Wednesday, June 30, 2021

June 28 Public Hearing Notes: Proposed New Official Community Plan

On Monday night, Langley City held a virtual public hearing about the proposed new Official Community Plan.

Public Hearing Panellist

An Official Community Plan is a foundational bylaw. It is almost like the constitution for a municipality in BC. All bylaws, plans, and development must be consistent with a municipality’s Official Community Plan.

Langley City has provided multiple opportunities for people to submit feedback on the proposed Official Community Plan. You can read more about this in the Official Community Plan & Nicomekl River District Neighbourhood Plan Engagement Summary, and in a previous post, including how City staff have incorporated that feedback into the proposed new Official Community Plan.

Monday’s public hearing was the last opportunity to provide feedback. In fact, under BC law, Council cannot consider any feedback received about the proposed new Official Community Plan after the public hearing.

Council received around 35 written submissions for the public hearing, approximately 28 members of the public attended via Zoom, and around a dozen people provided verbal feedback at the hearing.

Council received the most feedback about a proposed east/west trail connecting 200th Street to Surrey. Residents in the area were concerned that the trail could impact their privacy and safety. While supportive of the trail, they want it as far away from their properties as possible. Some people proposed that the City place the trail on the north side of the Nicokemkl River.

Proposed path of concern, highlighted in yellow. Select map to enlarge.

The second most feedback that Council received was about the proposed land-use change to allow townhouses and “plexes” along 200th Street and 208th Street. The majority of this feedback came from residents living in the area bound by 200A Street, 50A Avenue, 201A Street, and 50th Avenue.

Several people living in and around the duplex area along 53 Avenue expressed concern about the scale and design of townhouses, and safety concerns around a proposed road connecting 54th Avenue to 198A Street.

Council also received other feedback.

Council heard that some people thought the ablity to build one attached secondary suite and one detached garden suite in single-family lots with specific size requirements was too restrictive.

Council also received feedback supporting the proposed land-use plan to enable more affordable housing options for younger people.

Generally, people provided feedback that the City must protect our environment and improve the tree canopy. There was strong support for the proposed environmental policies in the proposed Official Community Plan.

Council is now considering the feedback from the public hearing. Members of Council can use this feedback to propose updates to the draft new Official Community Plan.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Langley City Council Defers Giving Approval in Principal to RCMP Budget. Wants to Be More Active Partner in Community Safety.

As the single largest operating cost of Langley City, Council surprisingly has little say in the strategic priorities of our policing service.

Community Policing Office

For all other City departments and services, Council controls the strategic priorities. Langley City staff provide detailed presentations each year about the upcoming budget year, and as you may see in public meetings, Council has frank discussions about what should and should not be part of the budget.

The details of the budget are made available to the public.

For policing, Langley City Council does not control the strategic priorities. This inability to set strategic priorities is partly due to the complex agreements between the federal government and provincial government over contract policing with the RCMP.

As for budget, Langley City Council’s only authority is to set the number of RCMP Members (police officers.)

While 95% of Langley City residents are happy with the overall quality of life in our community, they are concerned about community safety. In 2004, 82% of residents felt safe and secure. In 2019, only 67% felt safe and secure. As shown, this number has been trending down.

Overall Community Safety from 2019 Langley City Community Survey. Select image to enlarge.

While the current contract with the RCMP for policing service does not give Council authority to set priorities, the RCMP should still partner meaningfully with Council to set priorities even if they don’t have to on paper.

As the order of government closest to the people, Council understands people’s concerns and desires around community safety. Our policing contractor should be willing to work with Council to ensure that their strategic priorities align with the community’s priorities.

While Council has asked for a few years now to be a more active partner in policing strategic planning, this has yet to occur.

Every year, the RCMP asks Council to “rubber stamp” their budget Approval in Principle for the upcoming year. This time, Langley City Council pressed pause, passing the following motion yesterday.

TO POSTPONE THE PENDING MOTION until after Council meets with the new Officer in Charge of the Langley Detachment of the RCMP to discuss how the Langley Detachment’s proposed budget and internal plans align with Langley City’s Interim Strategic Plan goal to “create new protective and supportive services.”

I look forward to Council becoming a more active partner in community safety.

Monday, June 28, 2021

2020 Breakdown of Langley City Mayor, Council, and Employee Pay

Annually, municipalities in BC must disclose the remuneration and expenses of Councils, plus municipal employees whose salaries and expenses exceed $75,000 per year as per the Community Charter.

Langley City Council had remuneration and expenses that totalled $524,910 in 2020 as shown in the following table.

Elected Representative Remuneration Expenses Benefits Total
Mayor Val van den Broek $131,597 $3,869 $293 $135,759
Councillor Paul Albrecht $61,412 $737 $4,165 $66,314
Councillor Teri James $61,412 - $2,920 $64,332
Councillor Gayle Martin $61,412 $802 $2,161 $64,375
Councillor Nathan Pachal $63,606 $31 $293 $63,930
Councillor Rudy Storteboom $59,219 $1,274 $2,161 $62,654
Councillor Rosemary Wallace $61,412 $1,969 $4,165 $67,546

Council policy automatically sets the mayor’s remuneration to the median of other mayor’s salaries in the Lower Mainland. Council policy also automatically sets councillors’ remuneration to 45% of the mayor’s salary.

The Deputy Mayor position rotates among all councillors in 2-month terms. During the two-months, councillors receive a top-up equal to 10% of the mayor’s annual remuneration.

Benefits include travel and accident insurance, extended health, and dental.

Expenses include travel costs and fees to attend conferences or events per the City’s “Travel and Expense Policy.” Members of council cannot expense travel costs within the City or Township of Langley.

Employee salaries and expenses in 2020 totalled $12.1 million. For more information, please review “Schedule of Remuneration & Expenses - City Employees.

The City’s total 2020 operating expenses were $42.6 million (excluding amortization.)

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Regional report finds that COVID-19 pandemic had mixed results on air quality in Metro Vancouver

The Metro Vancouver Regional District is responsible for monitoring the air quality in the Lower Mainland airshed, extending from Vancouver to Hope. It is also responsible for regulating point-source air pollutants such as from wood-burning stoves, open burning, and industrial sites.

Arbour Ribbon Trail near between Glover Road and McLeod Athletic Park

The regional district releases an annual air quality report called “Caring for the Air.” They recently released a report which covers 2020.

Overall, air quality has improved over the past decade though not all pollutants have improved.

Trends in select gas-phase air pollutants over the past decade. Select image to enlarge.

For example, the authors of the report state that “levels of ground-level ozone have increased slightly despite reductions in some pollutants that create it. This is partly due to an increase in ozone formed outside Canada coming into our region.”

2020 was a unique year because, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic state of emergency at the end of March, there was a dramatic reduction in travel. This limited travel reduced nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a byproduct of the internal combustion engine and driving.

Monthly average nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentration by year at Clark Drive (Vancouver) air monitoring station. Select image to enlarge.

Interestingly, the authors noted that the pandemic did not cause a reduction of all air pollutants. Some pollutants increased.

Carbon monoxide (CO), saw some reductions but not as strongly as NO2. Fine particulate matter even appeared to increase early on in the pandemic in residential and rural areas, especially in the evening hours. This was likely because of increased residential wood burning since more people were home.

The report contains more information about ways that homeowners and stratas can help improve air quality. It also has a section on a proposed expansion that the regional district is considering to regulate air quality from non-road diesel engines such as found in the construction sector.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Enhancing and Protecting the Urban Forest, Metro Vancouver’s New Toolkit

Earlier this month, Langley City Council reaffirmed its commitment to building a community where we restore damaged ecosystems and wildlife habitats, and introduce nature back into our urban areas. These commitments will help mitigate some of the impacts of climate change. City Council’s strategic goal is to complete an Urban Forest Management Strategy. This goal is one example of how we can restore natural systems.

Many other cities in Metro Vancouver are also looking to enhance and protect these urban forests and tree canopy.

Nicomekl Floodplain

The Metro Vancouver Regional District recently released a “Metro Vancouver Tree Regulation Toolkit.” This guide provides best practices to help manage the urban forest, including specific technical guidance. The following shows at a high level the “tools” available for municipalities to consider.

Regulatory tools to preserve trees and grow the tree canopy in the region. Select image to view.

As Langley City looks to completing its Urban Forest Management Strategy, this toolkit may be helpful.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Last Opportunity to Provide Feedback on Once-in-a Generation Official Community Plan

Langley City staff and consultants have been working on creating a new Official Community Plan for our municipality. An Official Community Plan is a foundational bylaw. It is almost like the constitution for a municipality in BC. All bylaws, plans, and development must be consistent with a municipality’s Official Community Plan.

While land-use is a significant part of Official Community Plans, they intersect with other policy topics.

Proposed land-use map for Langley City. Select to enlarge.

For example, Langley City’s proposed new Official Community Plan addresses climate change, economic growth, parks, arts and cultural services, transportation, and community safety.

Langley City’s proposed new Official Community Plan has gone through several rounds of public feedback and refinement. You can learn about how public feedback has helped shape the proposed new Official Community Plan in a previous post.

The final deadline to provide feedback on the proposed new Official Community Plan is the evening of Monday, June 28th.

You can write or email City Council with your comments. You can attend a virtual public hearing to share your thoughts about the proposed new Official Community Plan.

If possible, please consider taking some time to read about the proposed new Official Community Plan, and consider sharing your thoughts.

You can learn more about the proposed new Official Community Plan, including how to provide feedback and attend the virtual public hearing on Langley City’s website.

This document will guide and shape Langley City for decades to come.

Monday, June 21, 2021

June 14th Public Hearing: 6-storey mixed-use building at 20059 Fraser Highway

Last Monday, Langely City Council held a public hearing about a proposed update to the current Official Community Plan and rezoning for the property located at 20059 Fraser Highway. The proposed rezoning would accommodate a 6-storey, 98-apartment mixed-use building with 4,198 sq. feet of ground-level commercial space fronting Fraser Highway if approved by Council.

Rendering of 20059 Fraser Highway. Select image to enlarge.

Langley City staff recommended updating the current Official Community Plan because it does not include the “Transit-Oriented Core” zoning, which is part of the proposed new Official Community Plan. The proposed new Official Community Plan is going to its own public hearing on June 28th.

The proposed “Transit-Oriented Core” zoning ensures “that development in close proximity to future SkyTrain stations and existing high-frequency transit service is compact, human-scaled, and contributes to a pedestrian-oriented built environment.” Buildings in this zone can have a floor area ratio of 5.50 and a maximum height of 15 storeys.

Ground-level view of 20059 Fraser Highway. Select image to enlarge.

The proposed building for the site will have 38 one-bedroom units, 50 one-bedroom plus flex units, and ten two-bedroom units. A coffee shop would be able to fit comfortably into one of the ground-level commercial units.

Council received an email from Metro Vancouver Regional District staff supportive of the “Transit-Oriented Core” zoning as it helps support three regional objectives:

  • Focusing growth in Urban Centres and Frequent Transit Development Areas
  • Developing healthy and complete communities with access to a range of services and amenities
  • Coordinating land use and transportation to encourage transit-multiple-occupancy vehicles, cycling and walking

TransLink staff also send an email. She noted that TransLink supports rental buildings near transit as “renter households, particularly those with lower incomes, are more likely to use transit. Access to frequent transit lowers transportation costs and improves access to services and employment.”

As part of the rezoning, the project’s proponent proposes reducing parking from 151 spaces as required under the current zoning bylaw to 120 spaces. TransLink staff also noted that TransLink supports this as “reduced parking near frequent transit may also be a means of supporting housing affordability and would also encourage the use of sustainable modes, thus advancing shared regional goals related to transit-oriented affordable housing and sustainable transportation.”

There were no submissions from the public, and no members of the public attended the hearing about the proposed Official Community Plan update or rezoning to accommodate this building.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Council approves new interim strategic plan to support economic recovery, safety, and environment

Langley City Council and staff were working through a 5-year strategic plan that sets out the City’s important initiatives. This plan wraps up at the end of the year. Council and staff would have started developing a new 5-year strategic plan this year, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s surrounding uncertainty, Council decided to create a 2-year strategic plan that will get us through the COVID-19 pandemic, support economic recovery, and start to address the climate emergency.

Several of the immediate actions of the new 2-year plan are to close out the initiatives from the 2017-21 strategic plan, Council motions, and other Council priorities.

Other immediate actions include:

  • Continuing to fund arts, culture and recreation initiatives, as developed in conjunction with the Arts and Culture Task Force
  • Completing a review of event waste management to improve waste diversion
  • Pursuing grant funding, including COVID-19 recovery funding, with a focus on priority infrastructure renewal projects

The more significant “Game Changer” strategic initiatives include:

  • Developing and implementing a sustainability framework that intersects between social, environmental and fiscal programs and initiatives
  • Confirming funding and timeline for a performing arts centre and the Fraser Highway/Douglas Crescent Rehabilitation project
  • Exploring creative opportunities for a Community Police Office liaison, block watch and other activities that help everyone feel safe and supported
  • Including budget provision to complete a streetscape waste audit in 2022 and an Urban Forest Management Strategy 2023

For more information, please visit the City’s Strategic Plan webpage.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

June 14 Council Notes: $7.5 million loan, alcohol in parks pilot project, and “light it up” policy approved

As I posted earlier this year, Langley City council preliminarily approved a $7.5 million loan to purchase property to support the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension and the Nexus of Community vision. This loan would be paid back over 15 years by a one-time 1.93% tax increase applied this year. For a loan to be approved, the provincial government requires that municipalities either hold a referendum or go through an Alternative Approval Process.

In an Alternative Approval Process, following strict provincial regulations, a municipality advertises how people who are eligible electors can register their opposition to the loan. In Langley City, people could register their objection in-person at City Hall, by mail, email, and even fax. Of the estimated 21,374 eligible electors in Langley City, only 19 registered their objection to the loan, well below the 10% threshold, which would have caused Council to cancel the loan or go to a referendum to approve the loan.

As a result of the Alternative Approval Process, Langely City council approved the $7.5 million loan on Monday afternoon.

After discussing whether to scale back the date for the “Consumption of Liquor at Parks and Public Facilities” pilot project to the end of August, Council ultimately approved the original pilot dates and bylaw. Not all members of Council were in support of the pilot program. The pilot program will run from July 1st until September 30th on Fridays and Saturdays between 1 pm and 8 pm. The pilot program will take place in McBurney Plaza, select areas in Douglas Park, and the picnic shelters at City Park. For more information, please read a previous post I wrote.

Council also received a report from City staff about the current end-of-life electric vehicle charging stations in the Timm’s Community Centre underground parkade and Engineering Operations Centre. Council directed staff to “include a 2022 capital budget request to upgrade existing Level 2 stations at Timm’s underground parkade and Engineering Operations at a capital budget of $17,000 and operating budget of $850/yr.”

Council approved a new policy which will allow the stage at Douglas Park Spirit Square to display different coloured lights in response to requests that are not-for-profit, community-orientated and support either:

  • an event or cause of national or international significance
  • a local festival or event that positively impacts local community spirit
  • a local, national or international awareness issue that builds community

The City will deny requests that “espouses racism, personal discrimination, violence or hatred” or “promote a point of view or organization of a political, ethical, or religious nature or directly encourage, or exhibit obvious indifference to unlawful behaviour.”

Council also gave final reading to several housekeeping bylaws and the Municipal Ticket Information System Amendment Bylaw, which will result in increased fines for some bylaw violations.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Council tenders $2.9 million contract to improve Glover Road, including protected bike lanes

With the support of TransLink funding, Langley City Council approved tendering a $2,910,425 (excluding GST) contract to Jack Cewe Construction Ltd. for safer, protected bike lanes between Fraser Highway and Collection Drive along Glover Road.

This project will have bike lanes similar to 203rd Street between Fraser Highway and Eastleigh Crescent with improvements to curb letdowns for people cycling.

Streetmix view between Fraser Highway and Logan. Select image to enlarge.

Aerial plan view between Fraser Highway and Logan. Select image to enlarge.

Streetmix view between Logan and Eastleigh. Select image to enlarge.

Aerial plan view between Logan and Eastleigh. Select image to enlarge.

Between Eastleigh Crescent and Collection Drive, the bike lanes will have a 1-metre planter buffer between general vehicle lanes and the bike lanes.

Streetmix view between Eastleigh and Collection. Select image to enlarge.

Aerial plan view between Eastleigh and Collection. Select image to enlarge.

The following is an example of planters in Seattle.

Planter along a bike lane in Seattle. Select image to enlarge.

The bike lanes will extend to KPU to provide a safer cycling route for people visiting the university campus. The bike lanes do not extend to the Langely Bypass as that section of Glover Road is owned and maintained by the provincial government.

In addition to the new safer bike lanes, water main renewal, storm sewer renewal, on-street transit measures, and other road rehabilitation work are part of the tender.

Once completed, there will be a gap in the safer bike route network between 203rd Street and Glover Road. I look forward to seeing a plan to connect these two cycling routes.

Monday, June 14, 2021

TransLink Transit Network “COVID-19 Snapshot:” Bus routes and South of Fraser ridership recovers more than other parts of Metro Vancouver

For several years, TransLink has released an annual transit network review that provides detailed ridership and cost information about all the agency’s routes. This year, TransLink provided a less-detailed “COVID-19 Snapshot” review of 2020.

As I posted recently, not all modes of transit recovered equally. Bus service recovered more than other modes.

Ridership by mode, early fall 2020. Source: TransLink

This recovery is not surprising as bus service is the workhorse of transit service in our region.

Of note, the 319 - Scott Road route moved from the eighth busiest route to the fourth busiest bus route between 2019 and 2020.

The R1 - King George Bouvard became the ninth busiest bus route in 2020.

In Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows the R3 Lougheed Highway, which TransLink introduced in January 2020, was still able to “generating new ridership demand in the sub-region in 2020.”

Ridership recovery by sub-region, early fall 2020. Source: TransLink

Bus service is the primary mode of transit for the South of Fraser, Maple Ridge, and Pitt Meadows. These areas are also home to essential businesses and workers, people who need to work out of the home. It is no surprise that transit ridership recovered more in these areas.

In areas with a more significant number of transit routes that service post-secondary institutions, which were doing remote learning for most of 2020, transit ridership was suppressed.

Another interesting observation was that transit ridership recovered more mid-day and on weekends than peak travel periods.

Weekday bus and SkyTrain (Expo, Millennium, and Canada Lines) Compass boardings by time of day, early fall 2020 vs. early fall 2019. Source: TransLink

These changes in travel patterns highlight the importance of transit service beyond post-secondary/school trips and office commuter trips.

As we continue to recover from the pandemic, I would not be surprised if transit service has smaller peak travel periods. It will be interesting to see how TransLink adapts, including impacts on revenue and ability to provide a robust, frequent transit network.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Langley City Council supports 101-unit Birch Building affordable seniors rental housing project by reducing fees by $151,500

Entrance to Langley Lions Housing Society site. Select image to enlarge.

In BC, municipalities can levy development cost charges on new development projects to expand or build new infrastructure.

The provincial government has strict regulations for development cost charges. A municipality must go through a complex bylaw creation process that lists specific road, sewage, water, drainage, and parkland projects. Municipalities must prove that any project for which development cost charges are applied is required as a direct result of development. There is a 116-page guide on creating development cost charge bylaws, including complex calculations needed to “prove” the impact of development on a community. The provinical government must approve development cost charge bylaws.

Development cost charge regulations can be too restrictive. For example, with parkland projects, municipalities can use development cost charges for building some types of sports fields, swings, and slides, but not dugouts, tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball diamonds, sports tracks, park lighting, or parking lots. This example shows the overly restrictive nature of development cost charges.

As a result, municipalities negotiate developer-paid community amenity contributions during the rezoning process to help pay for projects required due to development, but are exempt from development cost charges. Examples include basketball courts and other park improvements, public art, affordable housing, and renewing roads, trails, sewers, and water mains.

Langely City uses both development cost charges and community amenity contributions.

The Langley Lions Housing Society provides affordable housing for seniors and people with disabilities. They are in the process of building a new 101-unit Birch Building. They recently signed a housing agreement with Langely City to ensure that this building is mainly for seniors and remains affordable.

The Society requested that Langley City waive the $202,000 community amenity contribution for the Birch Building.

Langley City staff recommended that Council waive 75% of the community amenity contribution, which works out to $151,500. Constructing a housing agreement-secured, affordable, seniors-focused rental housing project is an amenity for our community. That being said, staff noted that “increased site density and a plan to allocate 20 percent of new units to non-seniors, it is also fair to anticipate that some increased demand for community amenities will be generated by new Langley Lions residents.”

The remaining $50,500 of community amenity contribution will support the new Birch Building residents’ additional amenities requirements.

Council supported staff’s recommendation and reduced the community amenity contribution for the Birch Building by 75%.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Council Motions: Eliminating Nuclear Weapons, Supporting 988 Suicide and Crisis Hotline

Back in November, Langley City Council passed a motion supporting the Mayors For Peace Appeal. In addition, Council sent a letter to the federal government asking them to advocate for eliminating nuclear weapons.

Once a year, elected representatives and local government staff attend the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) convention. One of the main objectives of the convention is to pass motions for the provincial or federal governments to consider. The idea is that the voice of all local governments calling for action will get more done than just one.

The UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is an agreement signed by 86 countries calling for national governments to dismantle nuclear weapons. It came into force this year. But, unfortunately, all nations with nuclear weapons and NATO members (including Canada) did not sign this treaty.

Council passed the following motion on May 31st:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the UBCM support the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Cities Appeal and send urgent correspondence to the federal government asking that they take decisive steps toward the global elimination of nuclear weapons and sign and ratify the TPNW.

This motion will now go forward to the annual UBCM convention, where other local governments will have the opportunity to support it.

Suicide is one of the leading causes of preventable death in Canada. At the same meeting, Council passed a motion that “staff be directed to send a letter indicating such support to the local MP, MLA, Federal Minister of Health, the CRTC and local area municipalities to indicate our support” for a national 988 suicide and crisis hotline.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

May 31 Council Notes: Streetscape Bins Waste Audit and Bylaw Traffic Fine Increases

Protecting and enhancing the environment where we live is a priority for Langley City residents and Langley City Council. People who completed an online survey about the proposed new Official Community Plan ranked its environmental policies with the highest levels of support.

Earlier this year, Langley City Council passed a motion declaring there is a climate emergency in our community and ask City staff to outline the next steps to:

  • Achieve net-zero carbon emissions before 2050 with a balanced approach for today and future generations
  • Update the current Sustainability Framework to incorporate current best practices on climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience, and to incorporate principles of biodiversity, sustainability and stewardship to guide future developments and infrastructure projects within Langley City

On May 31st, Council approved $14,000 to complete a Streetscape Container Waste Audit. Streetscape containers include the garbage and recycling bins you see at bus stops, at trailheads, and around the Downtown and Langley Bypass areas.

Langley City has 175 of these containers. This audit will sample 25% of these containers to see what people throw away. The audit will also check if people follow the labelling on multi-stream containers (silver bins) and will pilot new labelling at select bins to see if that improves sorting.

Based on the audit results, staff will plan for funding future phases of this waste audit starting next year to find the best ways to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills or burned at Metro Vancouver’s Waste-to-Energy Facility.

At the same meeting, Council also gave final reading to the 2020-24 Financial Plan Amendment Bylaw.

Council also gave first, second, and third reading to update the Municipal Ticket Information System Amendment Bylaw to increase the fines for many highway and traffic regulations violations. Penalties range from $30 to $500. If given final reading, you could get a $500 fine for damaging or altering City’s streets and sidewalks or for obstructing traffic flow.

Council also gave first, second, and third reading to the:

  • Community Standards Amendment Bylaw
  • Mural Regulation Amendment Bylaw
  • City of Langley Sign Amendment Bylaw

These were housekeeping amendments to remove redundant wording from these bylaws.

Monday, June 7, 2021

May 31 Council Notes: Apartment Projects along 53A Avenue and 201A Street

Last Monday, Langely City Council gave first and second reading for two bylaws to accommodate a 5-storey, 56-unit apartment development at 20179, 20189, & 20199 53A Avenue. Because the proposed development is not consistent with the current Official Community Plan, but will be under the proposed new Official Community Plan, Langely City staff recommended updating the current Official Community Plan along with the normal rezoning process for this proposed project.

Rendering of the proposed project at 20179, 20189, & 20199 53A Avenue. Select image to enlarge.

Council has enabled staff to schedule a public hearing on this project by giving first and second reading to the bylaws.

After the public hearing, I will post more about this project, but you can view the architectural drawings, landscape drawings, and Advisory Design Plan recommendations from the City’s website.

Council also gave third reading to a bylaw that would enable the construction of a 5-storey, 62-unit apartment at the corner of 56th Avenue and 201A Street. This proposed development is on the site of a former fire-damaged apartment building. The third reading of a bylaw occurs after a public hearing.

Rendering of the view from 201A Street of the proposed project at 5609 201A Street. Select image to enlarge.

Rendering of the northwest view of the proposed project at 5609 201A Street. Select image to enlarge.

Rendering of the southeast view of the proposed project at 5609 201A Street. Select image to enlarge.

Langley City’s Advisory Design Plan made two recommendations about this proposed development:

  • That the size of the balconies increase
  • That the uncovered balconies have rain protection

The development proponent stated that they would be increasing the usable area or size of balconies throughout the project. The proponent also added a two-foot-deep overhang at a minimum over the previously unprotected balconies.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Changes made to Langley City’s proposed new Official Community Plan and Nicomekl River District Neighbourhood Plan based on feedback

Yesterday, I posted about the feedback Langely City received from residents and other stakeholders about the draft proposed new Official Community Plan and Nicomekl River District Neighbourhood Plan. These plans will guide the City’s policies, including land-use policies, for decades to come.

Two of the main areas of concern about these plans were land-use policies and community safety. There was also a strong desire by residents who took part in the open houses and survey to strengthen environmental policies.

To address some of the feedback, Langley City staff and consultants updated the plans to:

  • Strengthen townhouse building design guidelines
  • Strengthen high-rise building design guidelines
  • Strengthen industrial building design guidelines
  • Strengthen building guidelines on on-site stormwater management and on-site clean energy generation
  • Strengthen design guidelines and other policies to prioritize safety, eyes-on-the-street, sightlines, and community ownership of public spaces
  • Identify the need to create a Community Safety Strategy in collaboration with the Township of Langley and RCMP
  • Locate a policing station office adjacent to the proposed 203rd Street SkyTrain Station
  • Identify the need to create an Urban Forest Management Plan to protect and enhance the tree canopy
  • Clarify that lighting should be used sparsely in the Nicomekl Floodplain to reduce the impact on sensitive wildlife habitat
  • Enhance policies around partnering with Kwantlen First Nation and environmental stakeholders on wildlife habitat restoration and conservation

The following map shows land-use changes resulting from the feedback.

Map of land-use changes resulting from the feedback received from open houses and the survey. Select map to enlarge.

The significant changes include removing the “special study areas” in the suburban residential areas. Changes also include reducing the scale of ground-oriented housing such as duplexes and townhouses to better fit within the character of neighbourhoods south of the Nicomekl River and clarifying the language around secondary suites and garden suites.

For a complete list of changes, please view the “Table of Recommended Changes” in the Official Community Plan & Nicomekl River District Neighbourhood Plan Engagement Summary.

You can read the updated proposed Official Community Plan, which incorporates the Nicomekl River District Neighbourhood Plan, from Langley City’s website. You can also find out how to participate in the formal public hearing on June 28th on the same page.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Majority support Langley City’s proposed new Official Community Plan and Nicomekl River District Neighbourhood Plan

Over the last two years, Langley City staff and consultants have been working on an updated Official Community Plan, which prepares for the future Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension, addresses housing affordability, and strengthens environmental protection.

City Council members, members of the public, and stakeholders such as Kwantlen First Nation have participated in workshops, open houses, surveys and provided written comments throughout the process.

179 people participated in virtual open houses, and 332 people participated in a survey about the proposed updated Official Community Plan and accompanying Nicomekl River District Neighbourhood Plan in February of this year.

Langley City’s consultant presented the feedback from the open houses and survey at Monday’s Council meeting.

Overall, two-thirds of survey respondents supposed the overall vision of the proposed Official Community Plan. In addition, 52% supported the land-uses proposed in the plan.

The following are the five key themes of the proposed Official Community Plan and the level of support from survey respondents.

  • Affordable Living and Diverse Housing for all Generations – 61%
  • A Highly Connected City Aligned with Rapid Transit – 67%
  • A Safe and Inclusive Community Rich with Cultural Destinations – 77%
  • A Responsive Community that Creates New Jobs – 74%
  • Environmental Solutions to Fight Climate Change – 79%
Map of Nicomekl River District. Select map to enlarge.

On the proposed Nicomekl River District Neighbourhood Plan, 62% of survey respondents supported the vision, with 54% supporting the land-uses.

The following are the themes for the proposed Nicomekl River District Neighbourhood Plan and the level of support from respondents.

  • A Walkable & Accessible Neighbourhood – 73%
  • A Complete Neighourhood – 60%
  • An Ecologically Sensitive Neighourhood – 78%
  • A Hertigate Conscious Neighourhood – 71%
  • A Playful & Safe Neighbourhood – 71%

The following key themes emerged from the feedback that the City received.

  • All parts of both plans received majority support from survey respondents
  • There is strong support for environmental policies such as protecting the Nicomekl River ecosystem
  • Land-use policies generated the most concern with fear about changes in single-detached housing neighbourhoods
  • People were concerned that the City’s infrastructure, including roads/parking, would not be able to keep up with population increases
  • People noted that community safety is critical

Tomorrow, I post about how Langley City staff and consultants addressed the concerns raised in the survey and open houses in the latest versions of the plans.

You can read the full survey results available on the City’s website.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Food trucks and alcoholic beverages allowed in select parks this summer

Langley City Council approved a summertime food truck and alcoholic beverages in parks pilot program. This pilot program will help support the economic recovery of our restaurants and small businesses in Langley City and allow people to safely enjoy beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages during a picnic with friends and family.

As part of this pilot program, people who operate a food truck will need to have a permanent food service business located in Langley City.

The City will permit food trucks in commercial areas outside of the Historic Downtown area, including parking lots, if the operator has the permission of property owners.

Map of food truck exclusion zone. Select image to enlarge.

The City will also allow one food truck each in the parking lot at:

  • City Park, west of Al Anderson Memorial Pool
  • Linwood Park
  • Brydon Park
  • Sendall Gardens
  • Portage Park
  • Penzer Park
  • Uplands Dog Off-leash Park

The City must approve the schedule for any food truck operating in a park.

Food truck operators will also need to follow good neighbourhood rules around noise and garbage.

On Fridays and Saturdays from 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm from July 1st through September 30th, people will be allowed to responsibly consume alcoholic beverages in McBurney Plaza, select areas in Douglas Park, and the picnic shelters at City Park.

The following map shows the select areas in Douglas Park.

Alcoholic beverage zone in Douglas Park. Select map to enlarge.

The City will be investing $21,000 to provide portable toilets were required, garbage/recycling/organic collection, security services, and signage to support this alcoholic beverages in parks pilot program.

Example signage as part of the alcoholic beverages in parks pilot program. Select image to enlarge.

People will also be able to provide feedback on this program through the pilot period. Based on the results of the pilot program, Council may decide to make the program permanent.