Tuesday, November 30, 2021

November 22 Council Notes: Portage Park Plaques, Living Wage Plaque, and a $7.5 Million Loan

In January, Langley City Council heard a delegation from the Living Wage for Families Campaign calling for our municipality to become a living wage employer. A living wage in Metro Vancouver is $20.52 per hour.

Living Wage for Families BC defines a living wage as “the hourly amount that each of two working parents with two young children must earn to meet their basic expenses (including rent, child care, food and transportation) once government taxes, credits, deductions and subsidies are taken into account.”

In April, Langley City Council adopted policies to ensure it is a living wage employer. On Monday, November 22nd, Langley City received an Official Living Wage Employer plaque from Living Wage for Families BC.

Portage Park

Portage Park has a variety of tree species. Most people, including I, do not know the names of most of the tree species in the park. Langley City’s Environmental Task Group proposed that the City budget $10,000 in next year’s capital budget to install long-lasting signs to label these trees, including with indigenous names.

The Environmental Task Group also asked that City staff explore adding evergreen tree planters along the one-way section of Fraser Highway as it is devoid of greenery in the winter. Langley City staff were not supportive of this recommendation as the Fraser Highway one-way is now planned to be completely rebuilt in 2023. As such, this request did not move forward.

This year, Council proposed a $7.5 million loan for strategic property acquisition to support SkyTrain to Langley. The City will pay off the loan over 15 years. This proposal went through an Alternative Approval Process with Council approving the loan in June.

In BC, regional districts must approve and borrow on behalf of their member municipalities. The Municipal Finance Authority of British Columbia, whose board of trustees includes representation for all regional districts in BC, issues these loans. The Municipal Finance Authority of British Columbia has an excellent credit rating, and as such, municipalities pay lower interest rates than you would find at your bank.

Council approved formally asking the Metro Vancouver Regional District to consent to the City borrowing $7.5 million from the Municipal Finance Authority of British Columbia. This request is a necessary formality and is almost certain to be approved by the regional district.

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