Thursday, March 5, 2020

Nicomekl River District Neighbourhood Plan: Phase 2 Concept Plan, Next Steps

An official community plan is one of the key documents for communities in BC; you can think of an official community plan as the constitution for a community. All planning and land-use decisions that are made must be consistent with a community’s official community plan.

Unlike a constitution, official community plans are living documents and are regularly updated. While Langley City’s official community plan has been updated every year or so, the last major update occurred in 2006.

A community’s neighbourhood plans and zoning bylaw are interlinked with its official community plan. In Langley City, we are in the process of updating our official community plan, zoning bylaw, and working on a new Nicomekl River District Neighbourhood Plan.

These plans and bylaws will guide our community’s future for the next decade or more.

Since the spring of 2019, work has been on-going for a new Nicomekl River District Neighbourhood Plan. A draft concept was revealed based on input received from people in our community, city council, and city staff last summer. Based on further input received and technical analysis, this concept was further refined. This updated concept was presented at an open house last night.

There are really two components of the neighbourhood plan: what happens inside the Nicomekl River floodplain and what happens around the floodplain.

One of the concerns that I’ve heard from people is that new development will occur within the current footprint of the floodplain. This is not being proposed in the Nicomekl River District Neighbourhood Plan. The plan envisions enhancing the natural areas of the floodplain.

The guiding principals of the plan are:

  • Reducing the risk of flooding causing harm to people and damaging homes
  • Enhancing habitat quality through the containment and management of invasive species, restoration of native riparian vegetation, and the creation of new off-channel habitat
  • Creating places to gather together and unite the City’s northern and southern neighbourhoods
  • Establishing the Nicomekl River District as a unique and beloved regional destination

The following image provides a high-level view of the proposed enhancement inside the Nicomekl River floodplain.

Nicomekl River District - Proposed neighbourhood-scale projects. Select image to enlarge.

Outside of the floodplain, the following land-uses are being proposed.

Proposed land-uses around the Nicomekl River floodplain. Select map to enlarge.

These are examples of what each of the proposed land-uses could look like with a detailed description. If you look at the area north of the Nicomekl, you will see that much of the area is proposed to be low rise residential. This is similar to redevelopment that has already occurred in this area.

Examples and descriptions of proposed land-uses around the Nicomekl River floodplain. Select image to enlarge.

The main drivers for redevelopment are:

  • To provide greater setbacks and buffers from the floodplain for flood protection
  • To receive developer fees and contributions to help pay for new neighbourhood amenities
  • To enhance transportation infrastructure to improve streets and trails for walking, cycling, and transit access

More detailed information will be posted to the City’s website shortly, and there will be further opportunities to provide feedback.

The next steps will be to incorporate feedback received, and start work on developing a final neighbourhood plan which can be presented to City council for review.

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