Thursday, September 30, 2021

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Every Child Matters Banner

Today is the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. One of the questions that I had was how do I honour those that died in the residential schools genocide, honour survivors, and begin the journey of reconciliation.

The first step on my journey is education, and I want to share some videos and other resources that may help you and your family on your journey.

The first suggested link is for the Witness Blanket, which is currently exhibiting at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The Witness Blanket is made of “hundreds of items reclaimed from residential schools, churches, government buildings and traditional and cultural structures across Canada.” You can watch the feature-length documentary “Picking Up the Pieces: The Making of the Witness Blanket.

For your family, consider watching the video “Talking to Kids About Residential Schools” by Monique Gray Smith.

To conitune your journey, please consider participating in Truth and Reconciliation Week hosted by the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation. They have put together a week’s worth of educational workshops which you can watch.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Council Notes: Lane Closure, Financial Plan Amendment, pH Levels, and Building Assessments

On Monday, Langley City Council approved a bylaw to “close” a lane, which the City never built out. The lane’s location is between 5500 and 5510 Brydon Crescent. You can read more about this closure in a previous post.

Council also approved an amendment to the 2021 - 2025 Financial Plan. It is common for Council to approve these amendments as priorities change and funding grants become available throughout the year. For more information, please read a previous post on this amendment.

Council gave first, second, and third reading to a bylaw which would update the City’s Watercourse Protection Bylaw if given final reading. It would change the pH of allowed water discharge into a watercourse such as a creek from 6.5-8.0 to 6.5-9. This range change is consistent with Metro Vancouver Regional District’s drinking water pH levels and provincial requirements. The bylaw also includes a new “Confirmation of Commitment” form.

Langley City owns 34 buildings and has budgeted $65,000 to complete a condition assessment on each building. These assessments will help the City prioritize repair and rehabilitation work over the next decade. Council approved City staff’s request to apply for a $15,000 grant from the Union of BC Municipalities to help offset some of the costs of performing the assessments.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Public Hearing: 13-Unit Townhouse Project on Corner of 53rd and 198th

Last night, Langley City Council hosted a Public Hearing for two bylaws that, if approved, would facilitate a 13-unit townhouse development at the corner of 53rd Avenue and 198th Street.

Rendering of the proposed project at 5324-5326 & 5334-5336 198 Street. Select image to enlarge.

Before the Public Hearing, the City’s Advisory Design Plan, which includes architects, landscape architects, the RCMP, an accessibility representative, and members of the public, who all volunteer their time, reviewed the project and made the following recommendations:

  • Update the roof design
  • Update the door materials and colour
  • Vary colour palette for each townhouse block
  • Add Juliette windows on the second floor along the internal driveway and a balcony over the electrical room
  • Add larger ground-floor windows along 198th Street
  • Add additional back patio screening between back yard areas and additional screening along 198th Street
  • Upgrade the entire east fence
  • Utilize more durable fencing material along project edges
  • Provide rendering to show the proposed building at the corner of 198th Street and 53rd Avenue

Except for varying the colour palette of each townhouse block, the proponent accepted the advice of the Advisory Design Plan.

For the public hearing, Council received six pieces of written correspondence which included a 103-signature petition. Ten members of the public attended the public hearing over Zoom, and six members of the public spoke to Council about the proposed development.

Generally, concerns from the public included density, shadowing on adjacent properties, green space, the urban heat island effect, on-street parking, tandem parking garages, and safety at the intersection of 198th Street and 53rd Avenue.

To address some, but not all, of the concerns about shadowing, the project’s proponent proposes to setback the buildings 4.5 meters in the rear yard area.

Shadow study for the proposed project at 5324-5326 & 5334-5336 198 Street. Select image to enlarge.

For green space, City staff noted that they would require extensive street trees along the property perimeter in addition to the proposed nine trees within the property.

Landscaping plan of the proposed project at 5324-5326 & 5334-5336 198 Street. Select image to enlarge.

For intersection safety at 198th Street and 53rd Avenue, City staff are investigating extending the curb bulges to reduce traffic speed and reduce on-street parking to increase visibility at the intersection.

Members of Council, including myself, questioned the use of tandem parking garages, though this garage style has existed in the City for at least 20 years. Staff noted that a new zoning bylaw is in the works, which will include reviewing tandem parking.

Staff also noted that a parking management study for the whole community is part of the 2021-2025 Financial Plan.

The next step for these bylaws will be for Council to consider third reading at a future meeting.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Crime Prevention Tips for Stratas and Multi-Family Housing. Target Hardening Tips for Business Owners.

Every month, Langley City’s Crime Prevention Task Group volunteers create new safety tips posters. One poster focuses on people who live in the community while the other focuses on business owners.

This month, a task group volunteer created a poster for people living or managing stratas and multi-family residential properties. Please print off the poster and place it in your common area.

Select the poster to download.

Another volunteer created a poster for business owners and focuses on target hardening.

Select the poster to download.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

SkyTrain to Downtown Langley City not delayed

Map of Surrey-Langley SkyTrain Extension. Select to enlarge.

Over the last few days, there have been a few media articles and press releases about Surrey-Langley SkyTrain Project delays. These articles and releases premise a completion date of 2025 for the whole project from King George to Downtown Langley.

In January 2020, TransLink released the phase one business case for the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain project. Phase one would have the SkyTrain terminate in Fleetwood.

In the business case, it states, "the anticipated opening date for passenger service on this first stage [to Fleetwood] is late 2025."

Since the release of the original business case, there was a provincial election. The NDP promised to build and help fund the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain project as one phase to Downtown Langley.

The 2021 provincial budget reserved room to fund the SkyTrain extension fully to Downtown Langley. The provincial government is also now responsible for getting the project built.

On July 9th, the federal government also announced $1.3 billion in additional funding to build the project to Downtown Langley.

Because TransLink staff only completed the detailed design work and business case to get to Fleetwood, now provincial staff are working on completing the business case and detailed design work to build the project as one phase to Downtown Langley.

The increased scope of the project (building to Downtown Langley) and a possible new Operations and Maintenace Centre near the Langley terminus, as per the latest TransLink board report, means that 2025 was never going to be the date for SkyTrain to get to Langley City.

I understand that a new business case is almost now complete, so this winter/spring, I expect the province to launch a request for proposal for the entire project. Because of the project's complexity, I would expect the province to announce a successful tender at the end of 2022, with construction ramping up in 2023 over the next four years. It took about four years to build the Canada Line.

While it may seem that there has been a significant delay in getting SkyTrain to Langley City, it is not the case. From what I've seen, things are full-steam ahead.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Council Notes: Discovery Langley City Partnership Renewed. Budget Amendments Approved.

In the fall of 2017, Langley City launched Discovery Langley City in partnership with its hoteliers. Discovery Langley City is a tourism marketing organization for the community. The City collects a 2% tax, called the Municipal and Regional District Tax, applied to the price of a hotel room in Langley City. This tax, combined with a small $15,000 fee for service funded out of the City’s operating budget, enables Discovery Langley City to promote the community as a tourist destination.

In 2019, Discover Langley City funding was around $200,000. Revenue drop in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Downtown Langley Business Association operates Discover Langley City, and their current five-year contract is ending at the end of this year. Langley City Council voted on Monday to renew the contract for an additional five years, ending at the end of December 2026.

From time to time, Langley City must amend its current-year budget. These amendments are required because priorities can change, unexpected expenses can come up, or grants received. These budget amendments do not impact user fees or property taxes.

Council approved an amended capital budget as follows:

COVID-19 Response & Safe Restart Expenditures - $200,000
198 St Hydro Conduit Design - $30,000
General Road Rehabilitation - $43,447
Michaud Crescent Community Garden Upgrades - $40,000
Insurance Risk Management - $10,000
56th Avenue Underground Utility Detailed Design (200th Street to 203rd Street) - $100,000
Eliminate Watermain Pipe Twinning on 200th Street - $100,000
Glover Road Cycling Improvement (Median Irrigation) - $150,000
Leachate Pump Station Upgrade - $200,000
City Public Facilities Condition Assessment -$65,000
Drinking-Water System Upgrades - $150,000
Upgrade Council Chamber to Support Hybrid Meetings - $120,000
Upgrading Lighting Rigging at Spirit Square - $20,000

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Council Notes: Development Proposals including near Brydon Park

On Monday, Langley City Council gave first and second reading to a suite of bylaws to enable a 13-unit townhouse development at the corner of 198th Street and 53rd Avenue if approved. With Council giving two readings to the bylaws, Langley City staff have scheduled a public hearing at 7 pm on September 27th. Please visit Langley City’s website for more information on attending the public hearing or submitting feedback. I will post more about this proposed development project after the public hearing.

Rendering of the proposed development at 5324 - 5326 & 5334 - 5336 198 Street. Select image to enlarge.

Landscaping plan of the proposed development at 5324 - 5326 & 5334 - 5336 198 Street. Select image to enlarge.

Council also gave third reading to a suite of bylaws to enabled a 6-storey, 113-unit apartment development across the street from Nicomekl Elementary School. You can read more about this proposal in a previous blog post.

53/53A Avenue proposed project view from 53rd Avenue. Select image to enlarge.

53/53A Avenue proposed project view from 53 A Avenue. Select image to enlarge.

Council gave third reading to a suite of bylaws to enable a 6-storey, mixed-use building with 114 apartments and 9050 sq. feet of ground-level retail space at the current Washworld site at Fraser Highway and 201A Street. You can read more about this proposed project in a previous blog post.

Proposed mixed-use project view from the corner of 201A and Fraser Highway. Select image to enlarge.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Starting the Journey of Reconciliation in Langley City

When I went to elementary school and high school, we were not taught about the horrors and cultural genocide committed against Indigenous Nations and people by governments via the residential school system. My first exposure to the dark history of the residential school system was when I worked at the TV station where they filmed the first season of APTN’s First Talk.

Earlier this summer, with the discovery of 215 remains at the Kamloops Indian Residential School site by Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, the atrocities of the residential school system came to light for many Canadians, including myself.

With Canada Day coming up at the time, I reached out to Katie Pearson, CEO of the Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society. She said that Langley City needs to start implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. She left me with some presentations to watch and contact information for other Indigenous leaders.

Over several discussions with Indigenous and Métis people, I heard that the heart must first be open to starting the journey of reconciliation. For Langley City as a colonial institution, this begins with education.

Langley City Council unanimously passed the following motion last night.

WHEREAS the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s summary report, “Honouring the Truth, Reconciling the Future,” was released to the public on June 2nd, 2015;

WHEREAS as directed by the commission report; calls for federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous People as the framework for reconciliation;

WHEREAS the City of Langley is a colonial institution;

WHEREAS the work of reconciliation must start within colonial institutions;

WHEREAS the City of Langley owns the act of reconciliation;

WHEREAS local governments must begin the journey with Indigenous Nations by learning the truth of Canada’s cultural genocide of Indigenous People before reconciliation can be achieved;

WHEREAS City of Langley Council has the opportunity to move the City in a good way by gaining perspectives and understanding of Indigenous Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers of ethics, concepts, and practices of reconciliation;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the City of Langley create a Request for Proposal for developing an educational program about Truth and Reconciliation, Indigenous Cultural Protocols, Knowledge Systems, and Empathy and Safety work by qualified Indigenous Cultural presenters, practitioners or educators;

THAT the City of Langley submit a successful Request for Proposal for Council to tender;

THAT Council consider funding the tender as part of the 2022 budget process;

THAT the educational program be delivered to Council and Senior Staff as soon as possible;

THAT the educational program be delivered to Council and Senior Staff within six months of any Council inauguration;

THAT the City of Langley take immediate action by acknowledging Orange Shirt Day by placing an Every Child Matters Banner across the two Fraser Highway gateways to the Downtown for the week of September 27th, 2021;

THAT up to $2,500 be expended from the Enterprise Fund for the Every Child Matters Banner; and,

THAT the Every Child Matters Banner be stored by the City for future use as directed by Council.

This motion is just the first step on the reconciliation journey. With our hearts open, we can start on the path of implementing the Calls to Action.

As of this writing, Indigenous Nations throughout Canada have discovered over 1,500 unmarked graves at former residential school sites.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Near Universal Support North of the River, Majority Support South of Nicomekl for Tree Protection Bylaw

A tree

A few weeks ago, I asked people if they would support a tree protection bylaw and other questions about tree management.

After I filtered the responses received to include only Langley City residents, there were 115 survey responses.

In the Nicomekl and Douglas Neighbourhoods, north of the Nicomekl River, there was 92% support for a tree protection bylaw. South of the Nicomekl, support varied by neighbourhood as follows:

75% support a tree protection bylaw in Uplands
72% support a tree protection bylaw in Simonds
63% support a tree protection bylaw in Blacklock
20% support a tree protection bylaw in Alice Brown

82% of survey respondents living north and 60% of survey respondents living south of the Nicomekl River who support a tree protection bylaw believe that a tree protection bylaw should apply to all types of trees, not just older, evergreen trees.

More than 95% of respondents who support a tree protection bylaw thought it should apply to all parts of Langley City.

95% of respondents who support a tree protection bylaw also answered yes to the following questions:

Do you think people should be allowed to apply for a permit to remove a tree protected under a tree protection bylaw if the tree is unhealthy, is damaging a foundation, or creating a safety risk?

In BC, tree protection bylaws cannot limit density. When possible, do you think Langley City should create policies to protect trees or tree groups on redevelopment properties?

Do you think that Langley City should require a minimum number of trees planted as part of redevelopment?

Do you think Langley City should fine people for removing trees protected by a tree protection bylaw on private property under redevelopment?

87% of respondents who support a tree protection bylaw thought Langley City should fine people for removing trees protected by a tree protection bylaw on private property that is NOT under redevelopment.

This survey has a ±10% margin of error, 95% of the time.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Consumption of Liquor in Parks and Public Spaces Survey

Picnic shelters at City Park

Since July 1st, people have been able to drink alcoholic beverages responsibly on Fridays and Saturdays from 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm at select park locations. These locations include McBurney Plaza, select areas in Douglas Park, and the picnic shelters at City Park.

Being able to drink alcoholic in these locations is part of a pilot program running until September 25th.

With the pilot program winding down, Langley City wants your feedback on this pilot program and your experience at parks where this pilot program was in place. The survey also includes questions about if the pilot program impacted your decision to visit a park and if you would like to see the pilot program expanded.

The survey takes under 5 minutes to complete. Take Langley City’s official survey before September 30th.

Go to the Official Survey

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Metro Vancouver’s Clean Air Plan dependent on feds and province

Logan Creek in Langley City

The Metro Vancouver Regional District is in the final stages of adopting its updated 10-year air quality management plan called the “Clean Air Plan.” The actions contained in the plan, if implemented, will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2 million tonnes and provide $1.6 billion in health benefits.

The following are the “big move” actions that the region must take to reduce GHG emissions and realize the health benefits.


  • Enhance and improve regional transit
  • Use pricing to reduce driving and emissions - Province
  • Expand active transportation networks
  • Accelerate sales targets for new electric passenger vehicles - Province and Federal
  • Develop regional emission requirements for passenger vehicles - Province
  • Make electric vehicles more affordable - Province and Federal
  • Regulate existing medium and heavy trucks - Province
  • Require zero-emission sales targets for new medium and heavy trucks - Province
  • Accelerate emission reductions from marine vessels - Province and Federal


  • Greenhouse gas performance requirements for existing large buildings
  • Greenhouse gas performance requirements for existing homes and townhomes
  • New buildings are highly efficient and electric - Province
  • Require greenhouse gas reductions during renovations - Province
  • Building electrification mandate for BC Hydro - Province
  • Expand incentives for low carbon upgrades - Province and Federal
  • Online decision support tools for low carbon upgrades in buildings - Province
  • Implement requirements for higher emitting wood-burning appliances
  • Emission requirements for district energy systems
  • Incorporate embodied emissions into the BC Building Code - Province


  • More stringent greenhouse gas requirements for large industrial emitters - Province
  • Integrate greenhouse gas requirements into emission regulations and permits
  • Implement renewable gas content requirements - Province
  • Tighten emission regulation for non-road diesel engines
  • Regional low carbon procurement


  • Reduce emissions from greenhouses - Province
  • Reduce open-air burning


  • Develop a long-term approach to equity in air quality and greenhouse gas management
  • Strengthen relationships with First Nations on air quality issues

I noted if federal or provincial government action will be required to implement an action in the above list. Around half of the “big move” actions will need the support of other orders of government to be successful.

There are many actions that the regional district, member municipalities and treaty First Nations can take to reduce GHG emissions and reduce air contaminants. However, this plan will only be successful with the full support of both the provincial and federal governments.

One of the roles of this region will be to lobby the provincial and federal governments to update legislation, regulations, and policies to make this plan successful.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

What’s with the grey shack on 203rd Street by the river?

If you’ve walked or cycled along the west side of 203rd Street, on the north side of the Nicomekl River, you may have noticed a grey shack. I was curious about the shack’s purpose.

This weekend, I was checking the weather forecast at the Environment Canada website and noticed a link called Water Level and Flow.

I figured the grey shack might have something to do with water measurement, so I went through the list of measurement stations and confirmed that it is indeed the case. The grey shack’s official name is 08MH155, and it has measured the water flow and level of the Nicomekl River since 1985.

08MH155 Measurement Station. Select image to enlarge.

You can find real-time measurements online as well as historical data.

Water level graph of Nicomekl River at 203rd Street over the last year. Select the graph to enlarge.

There has been a change of about 3.5 metres between when the river is at its highest and lowest over the year.

Measuring the flow and level of the Nicomekl River is important because it can help ensure that flood controls and mitigation measures are adequate.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Three Questions to Ask Candidates this Election

Sewer Infrastructure

One of the reasons I’m passionate about local government is because it directly impacts people’s daily lives. While local government has the most impact on your life (imagine if you didn’t have tap water, flushing toilets, or garbage collection), it directly collects around 10% of total taxation revenue. The federal government collects the majority of total taxation revenue.

As such, local governments rely on the federal government to help fund infrastructure projects that local governments would otherwise not be able to build.

In this federal election, there are three questions that candidates in Cloverdale–Langley City should be able to answer. Their answers will impact Langley City for the next century.

SkyTrain is critical in giving people a transportation choice that saves money and helps fight climate change, provides better access to employment, and supports economic growth for the local business community.

What will you do to ensure that SkyTrain gets built to Langley City in a timely fashion?

80% of Langley City residents want a performing arts centre built in our Downtown. This centre will contribute to positive evening activities in our community and help create a night life in Langley.

What will you do to help secure funding for a performing art centre in Downtown Langley?

Like all municipalities, Langley City has ageing infrastructure which needs replacement over the next few decades. The impacts of climate change also means that the City needs to redesign and rebuild stormwater systems.

What will you do to ensure a stable funding program for local governments to renew ageing water, sewer, and stormwater systems, including providing funding to help adapt to climate change?

When researching who to vote for, consider the federal government’s impact in providing funding to support Langley City’s priorities and infrastructure needs.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

International Overdose Awareness Day in Langley

Yesterday at work, I mentioned to people that it was International Overdose Awareness Day at a staff meeting. I said that BC is amid two health emergencies: opioid-related overdoses and COVID-19. Overdoses and overdose deaths, unfortunately, have continued to rise.

Later that morning, during another meeting, a staff member asked me, “Isn’t overdoses a Downtown Eastside issue?” I told the person that overdoses impact all people in BC, no matter their walk of life. I said that the highest risk people in BC are employed, housed, single, young men.

This insight surprised my co-worker. My day job is at a software company where many people fit into the high risk demographic for overdoses.

The conversation I had, shows that there is still a stigma around overdoses.

Vigil at Derek Doubleday Arboretum. Select image to enlarge.

Yesterday evening, Langley Community Overdose Response held a walk, information BBQ, and vigil for International Overdose Awareness Day.

People walking to Douglas Park Spirit Square. Select image to enlarge.

Some people told stories of friends and family who died due to overdoses. While I’m not aware of anyone in my family who died due to overdoses, my dad had substance use problems which resulted in overdoses. As a child growing up, it was traumatizing, but he was able to get help because he had a support system of friends and family to help him.

The more people feel safe talking about substance use problems and not feel judged, the sooner we can reduce the number of overdoses and overdose deaths in our communities.

For more information about overdose prevention, please visit the provincial government’s website.