Wednesday, June 8, 2016

My City of Langley Operations Centre Tour aka We need to invest more in infrastructure

In order to get a better understanding of the City of Langley's operations, I have been meeting with people that work at the municipality. A few weeks ago, I had a chance to spend an evening with our Fire-Rescue Service. Yesterday, I spent a part of the morning at our Operations Centre. The Operations Centre is located along 198th Street in the City’s industrial area.

All the people and equipment that maintain our roads, water lines, sewer lines, parks, trails, and walkways are based out of the Operations Centre. I arrived at 8:30am, and was pleased to see that there was only a handful of people there. Pretty much everyone was already dispatched out to maintain our city.

Before being elected, I figured that there was an investment imbalance between what actually needs to be invested to maintain our infrastructure in a state of good repair, and what resources have been provided.

While things have improved in recent years, there is still catch-up to do. Even today, our current levels of investment are inadequate.

The following graph is from my friend Patrick Johnstone who is a Councillor in New Westminster. This shows per household property tax and users fees. Note where Langley City is on the chart.

2015 property tax and utility fees per household by municipality in Metro Vancouver. Select chart to enlarge.

The second thing I noticed was that the City’s Operations Centre was long in the tooth. It is in need of replacement.

One of the things that I’ve observed is the high skill level of people that work for the City of Langley. Because of the size of the community and due to policy, many staff members are cross-trained. I chatted with one person that not only looked after the supplies at the Operations Centre, but had his water and sewer tickets. He could pretty much do any job well that was handed to him.

Cross-training is good for the City as it allows for a more agile workforce, and is good for people that work at the City. I was told that City of Langley staff members are sought after by other municipalities due to their skill levels.

I snapped a few pictures from my tour of the Operations Centre.

Langley City Operations Centre

Given the resources provided, the City’s operations staff do an excellent job of keeping Langley running. I left the tour feeling confident in the solid foundation of the Parks and Engineering departments. My job will be to consult with the community and others on Council to figure out how to ensure that we are giving them the resources needed to keep the whole City in a state of good repair.

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