Tuesday, June 28, 2016

June 27, 2016 Council Meeting Notes – SkyTrain & Bus Rapid Transit, 203rd Street project moving forward, increased policing costs.

Last night's council meeting started with a Committee of the Whole to allow people to comment on the City’s 2015 Annual Report. There were no speakers nor written submissions. Seeing that there was no public comments, we resolved into the regular meeting.

We adopted the 2015 Annual Report. I’ll be posted more information on this reports later this week. In the meantime, you can read the report which is available on the City’s website.

There were two delegations to council last night. The first delegation was from Marg McGuire-Grout who is the chair for the Langley Terry Fox Run. She gave a brief update of their 2016 plans, and thanked the City of Langley for its ongoing financial and logistical support. The run will take plan on September 18th, 2016. More details are available on the Terry Fox Foundation website. Former Councillor Dave Hall was a strong supporter of the Terry Fox Run; the organizing committee will be planning a tribute.

The next delegatation was from Daryl Dela Cruz who chairs SkyTrian for Surrey. At the last council meeting, we heard from the Light Rail Links Coalition. The current Regional Transportation Investments vision calls for light rail along Fraser Highway, King George Boulevard, and 104th Avenue.

Dela Cruz points out that SkyTrain is faster than light rail because it is grade-separated, can provide more frequent service, is automated, and has less stops. The trade off is that SkyTrain costs significantly more money to build than light rail.

Because of the significantly higher cost to build SkyTrain, Dela Cruz is advocating for bus rapid transit along King George Boulevard and 104th Avenue, and SkyTrain along Fraser Highway. This would keep the price tag within the current funding envelope of Regional Transportation Investments vision. Personally, I don’t think that Surrey would support a bus rapid transit only solution along King George/104th.

Regardless, Langley City Council approved a motion at the last meeting to have City Staff compare SkyTrain and Light Rail technology for the Fraser Highway Corridor and present their findings back to council. TransLink in partnership with the province is also developing a detailed evaluation of SkyTrain and Light Rail for rapid transit in the South of Fraser. This should be completed by the end of this year.

After the delegation, Councillor Storteboom provided an update about the regional district. He highlighted that Metro Vancouver is calling for the province to make mattress manufactures responsible for recycling their products.

Councillor Martin provided an update on programs at the library. She noted that the library has started its summer reading programs.

Next, council gave first, second, and third reading to a bylaw which would allow the 203rd Street Project to proceed with an increased budget. The original budget was not in line with the received tender packages. TransLink will be providing an additional $171,500 while money from the casino will provide the remaining $506,000 needed. Council will review the successful tender package at a future meeting.

Council also gave first, second, and third reading for a housekeeping bylaw which would allow “the Director of Engineering, Parks and Environment to execute agreements and other related documents pertaining to issues including land use, development, development works, extended services and latecomer agreements.” Two signatures are required from authorized City staff for any agreement to be executed.

Council heard a presentation and received a new Economic Development Strategy for the City. I’ll be posting more about this at a later date.

The federal government requires that municipalities approve in principle the next year’s police budget even though council hasn't approved the overall 2017 budget for the City. This is because the feds contribute 10% of the revenue required for municipal policing, and need an idea of how much to budget for in the coming year.

The City is not planning to increase the amount of RCMP members for the community. Due to inflationary pressures, the City will need to budget an additional $241,485 in 2017 to maintain policing levels. Council approved this increase in principle. Personally, I’d like to hold the line on policing costs as much as possible as the cost of policing has rapidly increased in the past decade, leaving less funding for other City priorities.

Next, council received a report which outlines council member remuneration and expenses for 2015. The report also includes a list of City employees that made over $75,000 per year, and a list of suppliers which the City spent more than $25,000 with during 2015. I’ll post more about this in the week ahead.

Finally, the City received a letter from the Downtown Langley Business Association about the proliferation of thrift stores and donation bins in the downtown core. Council directs staff to respond to the letter, and work on a solution.

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