing.

Regional recycling rate for waste from all sectors.

The next graph shows the tonnes per capita of waste generated, recycled, and disposed of into landfill/incineration.

Total waste generation, disposal, and recycling rates per capita.

Disposal and recycling per capita have swaps positions. The total amount of waste generated per capita has remained stable. The good news is that less waste is being disposed of today in absolute numbers than 25 years ago even with an increasing population.

Ideally, we should be moving towards reducing the amount of waste generated in the first place. Paper and plastic are the top recycled items in our province. It is easier said than done, but reducing the amount of product packaging would go a long way to reducing waste generation rates.

Another area for improvement is for people that live in apartments and townhouses (multi-family). People living in single-family homes recycle 63% of waste. People living in multi-family homes have a 36% recycling rate.

I live in an apartment with easy organics and recycling collection. Yet, I still see recyclable items in the garbage bin.

Overall, our region is doing well with reducing waste, but we do have areas where we can improve. For more information, read the 2019 Metro Vancouver Recycling and Solid Waste Management report.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

COVID-19 Impacts on Mobility. Driving back to before levels. Ferries and transit below.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted how we travel. Before the start of the pandemic, I commuted to work in Downtown Vancouver by transit. I’ve now been working from home since mid-March.

I would also explore various parts of our region during weekends in the past. I’ve made a conscious choice to stay within Langley City now.

Instead of taking transit almost daily, I’ve taken transit about four times since mid-March. I don’t own a car, so my primary mode of getting around the 10 square kilometres of Langley City is on foot.

I took a vacation to the Okanagan and Kootenays this summer, but that has been it for travel.

When I’ve been around Langley City, I’ve certainly noticed more people walking and cycling. I’ve also seen that motor vehicle traffic has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

The Metro Vancouver Regional District has a COVID-19 Response Task Force. At their recent meeting, they looked at changing mobility patterns.

The first slide shows major bridges’ traffic volumes as of November 9. These bridge volumes are a good proxy for overall traffic volumes in the region.

Bridge Traffic Volumes. November 9, 2020. Source: BC Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure.

BC Ferries passenger and vehicle volumes are below.

BC Ferries Volumes. November 6, 2020. Source: BC Ferries.

From news reports, transit ridership is at about 40% of pre-pandemic levels. I would expect transit levels to return to normal levels once people start going back to work in offices.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Homelessness in Langley: a more complete picture. Final data from March 2020 homelessness count available.

In August, I posted about the preliminary data from the 2020 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver. The final data report has been released.

The preliminary numbers have not changed. The top three communities where people are experiencing homelessness are Vancouver (2,095), Surrey (644), and Langley (209), representing 80% of the people counted.

In Langley, there was a marked increase in people experiencing homelessness between 2014 and 2017. However, it appears that the number of people experiencing homelessness had stabilized when the count was completed in March.

The economic impact of the COVID-19 likely means an increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness.

The final data report provides a more complete picture of people experiencing homelessness in Metro Vancouver and Langley.

Around 50% of people experiencing homeless in Langley are not in shelters. These people stayed outside, in vacant buildings, in vehicles, or were couch-surfing. In 2017, 79 people were unsheltered in Langley. There were 108 people unsheltered on March 4, 2020.

Due to systemic racism, Indigenous people are overrepresented in the population of people experiencing homelessness. In Langley, 24% of people who were counted in March were Indigenous.

Homelessness also knows no age. In Langley, the age of people experiencing homelessness is as shown in the interactive pie chart.

Youth is under 25 years of age. Adults are 25-54, and Seniors are 55 and older.

In Langley, the Gateway of Hope (The Salvation Army) and Ishtar Transition Housing Society provide shelter spaces. Langley includes both the City and Township.

Supportive housing is considered permanent housing.

Because the Homeless Count is a point-in-time count, the number of people experiencing homelessness is likely higher. For example, most people who are living with friends or couch-surfing will not be counted. Also, volunteers will not be able to cover every corner of a community or enter vacant buildings.

What this report does show are overall trends. In Langley, we still have more work to do as over 50% of people experiencing homelessness are not sheltered. I know that our shelter spaces are maxed out, as is supportive housing to transition people toward independent living. There is much work left to be done in Langley.