Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 25, 2016 Council Meeting Notes - Reducing homelessness front and centre

Last night’s Council meeting focused on homelessness with both the adoption of the City’s new Homelessness Strategic Plan, and a presentation by Langley secondary students about the need to address youth homelessness in in community.

At the start of the Council meeting, we heard from Kristine Simpson who is one of the auditors from BDO. The independent auditor found that the City’s financials where prepared “in accordance with Canadian public sector accounting standards.” There were no significant issues found.

As a note, the City budgeted to collect about $24 million in property tax, but actually collected around $23 million. We budgeted an estimated $5.6 million in revenue from the casino, but the actual revenue was $6.5 million from the casino. The City of Langley's planned expenditures were $40.5 million, but the City came under budget at $38.9 million.

City Council approved the 2015 Consolidated Financial Statements.

Local Langley secondary students from Brookswood Secondary and LSS gave a presentation on the Youth Homelessness Initiative they have been working on.

The key messages were that in 2015-16 there were 162 people in Langley secondary schools experiencing homelessness. According to the group, if you are a homeless youth attending school, are not in Ministry care, and are not in trouble with the law, there is no beds for you in Langley. There big ask was for the City of Langley to support the creation of a safe house as the closest facilities are in Surrey and Abbotsford. They also asked for the City of Langley to write letters to both the provincial and federal governments asking for funding to build the youth safe house.

This request couldn’t have been timelier as City Council approved a new Homelessness Strategic Plan which includes supporting the development of a youth safe house later during the Council meeting.

The next presentation was from the Langley Emergency Program about Emergency Preparedness Week which runs from May 1st through May 7th. On Saturday, May 7th an earthquake simulator will be out in the Willowbrook Mall parking lot. More information is available at the Langley Emergency Program's website.

Tourism Langley presented Sandy Dunkley with their “Lifetime Excellence Award”. Dunkley is a well-known and passionate volunteer in the community.

After the presentation, Councillor Storteboom gave his Metro Vancouver Report where he noted the Council of Councils meeting which I’m posting about this week. Councillor Martin gave her update about the Fraser Valley Regional Library and the “Reading Link Challenge

Approved 70 unit apartment building at the corner of 201A Street and 53rd Avenue.

Council approved updating the zoning bylaw and issuing a development permit to allow a new 70 unit apartment building at the corner of 201A Street and 53rd Avenue. I asked a question about what the developer would do to screen the blank concrete walls which can attract tagging. The developer plans on planting trees and scrubs, but I don’t think they will cover the full area of the concrete.

Council approved another bylaw to updated truck routes in the community as I noted in my last council notes.

Bylaw 2985 and 2986 which deal with financial housekeeping were given first, second, and third reading. Also given first, second, and third reading was a bylaw to only allow certified guide and service dogs in public felicities, and another bylaw to add “e-cigarettes” to the City’s smoking regulations.

Next Council received an update on the Business Walk Program. The program provides an opportunity for Council and City staff to hear directly from the business community about what’s good and bad in the community. The City just completed walks of select businesses in our industrial area, and will be walking the retail areas in the fall. A report of the findings from the walks should be presented to Council in the fall.

City Council approved a new Homelessness Strategic Plan. I will be posting more about this on Thursday.

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