Monday, June 1, 2020

Langley City Hall, library, and park amenities opening today with restrictions

Hunter Park Playground

As I posted about last week, we are in phase 2 of BC’s Restart Plan. In phase two of this plan, the province is allowing libraries, recreation facilities, and park amenities to be reopened under health authority and WorkSafe BC requirements. Starting today, the following will be reopened in the City:

Library Service - FVRL Express

“Beginning June 1, you can start picking up library holds using our FVRL Express - Click, Pick, Go. The new contactless service offers customers a physically distanced way to pick up library holds and return items at all 25 locations.”

More information at: FVRL Express

City Hall – Tax Processing Only

City Hall will be accessible through the north entry only though property owners are encouraged to use the City’s online tools.

Online Tools

Online Payment System

Claim Homeowners Grant

Recreation Programs

Outdoor youth programming is resuming

Park Amenities

The following additional park amenities will be opening today:

  • Sports courts
  • Outdoor fitness equipment
  • Picnic shelters
  • Playgrounds
  • The parkour course at Penzer Park
  • The greenhouse at Sendall Gardens

Please continue to:

  • Keep two metres away from others
  • Avoid large groups
  • Wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each time
  • Stay home if feeling sick

As a note, parking enforcement will be starting today as parking utilization is returning to normal levels in our downtown core.

For more information, please visit the City’s COVID-19 information page.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

May 25 Council Meeting: Lock Out Auto Crime, Public Hearings, and Eliminating Homelessness

This week, I’ve been posting about the afternoon Langley City council meeting that was held on Monday. I covered Langley City’s 2019 financial audit as well as what the City is doing to support BC’s Restart Plan due to COVID-19. Today, I will be covering the remaining topics from that meeting.

One of the goals of Langley City’s Crime Prevention Task Group is to reduce the theft of items from vehicles. This is the single largest segment of criminal activity in our community. One of the hot spots for theft from vehicles is around Linwood Park.

Earlier in the year, ICBC provided eight “Lock Out Auto Crime” signs which were placed around Linwood Park at the request of the Crime Prevention Task Group. These signs were made of low-cost plastic, and were vandalize and/or stolen. The task group requested that these signs be replaced with metal signs for a total cost of $500. These signs would be the same quality as all other street signs in our community.

Council approved the Crime Prevention Task Group’s request. Once the new signs are installed, the City and RCMP will monitor if there is a reduction in theft from vehicles around Linwood Park.

As I posted about a few weeks ago, council gave first and second reading for a rezoning bylaw to allow a 4-Storey, 92-Unit Rental Apartment between 200 and 200A Street. Council gave third reading of that bylaw on Monday.

Currently, council meetings are held by Zoom and posted to YouTube. This has made it impossible to hold public hearings or allow people to view council meetings in real-time. The provincial government now allows public hearing to be conduction via solutions like Zoom as long as the provincial state of emergency due to COVID-19 is in place. Previously, public hearing had to occur in-person.

Council approved allowing public hearings to be held via Zoom Webinar and Video Conferencing. This will allow people in our community to once again participate in council meetings if they choose.

Council received a letter from the City of Port Moody regarding homelessness and passed the following motion in response:

WHEREAS our society has been plagued by homelessness and a lack of support systems for those affected by addictions and mental illness for generations;

AND WHEREAS the state of homelessness in our region has only worsened over the course of decades and throughout multiple Provincial Governments;

AND WHEREAS an eventual economic rebuild is a good opportunity to make positive upgrades to our society;

BE IT RESOLVED:

THAT the City of Langley considers a return to the “normal” state of homelessness in our region, province, and nation after the COVID emergency fundamentally unacceptable;

AND THAT the City of Langley call on the Metro Vancouver Regional District, the Government of BC, and the Government of Canada to use the post-COVID recovery as an opportunity to “upgrade” our society by eliminating homelessness;

AND THAT the City of Langley supports a return to large-scale supportive housing arrangements for those afflicted by mental illness, such as a revived facility at Riverview.

As a note, Ellen Hall was appointed to the City’s Environmental Task Group.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Restarting Langley City: Businesses, Parks, and Recreation Services

Over the last several weeks, the provincial government has been rolling out “BC’s Restart Plan.” This is a multistage process to remove restricts and shutdowns that were put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are now in phase 2 of this plan.

In this phase of the plan, museums, art galleries, childcare facilities, libraries, recreation, sports, parks, beaches, and outdoor spaces are opening following WorkSafeBC protocols. This means that many municipal services will be opening again under enhanced protocol to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Langley City council received an update from Kim Hilton who is the Director of Recreation, Culture and Community Services at Monday afternoon’s council meeting. She noted that some in-person recreation services will be starting up in our community including programming for kids and youth starting on June 1st.

Langley City’s Economic Development Task Group which includes members of council and the business community also presented its restart action plan which was approved by council. The action plan includes:

  • Working with the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Langley Business Association to assist businesses to clarify and interpret COVID-19 related government regulation and guidelines.
  • Supporting businesses to develop their safety plans in accordance with WorkSafe BC requirements.
  • Supporting businesses to help them re-open including supporting the specific requirement for restaurants.
  • Implementing a marketing and promotional campaign for Langley City businesses and Downtown Langley.
  • Lobbying the provincial and federal governments for stimulus funding for infrastructure projects to create jobs.
  • Reviewing if municipalities are permitted to “buy local” first, and if so, review the City’s procurement policy.
  • Promoting the availability of the provincial residential property tax deferment program.

This is just a selection of items from the full report.

Council also received letters from restaurant and brewery industry organizations requesting actions that will be addressed in Langley City’s restart action plan. These letters were sent to staff for follow-up.

One of the things that has increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is an increase in the use of non-compostable, single-use packaging which creates long-term health and environmental impacts. Langley City council approved a motion by Councillor Wallace to “requests the provincial and federal governments to provide a subsidy for biodegradable and/or eco-friendly packaging for the food and beverage industry.”

With more activity in our community, some people are walking on streets to maintain a two-metre distance from each other. Council passed the following motion which I put forward.

WHEREAS Dr. Bonnie Henry stated that "if you are passing someone on a sidewalk where you cannot keep 2 metres apart, and you walk by them 'very quickly,' the risk of spreading COVID-19 is negligible";

WHEREAS a standard sidewalk is around 1.5 metres wide making it impossible to keep 2 metres apart; and,

WHEREAS many people are walking in general vehicle travel lanes to maintain a 2-metre distance from other people, increasing the risk of personal injury:

THAT council direct Mayor van den Broek to send a letter on behalf of council requesting that Fraser Health provide official public guidance for people who are passing others while using a sidewalk.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Langley City 2019 Audited Financial Statements

As per provincial law, local governments must annually prepare independently audited financial statements. These financial statements are incorporated into annual reports which are released in the summer. Langley City council approved the 2019 consolidated financial statements at Monday afternoon’s council meeting which was held over Zoom. These meetings can be viewed on YouTube.

The following interactive charts show the 2019 audited revenue and expenditures less amortization. You can hover over each pie slice to get more information.

Every year, the City takes a portion of the revenue that it receives, and transfer it into reserve accounts. These reserve accounts help fund capital projects such as replacing water mains, improving parks, and resurfacing roads. At the end of 2019, the City had $41.9 million in these reserve accounts.

The City also collects revenue from developers as a required part of the redevelopment process in our community. This is called Development Cost Charges. This collected revenue must be used for specific projects which are approved by the provincial government. The City had $20.9 million at the end of 2019 in Development Cost Charges.

As part of approving the 2019 consolidated financial statements, council must also approve updating the 2019-24 Financial Plan to replace the budgeted amounts with the actual amounts. Council gave first, second, and third reading for this amendment to the financial plan.