Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 30th, 2017 Council Meeting Notes: Protecting Environmentally Sensitive Areas, Water & Sewer Rate Changes, and Speeding

Last night was a short City of Langley council meeting. The meeting started with a public hearing for a proposed update to the Official Community Plan (OCP) to incorporate the results of the City’s Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA) mapping study. The following map is proposed to be incorporated into the OCP, and is one of the deliverables of that study.

Environmentally Sensitive Areas map. Select map to enlarge.

The proposed OCP update would prohibit all development in areas with moderate to high value. Development in low to moderately-low areas would have to adhere to the proposed requirements to:

  • Locate development away from sensitive habitat and features
  • Locate and design development to protect, complement and enhance ESA values including natural areas, landforms, ecological connectivity and hydrological function
  • Require habitat compensation at 2:1 replacement levels for any development affecting ESA’s

This next map proposed to be incorporated into the OCP shows watercourses within the City, and watercourse where there are salmonids. As proposed, the OCP would prohibit development as follows:

  • Class “A” Watercourse – 30.0 metre setback
  • Class “B” Watercourse – 15.0 metres setback
  • Class “C” Watercourse – 5.0 metres setback
Watercourse classification map. Select map to enlarge.

As an alternative to the setbacks outlined, a “Qualified Environmental Professional” in accordance with the provincial “Riparian Areas Regulations” may also determine the setbacks from watercourses.

These proposed changes to the OCP are more detailed and prescriptive than the current OCP around the protection of Environmentally Sensitive Areas.

City Council received both written and oral comments at the public hearing from the Nicomekl Enhancement Society, Langley Environmental Partners Society, Langley Field Naturalists, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and Metro Vancouver.

The three environmental societies requested that they be allowed access to review development applications in the ESA. There was also concern that using a “Qualified Environmental Professional” could results in setback reductions which would have a negative impact on the environment and salmonids.

City staff noted that “Qualified Environmental Professional” recommendations must be reviewed and accepted by the province. City staff also noted that “Qualified Environmental Professional” recommendations would be publicly available as part of any development permit application. Development permit applications must also go to council for approval which provides an opportunity for feedback.

Council gave third reading of the bylaw to amend the Official Community Plan.

Later during the meeting, the Mayor noted that the RCMP did speed enforcement for the playground zone around Brydon Park. The RCMP issued 16 tickets in that area this month. This show that there is a design problem with that section of road. Roads should be designed to encourage people to drive at a safe speed.

Traffic calming is a priority for the City of Langley; a record-level $400,000 in one year will be invested into traffic calming if the proposed budget is approved for 2017.

Council also gave first, second, and third reading to the Waterworks Regulation, and Sanity Sewer and Storm Sewer Rates and Regulation bylaws.

For most users, this means the water service rates will change as follows:

$75.00 flat-rate per dwelling unit per year, plus a consumption charge of $1.16 per cubic metre of water consumed during the previous year.

For most users, this means for sewer service the rates will change as follows:

$75.00 flat-rate per dwelling unit per year, plus a consumption charge of $1.04 per cubic metre based on 80% of the water consumption used during the previous twelve months.

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