Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Creating more inclusive Langley City Task Groups, and new scope for Economic Development Task Group

Yesterday, Langley City Council extended the following task groups by one-year:

  • Arts and Culture Task Group
  • Crime Prevention Task Group
  • Economic Development Task Group
  • Environmental Task Group
  • Performing Arts and Culture Centre Task Group

These task groups provide volunteer opportunities for people to contribute to our community. These volunteers give their time to offer unique perspectives and ideas, which help both Council and staff make better-informed decisions. Some volunteers also provide their labour, whether it is going door-to-door to share crime prevention tips or participating behind the scenes in the Christmas parade.

On some task groups, we have “saved a seat” to make sure we hear from people with certain viewpoints. For example, on the Crime Prevention Task Group, we specifically want one member from the Downtown Langley Business Association, Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce, the senior community, and the youth community. Five other positions are open to all members of the public.

Council had a robust and good discussion about inclusion yesterday. The conversation started around ensuring that we “save seats” on our task groups for all Indigenous Nation on whose unceded and traditional lands Langley City is on.

As someone who is part of the LGBTQ2SIA+ community, a marginalized community, I mentioned that while it is important to “save a seat,” we shouldn’t stop our good work if we do not fill those seats. There are various reasons why people may not fill those seats.

Many marginalized people are simply busy and do not have time to volunteer. Others would rather not have to educate or explain to others about their lived experiences, barriers, and injustices they’ve faced.

At the council meeting, I noted that as elected people, we must educate ourselves about Indigenous Nations, minority and marginalized communities, including concerning the task groups where we serve.

We may need to pay for experts to deliver this education. We should not expect Indigenous Nations, marginalized or minority groups to provide this education for free.

Council voted to review our task groups to make sure they are more inclusive.

Council also voted to update the terms of reference of the Economic Development Task Group, which will be focusing on:

  • Working with Kwantlen Polytechnic University to support their KPU 2050 Master Plan, including linking it with Langely City’s “Innovation Boulevard” on Glover Road, focusing on student housing, technology, research, media, start-ups, and maker spaces.
  • Encouraging transit-oriented development around the 196 Street and 203 Street SkyTrain stations.
  • Securing capital funding for an iconic destination arts and cultural facility (performing arts centre) in Downtown Langley.

The new terms of reference added seats for one member from the Architectural Institute of British Columbia or the British Columbia Society of Landscape Architects, and one member from an Indigenous Nation on whose unceded and traditional lands Langley City is on.

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