Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Restarting Langley City: Businesses, Parks, and Recreation Services

Over the last several weeks, the provincial government has been rolling out “BC’s Restart Plan.” This is a multistage process to remove restricts and shutdowns that were put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are now in phase 2 of this plan.

In this phase of the plan, museums, art galleries, childcare facilities, libraries, recreation, sports, parks, beaches, and outdoor spaces are opening following WorkSafeBC protocols. This means that many municipal services will be opening again under enhanced protocol to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Langley City council received an update from Kim Hilton who is the Director of Recreation, Culture and Community Services at Monday afternoon’s council meeting. She noted that some in-person recreation services will be starting up in our community including programming for kids and youth starting on June 1st.

Langley City’s Economic Development Task Group which includes members of council and the business community also presented its restart action plan which was approved by council. The action plan includes:

  • Working with the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Langley Business Association to assist businesses to clarify and interpret COVID-19 related government regulation and guidelines.
  • Supporting businesses to develop their safety plans in accordance with WorkSafe BC requirements.
  • Supporting businesses to help them re-open including supporting the specific requirement for restaurants.
  • Implementing a marketing and promotional campaign for Langley City businesses and Downtown Langley.
  • Lobbying the provincial and federal governments for stimulus funding for infrastructure projects to create jobs.
  • Reviewing if municipalities are permitted to “buy local” first, and if so, review the City’s procurement policy.
  • Promoting the availability of the provincial residential property tax deferment program.

This is just a selection of items from the full report.

Council also received letters from restaurant and brewery industry organizations requesting actions that will be addressed in Langley City’s restart action plan. These letters were sent to staff for follow-up.

One of the things that has increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is an increase in the use of non-compostable, single-use packaging which creates long-term health and environmental impacts. Langley City council approved a motion by Councillor Wallace to “requests the provincial and federal governments to provide a subsidy for biodegradable and/or eco-friendly packaging for the food and beverage industry.”

With more activity in our community, some people are walking on streets to maintain a two-metre distance from each other. Council passed the following motion which I put forward.

WHEREAS Dr. Bonnie Henry stated that "if you are passing someone on a sidewalk where you cannot keep 2 metres apart, and you walk by them 'very quickly,' the risk of spreading COVID-19 is negligible";

WHEREAS a standard sidewalk is around 1.5 metres wide making it impossible to keep 2 metres apart; and,

WHEREAS many people are walking in general vehicle travel lanes to maintain a 2-metre distance from other people, increasing the risk of personal injury:

THAT council direct Mayor van den Broek to send a letter on behalf of council requesting that Fraser Health provide official public guidance for people who are passing others while using a sidewalk.

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