Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Yes, We Need the Lawn Watering Police in Metro Vancouver

With winter weather, summer water usage is likely the furthest thing from people's minds. Still, the Metro Vancouver Regional District recently evaluated this summer's water utilization and the effectiveness of water restrictions to plan for next summer and the future.

The following graph shows that overall water availability in Metro Vancouver reservoirs was within normal ranges this past summer. However, water utilization was 5.4% higher in 2023 compared to 2022, so the Regional District activated Stage 2 water restriction in August.

Total Source Water Storage for Metro Vancouver Over Summer Months. Select the chart to enlarge.

While Stage 2 water restrictions did help lower water utilization, the data showed that people were still watering their lawns, which is banned in Stage 2 water restrictions. The Regional District noted that it will need to enhance education, and municipalities will need to increase enforcement to help further limit water utilization when restrictions are in place. It might sound silly, but lawn watering is a significant threat to the availability of drinking water.

The Regional District is looking at increasing the water reservoir capacity, but this is a costly process that takes many years to build out. Even with reservoir expansion, population growth and climate change mean that water conversation will continue to be critical during summer, and our conservation efforts will need to increase.

I'm from the Okanagan, and many people replaced classic grass lawns with native and drought-tolerant landscaping to help converse water. This change in landscaping will likely be something that people will need to consider in our region over the coming decades to help ensure the availability of drinking water.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Magic of Christmas Fevistal and Artisan Craft Market This Weekend

Langley City Council at Last Year's Event

December is just around the corner, meaning the Langley City Magic of Christmas Festival is happening this weekend!

Come by Timms Community Centre on Saturday, December 2, from noon to 6:00 pm. There will be activities and entertainment for everyone.

Activities include seeing Bruce Waugh create a snow sculpture, kids' crafts, and carnival games.

Food trucks like Big Chip Truck, Beavertails, and Greater Vancouver Beer Truck will also be there.

You can also check out the Langley Arts Council's Artisan Craft Market from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Sunday inside Timms Community Centre. There will be over 30 local artisan booths.

Rain, snow, or shine, you don't want to miss Langley City's official kick-off to the Christmas season!

For more information, including details about the entertainment schedule and artisans, please visit Langley City's Magic of Christmas webpage.

Monday, November 27, 2023

What Bus Rapid Transit Means for Langley City, Township, and Maple Ridge

A few weeks ago, the TransLink Mayors' Council announced the first three Bus Rapid Transit routes we will build in Metro Vancouver.

Learn more about Bus Rapid Transit in Langley City, Township, and Maple Ridge, including how it will support fast, frequent, affordable travel options, giving people and businesses more opportunity.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Metro Vancouver Mayors Ask Feds to Fund $2.9 Billion in Need Transportation Investments

RapidBus at Coquitlam Central

In September, the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation announced the $21 billion Access for Everyone plan. This transportation plan will keep our region moving over the next decade with generational investments in rapid transit, buses, walking, and cycling. The plan will also keep our regional roads and bridges in good repair.

The region cannot do this alone, and as in the past, it will require the continued partnership of the federal and provincial governments. To secure funding for transportation in Metro Vancouver, local governments advocate to their local MPs and MLAs. As a region, we also go on political road shows to Ottawa and Victoria to pitch our vision. Another way that the Mayors’ Council advocates is via Pre-Budget Submissions. These documents are sent to the provincial and federal governments, making the case on why and where they should invest money.

At today’s TransLink Mayors’ Council meeting, our region’s mayors (including myself) supported sending in the following funding requests for the 2024-25 federal budget.

  • Add bus depot capacity to support Bus Rapid Transit and expanded regular bus service to address overcrowding and increase transit access ~$1.4 billion
  • Support building three new Bus Rapid Transit projects ~$900m
    • Park Royal to Metrotown
    • Langley City to Maple Ridge along 200th
    • Surrey to White Rock along King George
  • Expand TransLink’s bus fleet to support growing ridership ~$375 million
  • Upgrade Golden Ears Way to support Bus Rapid Transit and goods movement ~$120 million
  • Deliver walking, cycling, and road safety projects ~$70 million

In total, the ask to the federal government is to support $2.9 billion in projects in next year's federal budget.

As the saying goes, Rome wasn't built in a day, nor will it be securing the funding all at once to support the Access for Everyone Plan. As in the past, I'm hopeful that the federal government will come to the table to support affordable transportation solutions that will keep Metro Vancouver going as our population continues to grow due to increased and needed immigration.