Wednesday, September 30, 2020

September 28 Council Meeting: Meeting via Zoom will continue. Housekeeping matters addressed.

At Monday night’s Langley City council meeting, final reading was giving to the “Highway and Traffic Regulation” bylaw, and accompanying update to the “Fees & Charges” bylaw. As these bylaws are now adopted, the City can chargeback to a property owner the actual cost for removing things placed or installed on City property without authorization.

Receiving requests to discharge land-use contracts is a common occurrence for City council. First and second reading was given to discharge the land-use contract for the property located at 20324 49A Avenue. If approved, this will allow the underlining zoning to be applied. For more information about land-use contracts, please visit the provincial government’s website.

Prior to September 2019, municipalities could issue chauffeur permits based on certain conditions. Now, the regulation of taxis, limousines, and ride-hailing is solely the responsibility of the provincial government. As such, City council gave first, second, and third reading to repeal our Chauffeur Permit and Regulation Bylaw as it can no longer be enforced.

Council also gave first, second, and third reading to amend our Municipal Ticket Information System Bylaw to remove references to the Chauffeur Permit and Regulation Bylaw.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic state of emergency in March, council has been meeting via Zoom meeting. Public hearings have also been held via Zoom webinars.

The September 14 council meeting was held in-person as a pilot. Based on the feedback from staff and members of council, and after good discussion at Monday night’s meeting, it was decided by council to continue meeting remotely.

A significant amount of staff time was required to prepare and monitor the council chambers and city hall to ensure that proper COVID-19 safety protocol were being followed. Because council and staff were surrounded by plexiglass barriers, it was difficult to hear others at times. COVID-19 safety protocols also significantly limited the number of people that could attend meetings, making public hearings a challenge to hold in-person.

As council will likely be meeting remotely for some time, staff will be exploring options to make remote council meetings and public hearings even more accessible by:

  • Livestreaming regular council meetings
  • Allowing public attendance of remote council meetings
  • Allowing a limited amount of people to view remote council meetings and public hearings from City Hall for those that do not have access to a computer or Internet

The general feeling I got was that as soon as it is feasible, council would like to resume in-person public meetings. I believe that this will occur once a COVID-19 vaccine is available for the general public.

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