Monday, May 31, 2021

Langley City Pesticide Control Bylaw: When Pesticides Can Be Used

Langley City has a pesticide and herbicide control bylaw, which prohibits their outdoor application except in certain circumstances such as are listed below:

  • The control or destruction of noxious weeds
  • The control or destruction of alien invasive species
  • The control or destruction of pests that threaten sensitive ecosystems
  • The prevention of deterioration to hard landscapes, such as retaining walls, paved areas and sidewalks
  • The safety of turf used by pedestrians (if applied by a certified applicator)

The province defines noxious weeds in regulation, and it does not include dandelions and many plants that co-grown in people’s lawns.

Around this time of year, you will usually see pesticide application notices along roads, sidewalks, and in some parks in Langley City. Some people reach out to me asking why the City applies pesticides. The offical reponses is:

The City’s Pesticide Control Bylaw, available here: http://city.langley.bc.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/Bylaws/Pesticide_Control_Bylaw.pdf, allows for the application of pesticides for the prevention of deterioration to hard landscapes, such as retaining walls, paved areas and sidewalks. The City has thoroughly explored and carried out alternative treatment options, including manual and mechanical removal of weeds and horticultural vinegar, however these methods have proven ineffective. The use of pesticide is permitted under the provincial Integrated Pest Management Regulations (IPMR) under scheduled pesticides. Glyphosate specifically works on the target plants and is not shown to have harmful effects to the environment and surrounding soil and ground water.
Staff are fully trained and licensed under the IPMR in the safe use of these products and the safety of the public and environment is always uppermost when we carry out maintenance of the public lands entrusted to us.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Crime Prevention Tips: COVID-19 Vaccine Fraud Alert

Langley City's Crime Prevention Task Group has released their latest crime prevention tips poster on COVID-19 fraud and how you can protect yourself.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to provide scammers with opportunities to take advantage of Canadians.
Do not buy COVID-19 vaccines online or from unauthorized sources. The only way to access safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is through clinics organized or endorsed by your local public health authority.
If you have questions about getting vaccinated, contact your family physician or local health care provider.

In BC, the only place to register for a vaccine is: https://www.getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca/

Please download the following poster, and share it with friends, family, your strata, and at your place of work.

COVID-19 Fraud Alert
Select image to view and download.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

TransLink ridership steady at 40% of pre-COVID levels, could restore to 70-90% of pre-COVID levels

TransLink staff will be providing an update on ridership recovery and transit service performance in 2020 at the next Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation meeting.

Transit ridership has remained stable at around 40 percent of pre-COVID pandemic levels throughout the last year though not all transit modes retained riders equally. For example, as shown in the following chart, bus service ridership restored more than SkyTrain ridership. West Coast Express ridership is significantly lower than pre-COVID pandemic ridership. This drop isn’t surprising given that it is a commuter service to Downtown Vancouver, and most of these commuters are still working from home.

Resilient and Steady Ridershp Recovery. Select chart to enlarge.

TransLink staff also made the following observations:

With few exceptions, the busiest bus routes in 2019 are still the busiest routes in 2020. Specifically, eight of the top 10 busiest bus routes in 2019 were still among the top 10 routes by boardings in 2020.
Changes in ridership patterns that did occur demonstrate the importance of transit for people making essential trips - while bus ridership recovered more strongly in some parts of the region than in others, ridership on routes that serve essential workers remained strong in 2020.

As for transit ridership recovery in the coming years, there are encouraging indicators. TransLink retained the 2nd highest number of riders of any large transit agency in Canada and the US. Only Los Angeles had higher ridership retention.

70%-90% Ridersihp Recovery Range. Select chart to enlarge.

TransLink staff predict that transit ridership will restore to between 70% and 90% of pre-COVID-19 levels in the near term as people return to work and school. TransLink staff believe that continuing to provide fast, frequent, and on-time service combined with a safe and clean system will be critical to drawing back transit riders.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Langley City spends the most on protective services of any community with RCMP in Lower Mainland. Does not address the root cause of crime.

Protective Services is the largest category of expenditures for municipalities in Metro Vancouver. These services include police, fire & recuse, animal control, search & rescue, emergency planning, and the like. In Langley, it also includes Langley Youth & Family Services.

Of these services, policing is responsible for the highest expenditures.

The provincial government compiles statistics on municipal revenue and expenses. The following table and chart show the most recent Protective Services costs for municipalities in the Lower Mainland with populations over 15,000.

Municipality Total Expenditures (2019) Population (2019) Per Capita
Pitt Meadows $7,661,410.00 19,924 $384.53
Mission $16,588,573.00 42,866 $386.99
Chilliwack $38,540,455.00 93,663 $411.48
Surrey $242,480,000.00 586,367 $413.53
Maple Ridge $37,845,703.00 91,311 $414.47
Coquitlam $66,602,459.00 150,571 $442.33
Langley Township $58,279,000.00 131,331 $443.76
Burnaby $112,906,833.00 254,289 $444.01
Port Coquitlam $29,035,785.00 63,659 $456.11
North Vancouver, City $26,595,372.00 57,808 $460.06
Abbotsford $76,897,000.00 159,717 $481.46
Richmond $103,444,086.00 213,678 $484.11
White Rock $10,762,811.00 21,037 $511.61
North Vancouver, District $48,661,859.00 90,266 $539.09
Port Moody $20,264,597.00 35,279 $574.41
New Westminster $46,923,131.00 80,292 $584.41
Langley City $17,443,222.00 27,769 $628.15
Vancouver $464,232,000.00 692,324 $670.54
Delta $76,009,951.00 110,155 $690.03
West Vancouver $35,647,458.00 44,141 $807.58

2019 Per Capita Protective Services Costs. Select chart to enlarge.

Municipalities with RCMP and a population over 15,000 have to pay 90% of policing costs while municipalities with their own policing service pay 100% of the cost.

Langley City spends per capita the fourth most on Protective Services for any municipality with a population over 15,000 in the Lower Mainland, and the highest for any municipality with RCMP.

Only Vancouver, Delta, and West Vancouver spend more per capita and have independent police services.

Comparable municipalities to Langely City include White Rock and the City of North Vancouver, which have RCMP and are smaller landmass regional centres.

One of the long-standing challenges in Langley City is community safety and crime prevention.

Spending more money on RCMP isn’t the solution. Social issues and crime have been and continue to be top concerns for residents. We have to address the root causes.

Langley provides innovative services like Langley Youth & Family Services, which helps youth with behavioural challenges by providing free counselling services.

A report from Surrey titled “Mayor’s Task Force on Gang Violence Prevention” points to what we should be doing to address the root causes of crime and violence. We must help our young people.

At a high level, this includes:

  • Addressing poverty
  • Supporting school attendance
  • Enhancing parenting skills
  • Promoting health behaviours
  • Providing positive, culturally appropriate mentors
  • Offering pro-social after-school activities
  • Strengthening cultural identity
  • Offering mental health services

These programs cannot happen piecemeal. In partnership with munipcaliities and school boards, the provincial government can help fund and coordinate programs to address the root causes of crime in communities.

Hiring more police only addresses the symptoms.

In Langley City, we must provide more support for youth in our community to help them stay out of a life of crime and violence.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Severe Speeding Problem on 200th Street and 208th Street in Langley City. Why It Matters and What Can Be Done.

Langley City has speed reader boards installed throughout our community. These are the signs that flash when people speed along major corridors, school zones, and park zones.

Because speeding is an ongoing concern for residents in our community, City Council passed a motion for City staff to monitor and analyze traffic speeds in areas where we’ve received the highest amount of complaints.

The following map shows the locations where speed data was captured and analyzed.

Map of monitored speed reader board locations. Select map to enlarge.

The following table shows where speeding is an issue.

Number Location Speed Limit Average Speed 85th Percentile Speed Speeding an Issue?
1 Southbound 208 Street between Grade Crescent and 48 Avenue 50 49 63 Yes
2 Northbound 208 Street north of 45A Avenue 50 50 59 68 Yes
3 Northbound 200 Street between 53 Avenue and 50 Avenue 50 63 72 Yes
4 Southbound 200 Street between Fraser Highway and 56 Avenue 50 57 66 Yes
5 Eastbound 53 Avenue east of 200 Street 30 24 41 Yes
6 Westbound 53 Avenue west of 201A Street 30 35 48 Yes
7 Northbound 206 Street at Douglas Park 30 27 38 Marginally
8 Southbound 206 Street at 53A Avenue 30 30 39 Marginally

I’m sure the results come as no surprise. The next steps for the City are to:

  • Share this information with the RCMP to aid them in where to set speed traps
  • Find a long-term solution to reducing speeding in partnership with the RCMP
  • Work with the province to seek alternative methods to manage speeds such as in-place speed cameras similar to the red light/speed cameras at some intersections

In urban settings, speeding resulting in a significant increase in fatalities and major injuries. The following table shows that once speed increased past 30km/h, the risk of death increase exponentially.

The fatality rate of pedestrians in crashes with passenger cars as function of the collision speed. Select table to enlarge. Source: The relation between speed and crashes

On 200th Street, people are going 22km/h over the speed limit. This speeding increases the risk of death from 15% to around 50% if someone is driving hits someone walking with their motor vehicle.

Lowering speed increases road safety and saves lives. This is why reducing speeds in our community is something that I will continue to advocate for strongly.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

May 10 Council Notes: Community Safety Officers, Solidarity with Indian Farmers, and Medical Emergency Service Alarm Calls

On May 10th, Langley City Council passed several motions. The first motion was for City staff to explore a Community Safety Officer Program concept and bring their findings back to Council.

The motion was:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Langley City staff explore the option of a Community Safety Officer Program as a support and outreach initiative that connects unhoused people to services and provides a swift, supportive, and effective response to some of our most challenging social issues; and
FURTHER THAT Langley City staff explore redefining the City’s Bylaw Enforcement Department to engage with our vulnerable population and reduce community safety concerns and enhance relationships with local business owners and operators providing education and prevention information while maintaining high visibility in the downtown area.

Council also passed a motion to stand in solidarity with Indian farmers who, since August 2020, have been protesting against three agricultural bills enacted last September by the Indian government:

THAT the City of Langley stands in solidarity with the Indian farmers and supports the rights of Indian farmers to speak out against these laws and any repressive measures against Indian citizens and their right to expression and liberty.

Council previously requested a discussion paper on Medical Emergency Service Alarm calls which Langley City Fire Rescue Service attends as part of a voluntary agreement with the province government.

While the Province does not compensate Langley City for attending these medical calls, it is a service that the City provides because this type of “intermediate patient care can greatly enhance patient outcomes and therefore significantly reduce short-term and long-term costs to the overall health care system.”

Over the years, the number of Medical Emergency Service Alarm calls has increased. Today, 70% to 79% of all calls the Langley City Fire Rescue Service attends are of this type. Between 2016 and 2021, the budget for Langley City Fire Rescue Service has increased from $4.5 million to $6.4 million.

As noted in the discussion paper, in 2018, the City hired three additional firefighters to address a backlog of fire inspections. The backlog is a result of the increase in Medical Emergency Service Alarm calls.

The City has been advocating for years that the Province provides some cost recovery to municipalities for attending Medical Emergency Service Alarm calls. However, both NDP and Liberal governments have not been keen on this.

The City agrees with the recommendations in the Auditor General of British Columbia’s independent audit report, “Access to Emergency Health Services” that:

[The Province] needs to increase the number of paramedics and ambulances, as well as the plan to introduce a new dispatch approach to shorten response times for patients who need the care most.

For more information, please read the City’s discussion paper.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Use of library services over the last year soars. The future of library services in Langley City.

Over the last year, the importance of library services in Langley City has been reinforced. Scott Hargrove, the Chief Executive Officer for the Fraser Valley Regional Library of which Langley City is a member, provided an update to City Council last week.

Circulation of physical materials, such as books, DVDs, and BluRays, was at 90-95% of pre-pandemic levels while digital circulation such as eBooks, eAudiobooks, and streaming video increased significantly. For example, in January and February 2020, before the pandemic, people borrowed around 60,000 digital items through the library system per month. In January and February 2021, people borrowed around 100,000 digital items per month.

In Langley City, people currently borrow around 300 physical items per day.

Throughout 2020, the library system also produced 471 pre-recorded online programs. This year, they have made 186 pre-recorded online programs and hosted 45 live Zoom programs.

Scott noted that the library system learned many lessons over the last year. Some of the services and program options created in response to the pandemic will remain even after it's over, such as the FVRL Express Curbside Pickup and the pre-recorded online programs such as storytime.

The library system is currently working on restoring regular library hours, and the next phase of library hours extensions is in the works for the Langley City branch.

The Summer Reading Program will remain in a virtual format this year. As we hopefully continue to see lower active COVID-19 cases, the library is looking to restore some level of in-person programming with possible outdoor programming in the summer and traditional in-library programming in the fall. Scott noted that this is speculative, and the library will follow all Public Health Orders.

The library system board and staff are about to start a mid-term review of their strategic plan and 5-year capital plan. As our population continues to grow in the Fraser Valley, the library is looking at a possible expansion of its administrative centre in Abbotsford. They are also looking at expanding and building new library branches. Property tax pays for potential projects.

The library board, representing 15 member municipalities, also updated its branch naming policy. While the board has the ultimate say over the name of a branch, the board will consult with municipalities when a branch needs to be named or renamed.

Monday, May 17, 2021

City projects on the go, stolen plaques replacement, and paving projects approved

Every month, Langley City staff update Council on projects that are actively under construction or recently completed.

Some of the projects include:

  • Finishing the paving on 203rd Street between 56th Avenue and Fraser Highway
  • Finishing the paving on the Langley Bypass above Logan Creek near the Gateway of Hope
  • Pressure washing benches and picnic tables at Sendall Gardens, which will now occur annually
  • Finishing trail maintenance around Brydon Lagoon
  • Improving the trail and drainage in the City Park dog off-leash area
  • Seeding the area around Al Anderson Memorial Pool
  • Installing new fencing at Conder Park
  • Installing new sliver-free, engineered wood chips at all playgrounds
  • Upcycling wood from wind-fallen trees in parks into a new stair rail in lower Sendall Gardens
  • Continuing wrapping traffic light kiosks throughout the city
  • Cleaning the bike lanes
  • Starting the process to replace the stolen plaques from the Salmon at Portage Park, 204th Street Overpass, and Duck Pond behind the Seniors Centre

Last Monday, Council also approved tendering a contract for $837,937 to Lafarge Canada Inc to complete four road rehabilitation projects:

  • Industrial Avenue from 201A to 203 Street
  • 200 Street from CP Rail to 62 Avenue
  • 200 Street from 49 Avenue to the Nicomekl River
  • Various asphalt patching throughout the city

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Langley City received grants from ICBC, TransLink, and UBCM to help fund capital works projects

As I posted about Tuesday, Langley City must reconcile its budget with its actual financial results annually per provincial law. I posted about the difference in the financial plan operating budget and reserve accounts.

Today, I’ll highlight some of the changes in the capital projects plan. Capital projects are one-off initiatives such as updating the Offical Community Plan or creating new or significantly renewed tangible infrastructure such as replacing a traffic light or building a new washroom in a park.

  • Traffic Signal Upgrade - 203 St & Industrial Ave: Additional $62,500 grant from ICBC
  • Traffic Signal Upgrade - 200 St & Logan Ave: Additional $5,000 grant from ICBC
  • Traffic Signal Upgrade - 200 St & 53 Ave: Additional $2,500 grant from ICBC
  • Backup Battery Power Supplies for Traffic Signals: Additional $5,000 grant from ICBC
  • Traffic Calming: Additional $3,000 grant from ICBC
  • Douglas Crescent Renewal, 206 St to 208 St: Additional $4,000 grant from ICBC
  • Grade Crescent, 208 Street Median & 201A Street Crosswalk: Additional $24,000 grant from ICBC
  • Baldi Creek Pedestrian Bridge: $638,000 cost to be funded by developers in the area as opposed to a grant as orginally planned
  • Affordable Housing Strategy: Additional $40,000 grant from UBCM
  • Duncan Way Multiuse Path: Additional $9,500 grant from TransLink
  • Bicycle Facilities: Additional $10,450 grant from Coast Mountain Bus Company (TransLink)

These grants mean that the City can invest around $160,000 in capital funding into other projects.

City Council also approved the tax rate and tax penalty payment fees and schedule for this year. You can read more about this in a previous post.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

May 10 Council Notes: Two new mixed-use projects. Public hearing for an apartment project.

On Monday, Langley City Council issued a development permit to construct a 6-storey, 70-unit building with three ground-level live/work units and 67 rental apartments on the other floors. The apartment’s location will be at the corner of Glover Road and Eastleigh Crescent.

The apartment mix is 25 one-bedroom units, 5 one-bedroom plus den units, 36 two-bedroom units, 2 one-bedroom live/work units, 1 two-bedroom live/work unit, and one studio. The live/work units would be suitable for businesses such as accounting or personal services such as a hairstylist.

The building will have a garbage room that can accommodate large bins for garbage and recycling, all bedrooms will have fully operable windows, and the main bedrooms will accommodate a queen bed. The second bedrooms will accommodate a double/full bed. The building will also have an on-site loading zone.

View of proposed apartment from the corner of Glover Road and Eastleigh Crescent. 5724 & 5744 Glover Road. Select rendering to enlarge.

Council also gave first and second reading to two bylaws to accommodate a 6-storey mixed-use building at 20059 Fraser Highway. The first bylaw would amend the current Offical Community Plan to incorporate the new “Transit-Oriented Core” designation in the draft new Offical Community Plan. The second bylaw rezones the property to accommodate the proposed building.

View of proposed mixed-use building. 20059 Fraser Highway. Select rendering to enlarge.

The building has 38 one-bedroom units, 50 one-bedroom plus flex units, and 10 two-bedroom units. In addition, the ground floor has two 2,098 square foot commercial units. A coffee shop would be able to fit comfortably into one of the units.

The building includes two elevators because there are more than 80-units. In addition, it has an on-site loading zone.

Langley City’s Advisory Design Panel made eight recommendations focused on enhancing and expanding the rooftop amenity space, improving the lobby, increasing landscaping, adding outdoor amenity space on the second floor, and updating the building’s facades.

The applicant did not expand the rooftop amenity space, but did update the building to incorporate the other recommendations of the Advisory Design Panel.

City staff will now schedule a public hearing for this project.

Council also held a public hearing for a proposed 5-storey, 62-unit apartment located at 56th Avenue and 201A Street, which I posted about previously.

View of proposed apartment from the corner of 201A Street and 56th Avenue. 5609 201A Street. Select rendering to enlarge.

Council received one email from a resident concerned that people living in the apartment will create more car traffic. At the public hearing, a resident in virtual attendance was worried that the building would block the view of the mountains from her apartment.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

COVID-19 pandemic impacts on Langley City’s 2020 finances

As per provincial law, municipalities in BC must reconcile their previous year’s budget with their actual financial results. Municipalities must also have their financial results independently audited annually.

Langley City’s independent auditor presented to Council about her audit of the City’s financials. She did not raise any red flags to Council.

The following sections highlight some of the significant differences between the 2020 budget, which Council approved, and staff developed before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff budgeted $7.2 million in gaming proceeds from the casino, but because the casino closed at the start of the pandemic, the City only received $1.5 million in proceeds. However, the federal/provincial COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant of $4.2 million that the City received helped offset this loss in proceeds.

City staff budgeted $31.8 million in property tax revenue for 2020. Instead, the City collected $30.4 million in property tax. This $1.4 million gap was due to the COVID-19 pandemic creating financial hardships for property owners.

Overall planned spending was reduced from $52.9 million to $48.5 million, a difference of $4.4 million. This reduction was mainly due to unfilled staff positions and closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also interesting to note was a reduction in water usage in 2020. In addition, the City’s conversion of streetlights to LED resulted in a $49,000 reduction in maintenance costs. Costs associated with vandalism and expenses related to cleaning up campsites in our parks were $58,000 over budget in 2020.

The City transfers a portion of the revenue received to reserve accounts. Reserve accounts are used to fund building and renewing City infrastructure and one-off initiatives such as updating the Offical Community Plan.

The City transferred the cost savings of $494,583 in policing to the “future police costs” reserve account. The City also topped up the prosperity fund by $1 million. While the City transferred $5.6 million less to the gaming proceeds reserve than budgeted, it transferred $5.3 million more than budgeted to the capital works reserve due to the COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant and operational savings.

Overall, the City is in good financial health.

For more information, please read the staff report on the 2020 financials as well as a draft of the 2020 Consolidated Financial Statements.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Spring Metro Vancouver Council of Councils Meeting: Budgets, Metro 2050 Regional Growth Strategy, TransLink’s Transport 2050 Strategy

Twice a year, elected local representatives gather for a Metro Vancouver Regional District Council of Councils meeting. During the meeting, we hear updates from regional district staff and have the opportunity to ask questions of regional district staff.

On Saturday, around 120 local representatives attended a Zoom meeting.

I virtually attended Saturday’s Metro Vancouver Council of Councils meeting.

Regional district staff noted that the 2021 operation budget is $939.5 million, with the loin’s share of expense for water and liquid waste services. The capital budget for 2021 is $1.5 billion, funding significant wastewater treatment plant new-builds and renewals. The capital budget is funding by a combination of operation budget contributions, developer charges, and debt.

Staff also noted that they are continually looking to find new revenue streams and cost-saving opportunities. For example, they said selling natural gas as a byproduction of liquid waste management is a new revenue stream.

Metro Vancouver’s Climate Action Committee chair presented roadmaps for our region to become carbon neutral by 2050. One of the direct actions that municipalities can take is to adopt higher steps of the BC Energy Step Code. Metro Vancouver will encourage all municipalities to adopt Step 4 or 5.

I posted the transportation and housing updates for Metro 2050, the region’s proposed updated new regional growth strategy, last week. Regional district staff highlighted Metro 2050, including:

  • Creating a compact urban area
  • Strengthening the Urban Contain Boundary by focusing growth in urban centres and transit corridors
  • Protecting industrial land, local food production, and food security
  • Protecting conservation and recreation land
  • Protecting, restoring, and connecting ecosystems throughout the region by ensuring 50% of the region is natural areas
  • Reducing GHG emissions through land-use and settlement patterns.
  • Expanding the variety and supply of housing
  • Increasing affordable housing with a focus on affordable housing near transit
  • Supporting sustainable transportation choices like walking, cycling, and transit

Metro Vancouver staff stated that housing affordability is still the most significant concern among elected officials.

TransLink is also working on Transport 2050, which is the region’s transportation strategy. TransLink and Metro Vancouver staff are coordinating both Metro 2050 and Transport 2050.

The goals of Transport 2050 are to increase convenient, reliable, affordable, safe & comfortable, and carbon-free transportation options.

The plan has the following goals:

  • People take 50% of all trips by walking, cycling, or transit
  • People spend 20% less time stuck in congestion compared to 2019
  • People spend no more than 45% of their income on housing and transportation
  • There are no serious traffic injuries or fatalities, with reductions every year
  • By 2030, transportation-related GHG emissions will be cut in half and be zero in 2050

TransLink is making a big push for Vision Zero and slower streets in Transport 2050. TransLink staff also noted that they are looking at interregional rail to Squamish and the Fraser Valley in Transport 2050.

On autonomous vehicles, TransLink will be pushing a car-sharing model; otherwise, if we all own autonomous vehicles, there will be a massive increase in congestion.

Metro Vancouver staff noted that they are improving public notification and alerting around the Cleveland Dam and the Capilano River.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Outdoor seating for restaurants, breweries, and caf├ęs increase positive energy in Downtown Langley

This last year has been extremely challenging for businesses and people that work in the hospitality, food, and beverage sector. Yet, I’ve seen the resiliency and adaptability of both business owners and workers.

I’ve seen an increase in the number of businesses that have created outdoor seating spaces in parking lots, sidewalks, and plazas. While it is a product of necessity, it has also enhanced the vibrancy of our Downtown by increasing positive activity.

Over the weekend, I noticed that some of the surface parking lots in Downtown Langley are hosting outdoor seating spaces. It brought some positive activity to areas that generally see little activity.

Outdoor seating for Brogan’s Diner and Farm Country Brewing. Select image to enlarge.

This seating compliments the sidewalk and plaza seating which has been around for the last little bit.

Outdoor seating behind Viva Mexico Restaurant. Select image to enlarge.

While everyone is eager for the safe return of indoor seating, I hope that the experience of outdoor seating will become a seasonal fixture in our Downtown as it adds positive energy and excitement to our civic core.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Metro Vancouver Regional District looking to improve walkability, support the transition to EVs, and reduce the negative impacts of goods movement on people’s health

As I posted yesterday, Metro Vancouver Regional District staff are updating the Regional Growth Strategy. All municipalities must adhere to this strategy, and all municipal councils must agree to adopt the strategy. As a result, the region only updates this strategy every 15 years. The name of the updated strategy is Metro 2050.

Yesterday’s post focused on proposed updates to the strategy to strengthen policies for affordable housing and housing for people with lower incomes. Today, I will post about updates to the strategy’s goal to support sustainable transportation choices such as using transit, cycling, walking, or wheeling as well as goods movement.

Metro 2050 will align with TransLink’s Transport 2050 long-range plan. Metro 2050 addresses land-use policies that impact people’s transportation choices, while Transport 2050 will focus on delivering regional transportation infrastructure and transit service.

Municipalities in our region will be required to update their Offical Community Plans to show:

  • How their land-use policies will encourage more people to walk, cycle, take transit, or carpool
  • How they will enhance walkability, including providing an accessible, grid-like pedestrian network
  • How they will support managing parking supply, implementing transit priority measures, rideshare, mobility pricing, and car-sharing
  • How they will support the transition to zero-emission vehicles such as requiring EV charging in new multifamily housing
  • How they will support the completion of the Regional Greenways 2050 plan
  • How they will coordinate with adjacent jurisdictions for inter-connectivity
  • Safe and efficient routes for moving goods and service vehicles
  • Land-use and other policies to optimize the transportation of goods from industrial areas to shipping facilities such as ports, airports, railways, and major highways
  • Land-use policies that support e-commerce distribution
  • Policies and actions to minimize public exposure to unhealthy levels of noise, vibration, and pollution caused by the use of major transportation corridors

For more information, please read the May 7th Regional Planning Committee agenda.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Metro Vancouver Regional District looking to strengthen affordable housing requirements

Every member jurisdiction in the Metro Vancouver Regional District must align their Official Community Plans to the Regional Growth Strategy; Langley City’s current and future Official Community Plan must align with the Regional Growth Strategy.

Each municipality’s Official Community Plan must contain “regional context statements” that bind its Official Community Plan to the Regional Growth Strategy. The statement must be truthful and accurate. For example, if the Regional Growth Strategy designated an area for Industrial uses, the Official Community Plan and Zoning must also designate the same area for Industrial uses.

Because 21 municipalities must adopt the Regional Growth Strategy by consensus, significant updates to the strategy only occur around every 15 years. The regional district is currently updating the Regional Growth Strategy, which will be called Metro 2050.

One of Metro Vancouver staff’s goals is for municipalities to provide more diverse and affordable housing choices. Affordable housing is a significant challenge in our region.

The proposed updated Regional Growth Strategy will require municipalities to update their Official Community Plans to include regional context statements that:

  • Increase the supply of below-market rentals and affordable ownership housing
  • Increase housing tenure options such as ownership, rental, co-op, rent-to-own, and co-housing
  • Increase density, including allowing ground-oriented townhouse, “plexes,” and infill housing such as granny flats, in single-family areas
  • Increase affordability by ensuring people can realistically walk, cycle, or use transit to reduce the need for privately owned vehicles
  • Focus on creating below-market rentals near SkyTrain and along frequent and rapid bus routes
  • Enable the redevelopment of ageing purpose-built rental buildings to market and below-market rental buildings while protecting existing tenants.
  • Protect and renew existing affordable housing
  • Obtain 15% affordable rental units within a municipality in town centres, and along SkyTrain and frequent/rapid bus routes
  • Show how municipalities will work with the federal government, provincial government, and non-profit sector to ensure supportive housing options are available to help people transition from homelessness

I’ve only highlighted some of the updates that will enable the regional goal of creating more diverse and affordable housing in Metro Vancouver.

If the updated Regional Growth Strategy is adopted, these requirements will become binding for all municipalities in Metro Vancouver.

Affordable housing for our region means that households with a total income of $85,000 would spend no more than 30% of their income on housing costs and utilities.

For more information, please read the May 7th Regional Planning Committee agenda.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Crime Prevention Tips: Phone Fraud and Door-to-Door Canvassers

Langley City’s Crime Prevention Task Group released its latest safety tips poster. This poster is about phone fraud prevention.

Crime Prevention Task Group Flyer Tip 5 Phone Fraud

If someone calls you demanding money, it is OK to say no.

Never give out your personal information such as your address, social insurance number, or banking information to someone who calls you.

Beware of the CRA calling you demanding money via Interac e-transfer, prepaid credit cards, or gift cards.

You do not need to respond right away. You can always tell a caller that you will call them back after thinking about things.

You can download the crime prevention tips poster to distribute or print.

Langley City council approves all organizations that canvas door-to-door for money. Last Monday, City Council approved Globalfaces Direct to canvas on behalf of:

  • Plan International Canada
  • Canadian Institute for the Blind
  • Unicef Canada
  • Save the Children Canada
  • Children Believe Canada

If someone comes to your door, canvassing on behalf of an organization, they must provide a copy of their approved application for canvasing in Langley City and produce it upon request of any member of the public.

If someone comes to your door canvassing and cannot produce their approved application, or something doesn’t feel right, call the City at 604-514-2800. If possible, please get the name of the organization they are purporting to canvas for.