Thursday, March 20, 2014

City of Langley School Site Acquisition Charge Update; Nicomekl Floodplain Trail Names

On Tuesday, I posted about how School District No. 35 (Langley) is doubling the School Site Acquisition Charge which is used to pay for new school sites. The City of Langley objected to this increase as no new school sites would be built in the City. I posted why this charge should only apply to areas were there is greenfield development. The City asked for a reduced School Site Acquisition Charge and sent a letter to the Minister of Education requesting this reduction; it was denied.

At Monday night’s Council meeting, City Council debated what to do next. There was a motion put forward to use a dispute resolution procedure to challenge the Minister’s response which is available under the Community Charter and/or filing a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsperson. There was also a motion to basically write a strongly worded letter to Minister of Education Peter Fassbender.

After voting, it appeared that the City would be moving forward with challenging the Minster’s decision and writing a strongly worded letter. In an interesting turn of events, Councillor Rosemary Wallace requested a revote as it appeared she was confused. Oddly enough, a recount was allowed. The end result was a tie which meant Council would not move forward with challenging the Minter’s decision on allowing the doubling of the School Site Acquisition Charge. Council’s only action now is to send a strongly worded letter.

This is very disappointing as City Council had the chance to challenge the unfairness of the School Site Acquisition Charge on a community with no greenfield development. This will further weaken the demand for much needed sustainable redevelopment in the City.

On a different note, the City’s Park and Environment Advisory Committee has spent several years trying to name the trails in the Nicomekl Floodplain. Late in 2012, the first set of trails were named. On Monday, City Council decided to move forward with the remaining recommendations made by the committee. The next step will be a public hearing on the trail names. It is important that the trails be named as the City is now installing trail signage as part of its wayfinding strategy.

City of Langley Trail System. Click image to enlarge.

Trail Names
Trail 1 - Rotary Nicomekl Trail
Trail 2 – Langley Creek Trail
Trail 5 – Powerline Trail East
Trail 8 - Powerline Trail West
Trail 9 – Baldi Creek Trail

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