Thursday, December 8, 2016

December 5th, 2016 Council Meeting Notes: Homelessness related issues impact City’s bottom line, and other updates

On Tuesday, I posted about a proposed townhouse project along 198th Street. Yesterday, I posted about bylaws and reports that were on last Monday’s council meeting agenda. Today will be the last post about that meeting, and I will cover the remaining items.

As everyone in Langley City is aware, there has been an increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness in our community. Over the summer, people were camping in the Nicomekl Floodplain park system. A BC Supreme Court ruling allows camping in parks with certain limitation. Getting people a way out of homelessness is critical. The Gateway of Hope with the help of BC Housing has increased the number of shelter spaces temporally. Of course this is not enough, and more work still needs to be done.

Homelessness related issues had an impact on the bottom line of the City as well this year. The budget for vandalism was $103,125.00 in 2016. It is projected that the City will have spent $192,600.00 on addressing vandalism this year. As a result, council approved $89,500.00 to be taken out of the Enterprise Fund to cover these additional costs. The Enterprise Fund can be used to cover unbudgeted expenses.

The Mayor noted in the meeting that the City is currently working on a protocol or bylaw that could help reduce the amount of abandoned shopping carts in our community.

Council Storteboom wanted the City of Langley to put forward the following resolution for the upcoming Federation of Canadian Municipalities Conference about “Standard Remediation of Properties used as Marijuana Grow Operations and Clandestine Drug Laboratories.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) petition the government of Canada to establish a comprehensive standard of remediation for residential and commercial properties affected by the cultivation of agriculture and/or the manufacture of drugs, whether legal or illegal, to acceptable health and safety standards for reoccupation by residents and the protection of investors and underwriters.

Council approved forwarding this motion to the conference for debate.

Rick Bomhof provided an update on engineering and parks projects. Bomhof highlighted the following new items since the last update including:

  • Finishing the removal of infected trees at Hunter Park.
  • Painting “See Tracks? Think Train” signs on sidewalks at some of the rail crossings.
  • Adding water service to Penzer Park.
  • Completing a new boardwalk at Sendall Gardens.
  • Continuing to work on the 203th Street corridor. The roundabout will be finished around mid-December.
  • Installing Downtown Christmas decorations.

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