Tuesday, March 26, 2019

March 25, 2019 Council Meeting Notes: Council supports $10-a-day child care. George Massey Tunnel update.

Last night at the Langley City council meeting, there were two delegations. A delegation is a way for an individual or organization to appear before council, and is time-limited to five minutes.

The first delegation was from the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC in support of $10-a-day child care. The presenters noted that currently it can cost between $795 to $859 for children up to the age of 5 to receive child care in Langley. This is not affordable for most families.

The presenters stated that early child care is critically important because most families today have both parents working to make ends meet. The presenters said that there is both social and economic benefits to providing universal $10-a-day child care to all people in BC, no matter their family income.

The people presenting also noted the importance of providing quality child care, and its direct link to adult health, education, and social outcomes. Basically, if a child is supported before the age of five, as an adult, they are more likely to be happy, healthy, and prosperous.

The Early Development Instrument (EDI) is a metric that was developed at UBC which quantifies the mental and physical well-being of children at the age of five. The results in Langley City are troubling. Children that live north of the Nicomekl River in Langley City have some of the most vulnerable EDI metrics in BC.

EDI Vulnerability Rates in Langley. Select image to view.

By providing high-quality, $10-a-day child care, the presenters stated that it would improve the EDI metric for children in Langley City.

The Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC was looking for Langley City council to support $10-a-day child care. Council unanimously approved a motion in support. Implementing $10-a-day child care is the responsibility of the provincial government.

The second delegation to council was by representatives from the BC Ministry of Transportations and Infrastructure about their plans for the George Massey crossing. The current provincial government cancelled the former government’s $3.5 billion, 10-lane George Massey Bridge. The current government is now looking at alternatives to improving the movement of people and goods along that corridor.

The goals of the new project are to:

  • Support sustainability of South of Fraser Communities
  • Facilitate increased share of sustainable modes of transport
  • Enhance regional goods movement and commerce
  • Support a health environment

They will be seeking feedback from local and regional governments, First Nations, other stakeholders, and the general public over the next few months. They are proposing to do some immediate tunnel and road works this summer, with other interim changes starting in the summer of 2020.

Representatives from the Ministry were looking for direct feedback from members of council last night, so I read the following to them.

The originally proposed 10-lane bridge was a $3.5 billion project. To put that into perspective, building SkyTrain from King George to Langley City is a $2.9 billion project.

According to the latest information from TransLink which is the 2011 trip survey, less than 5% of all trips go between Surrey/North Delta and Richmond/South Delta. In Langley, it is 2% of trips.

Over 80% of trips are within North Delta, Surrey, and Langley.

For a long time, our transportation system was focused on moving cars and trucks. I’m happy to see that we are now focusing on the most efficient way of moving people and goods by investing in walk, cycling, transit, and other innovative methods for goods movement such as short-sea shipping.

I’m happy that the provincial government in reviewing this project, and I hope you view it through a multimodal lens.

I also hope that the province looks at the traffic pre- and post-toll removal on the Port Mann Bridge when reviewing the project, and considers the information in the Mayors’ Council Decongestion Pricing Report.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting about other items that were on Monday night’s council agenda.

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