Thursday, March 14, 2019

March 11, 2019 Council Meeting Notes: City Park renewal project and other project updates, plus advocating to the province

Today will be my last post on Monday night’s Langley City council meeting. I’ve previously posted on the approved 2019 budget, the City’s new citizen-led task groups, and updated door-to-door canvassing policy.

While memories of large quantities of snow is likely on most people’s minds, it actually has been a mild winter. This means that various projects have been moving forward in our community. Council received an Engineering and Parks update about what is in the works at the meeting.

City Park is undergoing a phased renewal. The first of several phases is being worked on right now. The following drawing shows the scope of work for this current phase.

City Park current-phase renewal project scope. Select map to enlarge.

There were several trees that were removed recently from the park. The majority of the removed trees were part of the approved plan, but six trees were removed that were not on the original plan (which I learned about post removal). At Monday’s meeting, council was assured that many more trees will be planted than were removed. As per the approved plan, the former conifer trees are being replaced with deciduous trees.

City Park Renewal Project: In-Progress Photos. Select image to enlarge.

It is expected that this phase of the City Park renewal will be done by the end of May.

Other projects on the go include:

  • Condor Park trail renewal
  • LED streetlight renewal which is scheduled to be completed this year
  • New vandalism-resistant boxes to protect city-owned wiring
  • Michaud Crescent corridor renewal planning and upcoming public consultation
  • Grade Crescent corridor renewal planning and upcoming public consultation
  • Glover Road corridor renewal and cycling planning
  • 203rd Street renewal between Fraser Highway and Logan Avenue
  • Various projects to renew water mains throughout the community
  • Updating the Subdivision and Development Bylaw

One of the ways that local governments can pass ideas onto the provincial government for consideration is through the Lower Mainland Local Government Association (LMLGA) and Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM). These organizations present a united voice for local governments in our province. Langley City council approved forwarding the following motions for consideration:

Varied Tax Rate for the Residential Class

WHEREAS the Province of British Columbia through the BC Assessment Act – Prescribed Classes of Property Regulation B.C. Reg. 438/81 specifies that there is one assessment class for all types of residential properties and the Community Charter outlines that a municipal bylaw to establish the property value taxes each year under section 197(3) specifies there is a single rate for each property class;

AND WHEREAS the assessed value of multi-family housing and single family housing appreciates at vastly different rates, leading to large fluctuations and tax rates swings year-to-year between these housing types:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Province of British Columbia amend the BC Assessment Act and the Community Charter to allow the residential class to be split into two distinct residential classes so that a different rate may be applied to each type of residential property to allow for better tax planning, and a more consistent application of property tax changes, for all residents no matter their housing type.

Broaden the Allowable Uses of Parkland Development Cost Charges

WHEREAS the BC government has determined that Parkland Development Cost Charges (“DCCs”) cannot be used to fund sport-related park infrastructure such as synthetic turf fields, tennis or basketball courts, water spray parks, swimming pools and arenas;

AND WHEREAS municipalities can use Parkland DCCs to provide fencing, landscaping, drainage and irrigation, trails, rest-rooms, changing rooms and playground and playing field equipment;

AND WHEREAS there is tangible evidence that new development directly impacts the demand for sport-related park infrastructure through increased attendance at municipal recreation facilities and increased demand for playing time on municipal sports fields:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the BC government be requested to approve an amendment to Section 935(3)(b)(ii) of the Local Government Act to include sports related park infrastructure as an applicable Parkland DCC capital cost.

Tax Credit for Local Government Election Candidate Campaign Contributions

WHEREAS tax credits are available for campaign contributions made to candidates in provincial and federal elections but are not available for campaign contributions made to candidates in local government elections;

AND WHEREAS there is not the same incentive for individuals to contribute to local government election campaigns as there is for provincial and federal election campaigns:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Income Tax Act [RSBC 1996] Chapter 215 be amended to provide for the issuance of tax credits for campaign contributions made to candidates in local government elections.

Removing Cap on Candidate Contribution to Their Own Campaign

WHEREAS under the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act (LECFA), candidate contribution limits have been established which now put a cap on how much a candidate may contribute to his or her own campaign;

AND WHEREAS candidates who wish to fund their own campaigns without seeking external campaign contributions are now extremely limited in how much they can spend on their campaigns:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the province amend the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act to eliminate the cap on how much a candidate may contribute to his or her own campaign so that candidates may, if they so desire, contribute their own funds up to the allowable campaign expense limit.

If these motions are approved by the LMLGA and UBCM, these motions will be forwarded onto the province. This process can take up to a year. Municipalities can also advocate directly via MLAs and by writing letters to the provincial government.

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