Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Last Call for Gabby’s

Gabby’s Country Cabaret, whose slogan was a great little honky-tonk, shut down last year and did not reopen. The bar was famous for hosting live country music acts for much of its life.

Yesterday, a demolishing crew quickly pulled down the building, which was beyond repair.

Gabby’s still in tack

Gabby’s sidewall gone

Gabby’s being demolished

Only a small section of Gabby’s remaining

The former site of Gabby’s is right across the street from the proposed 203rd Street SkyTrain station.

There are no current plans before City Council for the redevelopment of this site. The proposed new Official Community Plan land-use for the property is transit-oriented core. This land-use permits mixed-use buildings with ground-level retail and residential/offices above to a maximum height of 15 storeys.

While Gabby’s will be missed by some, I’m excited about the future of its former site.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

TransLink HandyDART Modernization Program - New Fares, New Registration Process, Online Booking Proposed

TransLink is proposing a suite of HandyDART service changes in Metro Vancouver as part of their modernization program.

Highlights of the proposed changes include:

  • Implementing Compass card while still allowing exact cash in the fall of 2021.
  • Updating the fare structure to match the rest of the transit system in the fall of 2021.
    • Adult Cash Fare: $3
      Adult Compass Fare: $2.40
      Adult Compass Monthly Pass: $98
    • Concession Fare: $1.95
      Concession Compass Monthly Pass: $56
      Concessions fares apply to people ages 5 thru 18, and 65+
  • Implementing a new registration process in 2021.
    The four-step process would include:
    1. Submit a simplified application form.
    2. Book personal consultation.
    3. Participate in the personal consultation.
    4. Receive a decision on eligibility for HandyDART service.
  • Introducing an online booking system.

TransLink has set up a webpage with more information about the proposed changes and is also inviting people to take an online survey to gather feedback.

TransLink is hosting a series of telephone town halls:

April 13: HandyDART Modernization Telephone Town Hall from 6 pm to 7 pm

April 15: HandyDART Modernization Workshop #1 for Customers & Care Givers from 6 pm to 7:30 pm

April 17: HandyDART Modernization Workshop #2 for Customers & Care Givers from 11 am to 12:30 pm

You can find out more information about signing up for the telephone town halls on TransLink’s website.

Monday, March 29, 2021

TransLink to reduce printed timetable distribution, shifting focus to online, real-time experience.

Before the COVID-19 state of emergency, TransLink distributed 75,000 physical timetable booklets to 155 locations throughout our region quarterly. TransLink suspended all booklet distribution since the summer of last year. Many distribution locations such as community centres, colleges, universities, and libraries were closed.

While only a small number of people use timetable booklets, TransLink wants to ensure that everyone can access bus schedule information. For example, some people do not have access to cell phones or data plans.

As a result, TransLink will still make PDF timetable booklets available on their website. They will also create a quarterly e-newsletter which will include PDF timetables as well as service change information.

TransLink will be putting up QR codes at select locations, directing people to TransLink’s website for bus schedules.

TransLink will also print 10,000 physical timetable booklets per quarter. People can call TransLink Customer Information to request a timetable by mail. TransLink will also distribute the booklets to a limited number of high-demand locations.

The majority of people use online trip planning tools and apps, but TransLink will still provide a physical or PDF timetable for those who need them.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

March 22 Council Meeting: EV Charging, Street Garbage Bins, Pets, and Reducing GHG Emissions from Buildings

On Monday, Langley City Council gave final reading to a suite of bylaws to improve the protection of watercourses, including streams, creeks, rivers, ponds, drains, ditches, and sewers. While the new bylaws cover all people and businesses that operate in Langley City, they have special provisions focused on construction sites. For more information, please read my previous post, “Langley City’s strict new watercourse protection bylaw.

Council also approved two motions from our Environmental Task Group.

THAT Council direct staff to investigate installing a user pay Electric Vehicle (EV) charging station at City Hall and other civic facilities that is accessible 24 hours a day to the public.
THAT Council request staff to include a budget in 2022 to retain a consultant to complete a streetscape and park waste audit and provide options to improve waste diversion.

Council had a robust discussion about garbage bins on our streets. There was general agreement that the City needs to replace the current silver ad-supported containers.

Right now, all materials put into street garbage bins end up in landfills or incinerated due to the high contamination of recyclable materials with garbage. Council wants to increase the amount of material diverted from the waste stream.

Council also passed a motion calling on the federal government to provide sustainable funding for the Centre for Equitable Library Access and the National Network for Equitable Library Services. These organizations offer specialized library services for the visually impaired and print disabled. The federal government was thinking of cutting their funding.

Council received a letter from a resident asking that we lobby the province to prohibit “no pets” clauses in rental contracts. Council asked staff to investigate if this was possible.

New Westminster Council sent a letter to all municipalities. The letter called on the province to support laid-off hotel and tourism industry workers’ right to return to their jobs when the pandemic eases. Langley City council endorsed this letter.

Council also received a letter from Victoria City Council calling for all municipalities in BC to join the Help Cities Lead campaign. The campaign calls for the province to allow municipalities to implement new measures to reduce GHG emissions from buildings. Building energy use is a significant source of GHG emissions in our province. Council asked staff to request the Help Cities Lead campaign deliver a presentation to Council.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

When you call 911 due to a medical emergency, who should respond? Paramedical services in BC under pressure.

When I was elected to Langley City Council, I learned quickly about one of the long-standing issues between the provincial government and municipalities. This long-standing issue is what level of service should someone expect when they call 911 due to a medical emergency. Over the decades, municipalities have noted that the BC Ambulance Service (now BC Emergency Health Services) response times have increased overall. Because of increased response times, when people call 911, the call-taker can dispatch fire service first responders.

The number of medical calls directed to fire services has skyrocketed over the years. In 2000, Langley City Fire Rescue Service attended 116 calls. In recent years, they attend thousands of calls per years.

Fire services are funded by municipal property tax, while the provincial government funds ambulance services.

The provincial government has consistently stated that municipalities can choose whether they want to have fire service first responders attend medical calls. Would you like to live in a city where first responders do not attend medical calls? Most municipalities have an agreement with BC Emergency Health Services to attended medical calls.

Municipalities have asked the provincial government to compensate municipalities when fire service first responders attend medical calls. The provincial government believes that fire service response to medical calls is optional. Both the BC Liberal and NDP governments have said they will not compensate municipalities.

The provincial government created the BC Ambulance Service in the 1970s to provide a consistent, timely, and professional service for all British Columbians, no matter where they lived. Depending on where you live in BC today, you could receive a different level of emergency medical service when you call 911.

Recently, BC Emergency Health Services updated when they would dispatch fire service first responders to medical calls as part of their “Clinical Response Model.” This model reduced the number of calls fire service first responders attend.

Some Metro Vancouver mayors recently called for the provincial government to increase the types of calls that fire service first responder attend. This request is due to the chronic understaffing and underfunding of the BC Ambulance Service.

All British Columbians should have access to a consistent, professional, and timely response when calling 911 for a medical emergency. The provincial government should ensure that BC Emergency Health Services can respond to medical calls promptly. Where you live shouldn’t dictate the quality of medical service you receive.

Even with an adequately funded ambulance service, fire service first responders still provide critical, time-sensitive medical services in urban centres. The provincial government should compensate municipalities for fire service medical services.

At a public meeting on Monday, Langley City Council asked our staff to prepare a discussion paper on paramedical services in Langley City. This paper will help form the official public position for our community.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

LAPS plan to manage the 22,000 feral community cats in Langley

Langley City Council heard a presentation from Jayne Nelson, the Executive Director of the Langley Animal Protection Society (LAPS.) The Society provides adoption services for cats and dogs. Langley City and Township contract LAPS to provide animal control services.

Ms. Nelson noted the challenges they faced over the last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as limited access to veterinary services including spay/neutering. She also highlighted their successes, such as increased applications for animal adoptions and their shift to an online adaption process.

LAPS launched Major’s Legacy Fund. This fund provides financial assistance to Langley residents facing hardship who need extra support to care for their pets. In 2020, LAPS provided support to 633 families. Services include veterinary care, boarding, and a pet food bank. Langley City is a funding partner.

One of the shocking statistics that Ms. Nelson presented is 22,000 feral cats live in Langley. Feral cats are known to harm wild bird populations, including songbirds. This negative impact is of particular concern in places like Langley City, which has the Nicomekl River floodplain system, home to many wild bird species.

LAPS is piloting a trap, neuter, return program for feral cats, which is the only known humane way to reduce community cats. LAPS recently received funding to complete a comprehensive plan for community cat management. Ms. Nelson stated that they would likely need increased funding to carry out the program starting in 2022.

Cats can end up in the community for a variety of reasons. I asked if cat licensing helps reduce the number of cats that end up in the community. Ms. Nelson stated that Calgary has a successful cat licensing program that has helped control the cat population.

LAPS is a crucial partner for Langley City, and it was good to hear from Ms. Nelson at Monday afternoon’s council meeting.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Construction Underway on 208th Street Enhanced Crosswalk to Uplands Elementary

Over the last several years, Langley City has been enhancing crosswalks and implementing traffic calming focused near schools, parks, and trails. These changes make walking safer and more inviting, supporting creating a walkable community that improves people’s health.

One long-standing request from parents of students who go to Uplands Elementary and the surrounding neighbourhood is to create a new crosswalk across 208th Street near 45A Avenue. This crosswalk would improve walking access between the school and the area east of 208th Street.

In 2019, Langley City implemented traffic calming along 207A Street, including a raised crosswalk that leads to a walkway that connects to 208th Street.

Raised crosswalk along 207 Street near Uplands Elementary. Select image to enlarge.

About four months ago, Langley City council reaffirmed support for a crosswalk across 208th Street. I posted last week that construction is starting on this project.

Over the weekend, I walked up to the new crosswalk’s construction site, through the walkway, and to the school.

New enhanced crosswalk construction underway at 208th Street near 45A Avenue. Select image to enlarge.

While it does not look like much now, the base and conduct to support the rapid flashing crosswalk are in place. Construction is well underway.

When completed, the crosswalk will be similar in design to the crosswalk at 204th Street and 54th Avenue.

Enhanced crosswalk at 204th Street and 54th Avenue, looking north. Select image to enlarge.

It is great to see these positive changes happening in our community. The crosswalk will make it faster to walk to the school as people will no longer need to double back from 44th Avenue.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Metro Vancouver increasing water pH to reduce pipe corrosion starting May

If you live in a house, townhouse, or apartment built before the 1990s or manage commercial or industrial buildings, you are likely aware that Metro Vancouver has naturally low alkaline water with a pH of 7.7. This pH level means that the water slowly corrodes copper pipes over time, leading to water leaks at joints. This slow corrosion is why some building owners choose to re-pipe their buildings which is a costly endeavour.

The pH scale including changes to Metro Vancouver water, and everyday items. Select graphic to enlarge. Source: Metro Vancouver

With recent upgrades completed at Metro Vancouver Regional District water treatment plants, the regional district will be changing the pH to between 8.3 and 8.5 with 20mg/L of calcium carbonate for alkalinity.

This pH change will have no impact on water quality, taste, smell, or safety, but it will deliver the following benefits:

  • Reduce the release of copper from pipes in buildings caused by low pH in the region’s water
  • Reduce leaks in pipes caused by copper corrosion
  • Help preserve the lifespan of pipes and hot water tanks
  • Reduce green stains on tubs, sinks, and grout

The regional district will be adjusting water pH starting in May of this year. The regional district will be reaching out to specific industrial and commercial users who need to adapt their operations beforehand. Some examples include health care units, research centres, aquariums, breweries, and bakeries.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

COVID-19 Impacts on Waste Disposal in 2020. Still Too Many Recyclables and Organics in Waste Stream.

The Metro Vancouver Regional District audits what people put into the waste collection system. The regional district performs this audit every few years. The Regional District recently released the results of the 2020 audit. COVID-19 had a significant impact on waste disposal due to closures and reduction of people going into offices, shops, and schools.

Overall, the number of single-use items disposed of was down in 2020. People disposed of 443 items per capita in 2018 and 359 in 2020.

Breakdown of single-use items by type and location. Select chart to enlarge. Source: Metro Vancouver

There was a significant increase in single-use items disposed of in single-family housing. There was also an uptick in single-use items disposed of in multi-family housing. The commercial/institutional sector saw a sharp decline in the disposal of single-use items. Cups and utensils saw a sharp decrease overall.

Also of note was the number of masks, gloves, and wipes people disposed of in 2020. While it seems a lot, these items represent less than 0.5% of all waste disposed of in 2020. These items belong in the waste system.

Personal Protective Equipment disposed of in 2020. Select table to enlarge. Source: Metro Vancouver

We have done an excellent job of diverting recycling and compostable organics such as kitchen straps from getting into the waste system compared to other parts of North America. But as a region, we still have a ways to go.

Some material may be present in more than one functional category, so totals do not add up to 100%. Select table to enlarge. Source: Metro Vancouver

I was surprised to see that 40% of our waste could be recycled or put into green bins. Many people still do not recycle or use green bins, even with recycling and organics programs readily available. There are bins in multi-family housing and curbside pickup for single-family housing. It would be interesting to see the barriers to recycling and using green bins for organics that some people face.

2020 was an unusual year for the waste collection system in Metro Vancouver. We can not use 2020 to see trends; it is a snapshot in time. It was interesting to see the impacts on the waste system from people staying at home more.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Discoloured Water? Don't Be Concerned - Water Main Flushing

As part of regular maintenance, Langley City crews will be flushing water mains starting today until May 14. During this time, you may see a discolouration of your water. Do not be concerned; the water is 100% safe to drink. To remove the discolouration, run your tap until the water is clear.

The area shown within the gray part of the map is where crews will be flushing the mains. This area includes most residential parts of Langley City.

Water main flushing area in grey. Select map to enlarge. Source: Langley City

For more information, please contact the City at (604) 514-2910 or

Monday, March 15, 2021

Smoking out issues in the sewer system. Keeping Langley City in a state of good repair.

Langley City continues to upgrade parks, improve safety, and keep our community’s infrastructure in a state of good repair. Langley Council heard an update from the Parks and Operations department at last Monday’s council meeting about various projects recently completed or in-progress.

In time for the warmer weather, City Park will have three new picnic shelters in service, which replace the previous picnic shelter near Al Anderson Memorial Pool.

To proactively repair sanitary and storm sewers, the City will be video inspecting the sewer pipes. Current inspections are focused mainly in the southeastern part of our community, in the Blacklock neighbourhood, along 203rd Street, and in the Brydon neighbourhood area.

Smoke bomb results. Select image to enlarge.

The City recently completed a “smoke bomb” test of sanitary and storm sewers in our community’s northeast section. This test helps find cross-connection issues between the storm sewer and sanitary sewer. These cross-connections cause excess water to enter the sanitary sewer, which puts extra wear and tear on City infrastructure. During heavy rainfall, these cross-connections can lead to raw sewage overflowing into our rivers and the ocean.

City crews resolved various sanitary and storm sewer cross-connection issues—more repairs are on the way.

City crews are also continuing with annual maintenance programs on the water system, including replacing old water meters.

The City recently reinstalled a refurbished bridge across the Nicomekl River at Portage Park. The new bridge now has anti-slip strips. The pedestrian bridge across the river at 208th Street is currently being refurbished off-site.

Plan for rapid flashing beacon crosswalk across 208th at 45A Avenue. Select image to enlarge.

I was happy to learn that the City is installing a new rapid flashing beacon crosswalk across 208th Street and 45A Avenue. This crosswalk is a long-standing request from residents in the area.

I learned that the City has a program to replace maintenance holes and sewer and water shut-off covers embedded in streets and sidewalks. If you see a missing, broken, or rusted-out cover, please reach out to the City by using Request for Service at

You can also use Request for Service to report tagging and unwanted graffiti.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

March 8 Council Meeting: Proposed apartment, human trafficking, and income assistance

On Monday afternoon, Langley City Council gave first and second reading to a set of bylaws, enabling developing a 6-storey, 68-unit apartment building along 207th Street.

Rendering of proposed apartment at 5394, 5396, 5400, & 5402 207 Street. Select image to enlarge.

The first bylaws, if Council approves, will amend the current Official Community Plan. The current Official Community Plan uses units per hectare as its metric for density. The proposed new Official Community Plan, which Council could adopt this year, uses Floor Area Ratio.

Currently, the Offical Community Plan allows 173 units per hectare in the area of the development proposal. The proposed 6-storey apartment has 258 units per hectare.

The proposed update to the current Official Community Plan will allow a Floor Area Ratio of 2.1. This ratio is consistent with the permitted density in the proposed new Official Community Plan.

Floor Area Ratio is a more straightforward way to control density. For more information, please view the Wikipedia article on the topic.

The second bylaw is for rezoning the property for the proposed apartment.

City staff will now schedule a public hearing. I will post more about this proposal after the public hearing.

Cathy Peters, an advocate for eliminating human trafficking, delivered a presentation to Council. As it was a short presentation about a complex topic, Council invited her to provide an extended presentation at a future council meeting.

Council also approved a motion to write a letter calling for “the Province of British Columbia permanently reinstate the automatic, $300/month benefit for people receiving disability benefits and income assistance and move to raise disability and income assistance to a livable rate that is above the market basket measure (MBM).”

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Langley City’s strict new watercourse protection bylaw

On Monday afternoon, Langley City Council gave first, second, and third reading to a suite of bylaws to enhance watercourse protection in our community. In the updated bylaw, watercourses include streams, creeks, rivers, and ponds in addition to drains, ditches, and sewers. In Langley City, all water that does not end up in the sanitary sewer system eventually ends up in the Nicomekl River, a sensitive ecosystem and salmon-bearing estuary.

Langley City’s proposed new watercourse protection bylaw makes it easier to monitor water quality. The bylaw also includes monitoring pH and for chemicals.

The bylaw includes specific requirements for construction and development sites.

As the first layer of protection, people engaged in construction or development activity must submit an erosion and sediment control plan. The plan must be submitted to the City and include measures to protect watercourses from construction site discharges. The plan must also show how construction works will limit tree clearing and soil disturbance.

People engaged in construction or development activity must hire a Qualified Environmental Professional to monitor the plan’s implementation, including taking frequent samples in watercourses around a construction site. This professional must report any violations of the plan or the City’s protection bylaw immediately. They must also maintain a logbook of monitoring activities which must be readily available for the City to inspect.

A Qualified Environmental Professional must report violations. If they don’t, they could lose their professional credentials, which would prevent them from working in the future. This is a severe consequence.

The proposed suite of bylaws also includes fines for violations. Beyond fines, the City can issue a Stop Work Order at any construction site where a bylaw violation occurs.

This bylaw covers all people and businesses in Langley City. A person or business must immediately fix a violation of the watercourse protection bylaw. The City will correct the violation if the responsible party is unable or unwilling to remediate the violation themselves. The City will charge the full cost of the remediation to the people responsible.

Langley City’s proposed suite of bylaws and bylaw updates will help protect the Nicomekl River and its tributaries which benefits our natural environment and human health.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Langley City Council supports historic housing agreement to secure affordable seniors housing for generations

The Langley Lions Housing Society provides affordable housing for seniors and people with disabilities. They are currently redeveloping their 518-unit complex south of Langley Mall into a 981-unit, seniors-focused affordable housing complex. The first phase of this redevelopment is the new 101-unit Birch Building.

Renderings of proposed 101-unit Birch replacement building. Select image to enlarge.

To ensure that this redevelopment remains affordable and seniors-focus over the long-term, Langley City is requiring that the Society sign a Housing Agreement as part of the redevelopment process.

This Housing Agreement will be registered on title and will stay attached to the land in perpetuity. The City must agree to any modification to the Housing Agreement.

The Housing Agreement ensures that the new 101-unit Birch Building will be a 100% affordable rental building.

As per BC Housing’s formula, all the units will only be available for people with an annual household income of less than $74,000 or $58,000 for seniors. BC Housing adjusts this threshold from time-to-time.

50% of the units must have rents geared to income. People will pay 30% of their gross income towards rent.

30% of the units will have rents set to the average rents in the area as per the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

20% of the units will be for people whose income does not exceed the maximum Old Age Security plus Guaranteed Income Supplement amount. This amount is currently $18,825. BC Housing set the rents via a formula.

This Housing Agreement also ensures that 80% of the units are only available for people aged 55 and older. Currently, 86.3% of the people who live in the Langley Lions Housing Society Complex are 55+.

Council passed a motion in January 2020 asking City Staff to ensure that on average, 85% to 87% of units in phases 1 and 2 be available only for people aged 55+. Any future phases must also meet the same threshold. This threshold means that phase two should have 90% to 94% of units for people aged 55+.

The Housing Agreement has monitoring and enforcement measures.

Council gave first, second, and third reading to a bylaw that will enable this Housing Agreement. If given final reading by Council and signed by the Langley Lions Housing Society, this will be the first Housing Agreement in Langley City’s history. It will ensure that senior-focused affordable housing remains in our community for generations to come.

Monday, March 8, 2021

2021 “quick win” projects to improve bus reliability in our region.

In partnership with municipalities in our region, TransLink rolled out a series of projects to speed up bus service on the top 20 busiest bus corridors in Metro Vancouver last year. These projects were relatively inexpensive to implement and fast to install.

Map showing existing bus priority areas and "quick win" projects by expected completion date. Select map to enlarge. Source: TransLink

These projects include redesignating road space for buses, changing traffic light timing, adding bus queue jumper lanes at intersections, creating bulge-out bus stops, and optimizing the location of bus stops.

In 2020, TransLink and municipalities delivered 12 of these projects. You can learn more about these projects in a previous post on the topic. TransLink proposes to fund at least nine more of these bus prioritizations projects this year.

"Quick win" projects that are expected to be completed in 2021. Select table to enlarge. Source: TransLink

In total, TransLink staff estimate that $2.4 million will be invested into this “quick win” program speeding up bus service for the most seriously congested corridors in our region.

Beyond the “quick win” program, TransLink is making an additional $4.14 million available for other bus priority projects in 2021. TransLink will also advance the RapidBus program, including the R6 Scott Road and R7 Richmond-Expo Line this year.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Moving beyond lip service to protect our region’s shrinking industrial land base

For about five years now, Metro Vancouver Regional District staff and the business community have been raising the alarm about our region’s shrinking industrial land base. Industrial lands support 26% of the jobs in our region.

Industrial land in Metro Vancouver. Total Inventory by Detailed Type of Land Use (2015). Source: Metro Vancouver Regional District

The industrial land base is shrinking due to other land-uses such as residential, retail, and office.

To convert industrial land to other uses today, a majority vote of the municipality in which the land resides plus a majority vote of the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board is required. As I posted recently, regional district staff proposed that the regional voting threshold increase to a two-thirds majority vote.

Unfortunately, the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board recently voted against this proposal. The Board includes mayors and councillors appointed by their respective municipalities. Votes are weighted based on the population each Board Director represents.

I was extremely disappointed that most Directors voted against increasing the protection of our industrial land base.

Another challenge in our region is that industrial land is defined differently within each municipality. These differences cause non-industrial uses to crop up in industrially zoned land such as retail, showrooms, and offices.

Metro Vancouver Regional District staff propose updating the regional definition of industrial land to:

Industrial areas are primarily intended for heavy and light industrial activities including: distribution, warehousing, repair, construction yards, infrastructure, outdoor storage, wholesale, trade, e-commerce, emerging technology-driven forms of industry, and appropriately-related and scaled accessory uses.
The intensification and densification of industrial activities and forms are encouraged, which are contextually appropriate to the surrounding community. Limited industrial-serving commercial uses that support the primary industrial functions are appropriate. Residential uses are not intended.

Langley City permits building supply stores, indoor recreation facilities, call centres, and some office uses within industrial zones. Langley City will have to update its permitted uses within industrially zoned land if the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board updates the definition of industrial uses. Current businesses would be grandfathered.

Since being elected to Langley City council, I’ve heard many elected representatives talk about the importance of protecting our industrial land base. I hope we can turn that talk into action.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Langley City’s draft Official Community Plan key to getting SkyTrain

When building SkyTrain extensions, TransLink requires municipalities to sign Supportive Policies Agreements. Because of the significant federal, provincial, and regional dollars that go into extending SkyTrain, TransLink wants to ensure that these extensions provide the most benefit for people and businesses in our region.

TransLink wants to avoid the situation along the Millennium Line between Brentwood Town Centre and Production Way. These stations service low-density areas, and as a result, have low boardings from those stations.

Langley City will be required to sign a Supportive Policies Agreement to get SkyTrain.

Surrey’s Supportive Policies Agreement was a topic at the latest TransLink’s Mayors’ Council meeting. This agreement links Surrey’s policies with TransLink’s “6 Ds.”

We are in the process of updating our Official Community Plan (OCP) in Langley City. Langley’s draft new plan also addresses TransLink’s “6 Ds.”

Destinations: Coordinate land use and transportation
Langley City’s draft OCP enables building the highest density around the two SkyTrain stations at 196th Street and 203rd Street.

Distance: Create a Well-Connected Street Network
Langley City’s draft OCP will create “an environment that is safe and welcoming for the most vulnerable users first, and encourage people to walk, cycle, roll, and take transit, rather than prioritizing faster vehicle traffic.” Also, it will “reduce travel distances by creating more direct connections to destinations. This includes building connections by providing multiple direct route options, reducing block sizes, and adding mid-block crossings where necessary.”

Design: Create Places for People
Langley City’s draft OCP is based on our Nexus of Community vision. Its four themes are community, connected, experiences and integration. Langley City proposes to build a performing art centre Downtown. High-quality public plazas will be integrated into areas immediately adjacent to SkyTrain stations.

Diversity: Concentrate and Intensify Activities Near Frequent Transit
Beyond building the highest densities near SkyTrain, Langley City is also proposing to allow duplexes, triplexes, townhomes, and walkable neighbourhood commercial nodes along 200th Street and 208th Street. These mixes of housing types and commercial nodes will support the frequent bus network, which feeds into SkyTrain.

Diversity: Encourage a Mix of Uses
The draft OCP includes new mixed-use areas with ground-level retail and offices/housing above, between 200th Street and 208th Street along Fraser Highway.

Demand Management: Discourage Unnecessary Driving
Langley City’s draft OCP will prioritize walking, cycling, and taking transit. Its draft policies include managing public parking to reduce demand and reducing minimum on-site parking requirements for areas near SkyTrain stations and frequent bus routes.

Langley City’s draft Official Community Plan ensures that we can sign a Supportive Policies Agreement with TransLink or the province.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Langley City Internet Safety & Crime Prevention Video

Langley City Crime Prevention Task Group member Lida put together the following educational and entertaining short video on keeping yourself safe while using the Internet and protecting yourself from online fraud.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Langley City’s Housing Needs Report: More affordable rental units and townhouses are needed

Recently, the provincial government started requiring local governments to produce Housing Needs Reports. These reports must be updated every five years and identify current and future housing needs in a community. Local governments should use the information in these reports to update Official Community Plans and Regional Growth Strategies.

Langley City Council received its first Housing Needs Report last Monday.

The report identifies several challenges and gaps in housing within Langley City. Affordability across the housing continuum from supportive housing and below-market rental to market rental and ownership remains a concern.

There is not enough supportive housing and other forms of subsidized housing available in Langley City to meet the demand now and into the future. In the next five years, about one-third of Langley City households will not have affordable housing options. Affordability means that a household must not spend more than 30% of their income on housing.

Projected Affordability by Income Segment, Housing Type, and Housing Tenure in 2024. Select table to enlarge.

You would need to make $182,000 to buy a single-family home in Langley City in 2024. This income requirement restricts single-family homeownership to about 10% of the population of Langley City.

More encouraging is that you would need to have a household income of $92,460 to own a townhome or rowhouse in Langley City by 2024. About 41% of the population of Langley City can afford to own a townhome or rowhouse.

The affordable housing crisis is why Langley City’s draft new Official Community Plan proposes introducing townhomes and rowhouses along the 200th Street and 208th Street corridors. We need to ensure that our community remains an affordable place for people to raise a family.

Langley City also needs to encourage more affordable market rental options in our community, including allowing people to age-in-place. The number of adaptable and accessible housing units must increase.

Langley City’s draft new Official Community Plan encourages more purpose-built rental. It also includes a one-for-one rental unit replacement policy to ensure that we do not reduce the number of rental units in a neighbourhood. It also contains a robust tenant relocation policy to ensure that a developer must treat people fairly during a permanent relocation process.

Overall, the Housing Needs Report identified that more 1-bedroom and 3+ bedroom units are needed in Langley City over the next five years.

For more information, please read the full House Needs Report.