Wednesday, April 27, 2022

April 25th Council Notes: Property Tax Mill Rate. Amendments to the Financial Plan

Langley City Council approved some financial measures at its Monday afternoon meeting. With the 2022-2026 Financial Plan adopted previously, Council gave first, second, and third reading to the 2022 Tax Rate Bylaw. This bylaw sets the property tax mill rate for the various property classes, as shown below.

2022 Mill Rate for Langley City. Select table to enlarge.

The City is budgeting $33.4 million in property tax revenue this year. The City collects about 51% of total property taxes revenue from residential properties and the remainder from commercial properties and utilities. Of residential properties in Langley City, 68% are strata.

Property tax and utility notices are sent out in June.

Even though the 2022-2026 Financial Plan was just adopted, Council gave first, second and third reading to amend the Financial Plan. It has been about a quarter of a year since Council gave first reading to the Financial Plan. Since then, the City has received grant money to fund projects and has changed other projects’ scope. When this happens, Council needs to approve amendments to the Financial Plan. This process usually happens two or three times per year. The Financial Plan amendments are:

City Park Field Upgrade: A $750,000 Federal Government grant plus an extra $914,995 from casino proceeds to help fund this $2.1 million project

Douglas Recreation Centre Childcare Centre: If City receives a $2.4 million grant from Province, the City will contribute $100,000 to fund the $2.5 million project

Master Transportation Plan: $97,000 grant from TransLink to fund Bus Speed & Reliability Hotspot Study

Traffic Signal Upgrades: TransLink grant to improve 200th Street and 48th Avenue intersection

Facilities Condition Assessment: $10,000 grant from Province to help fund assessment

UBCM Poverty Reduction Grant: $25,000 grant from the UBCM

Nexus SkyTrain Implementation: $50,000 from City reserves

Glover Road Bike Lanes: $100,000 from City reserves to fund additional costs

Fraser Highway (204 St to 206 St) Design: $50,000 from City reserves

Leachate Pump Station for Old Dump Under Uplands Dog Offleash: $75,000 from City reserves to help offset higher costs of the project

Website Upgrade Project: Additional $60,000 from City reserves to fund the $90,000 project

46 Ave, 206A to 207 St Storm Sewer: Additional $100,000 from City reserves

Floodplain Mapping: Additional $20,000 from City reserves to fund the $140,000 project

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

April 28th: Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured

Day of Mourning

Langley City Council received a presentation from the New Westminster & District Labour Council about the Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured on the job. This Day of Mourning takes place annually on April 28th.

In 2020, 151 people died due to work-related deaths. Of those, 51 were due to asbestos exposure. 96% of those workers who died were men.

Many more people an injured on the job, both physically and mentally. Council was reminded that mental health is just as important as physical health, and both mental and physical harm negatively impact workers’ quality of life.

WorkSafeBC has a Psychological Health and Safety Initiative page, including what employers can do to ensure mental health safety.

Please visit the Day of Mourning BC website for a listing of local Day of Mourning ceremonies. You can also watch a live stream event starting at 10:30 am on Thursday. You can read stories from workers and their families.

Langley City will also have an observance at the City Hall/Timms Community Centre flag poles on Thursday at 11 am.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Transit Priorities over the Next Decade: RapidBus and Bus Rapid Transit

TransLink is currently working with its partners, including the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, to develop a list of priority transportation measures to implement over the coming decade. These measures are based on the overall goals of Transport 2050, the region’s long-term transportation vision.

RapidBus. Select image to enlarge.

TransLink plans to implement 11 new RapidBus lines over the next decade. TransLink will convert some of these current and planned RapidBus routes to Bus Rapid Transit over time.

Map of proposed transit improvements over the next decade. Select map to enlarge.

RapidBus routes have enhanced bus stops with real-time schedules, articulated buses, and transit priority measures such as queue-jumping lanes, bus lanes, and traffic signal prioritization. With RapidBus, these priority measures are only implemented in select locations along the route. With Bus Rapid Transit, these transit priority measures run along the whole route. Additionally, RapidBus bus-only lanes in the region use paint and signs to keep other traffic out of those lanes. There is physical separation with bus rapid transit lanes to keep other traffic out of those lanes.

The only Bus Rapid Transit that Metro Vancouver had was along No. 3 Road for the 98 B-Line in Richmond. This Bus Rapid Transit was removed when the Canada Line opened.

98 B-Line Bus Rapid Transit on No. 3 Road in Richmond. Image Source: Busologist

TransLink will create the following RapidBus routes in the first five years of the plan:

  • Langley – Haney Place (200th St)
  • Lynn Valley – Downtown/Lonsdale
  • Marine Drive – 22nd St Station
  • Newton - White Rock (R1 extension)
  • R7 Richmond – Expo Line
In the second half of the plan, TransLink will create these routes:
  • Ambleside – Downtown (Lions Gate)
  • Carvolth – Scott Rd (96 Ave)
  • Commercial/Victoria
  • Langley – White Rock (24 Ave)
  • New Westminster Station – Brentwood (Canada Way)
  • Newton – Guildford (152nd St)

Over the decade, TransLink would convert the following routes to Bus Rapid Transit:

  • Hastings St (upgrade from R5)
  • King George Blvd (Surrey to White Rock)
  • Langley – Haney Place (200 St - Golden Ears - Lougheed Hwy)
  • Lougheed Hwy (upgrade from R3)
  • Lynn Valley – Downtown/Lonsdale (Lions Gate)
  • Marine Drive Station – 22nd St Station (Marine Way)
  • Richmond Centre – Metrotown (Knight-Victoria-49th Ave)
  • Scott Road (upgrade from R6)

By focusing on improving bus service, TransLink will be able to provide fast, frequent transit service to more people than just building SkyTrain alone.

For more information, please read TransLink’s new Discussion Guide.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Broadway Subway Extension to UBC – Should it be fully tunnelled?

With the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension fully funded and underway, the next major public transit project that the region wants to see built is the Broadway Subway extension to UBC. Right now, the subway is terminating at Arbutus on Broadway.

UBC Transit Exchange

xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwxw̱ú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation), TransLink, UBC, Metro Vancouver, and the Provinces are studying alignment options for this proposed extension.

The following shows the likely alignment of the extension.

Proposed UBC Subway Extension Alignment. Select image to enlarge.

One of the things to note is a potential future infill station on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm lands.

Whether the extension to UBC will be fully tunnelled or have above grade sections is of more interest. The regional standard for SkyTrain is to build it above grade, only tunnelling when absolutely needed. Tunnelling is costly.

According to TransLink, transitioning from a tunnel to above grade at Arbutus is technically feasible. While technically possible, TransLink claims that the only “functionally feasible” area that could be above grade would be on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm lands.

While I’m sure considerations like land aquation costs factor in the “functionally feasibility,” I find it interesting that areas west of Cambie Street in Vancouver get the tunnel treatment almost as a default. The Canada Line is a good example. It is almost entirely tunnelled in the City of Vancouver, but above grade in Richmond. I certainly hope that the region, the province, and the federal government will not foot the added costs for tunnelling simply because it goes through the fancy Point Grey area of the City of Vancouver. I hope there are other functional requirements for tunnelling beyond neighbourhood median household income.

The Mayors’ Council is looking at incorporating the Broadway Subway extension to UBC as part of their new 10-year vision. The earliest the extension would take place is in year six of the vision, and only once future regional Bus Rapid Transit has commenced. Of course, the federal and provincial governments would need to provide funding.

The Mayors’ Council Finance and Governance Committee is recommending that any decision on fully tunnelling the extension to UBC only occur after local and third-party contribution agreements have been worked out.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Join the 60th Annual Langley Walk

Langley Walk Sign up

The 60th annual Langley Walk is back after two years of occurring virtually. The Walk was started in 1963 by Pete Swensson, the Township of Langley’s first Recreation Director. The Walk switches up locations in both the City and the Township.

Everyone who completes the Walk will get a coveted patch. Some folks have patches that sterch over several decades. There are also other plaque awards to be won.

60th Langley Walk Patch.

You can choose a 5km or 10km walk.

This year’s event takes place:
Sunday, May 1st
12:30 pm
McLeod Athletic Park

You can sign-up for the Walk on the Township of Langley’s website.

Please visit Langley City’s website for more information, including how to volunteer.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Metro Vancouver Flood Resiliency Update

Flooding in Langley

As I posted about last month, the Metro Vancouver Regional District has formed a Flood Resiliency Task Force. This task force will act as a convener to ensure that our region is better prepared for future flooding events, which will increase in frequency and severity due to climate change.

The task force is currently working on an engagement process with nine First Nations who currently have communities in the regional district.

I hope that the task force and others involved in flood mitigation work use the Two-Eyed Seeing approach that looks at issues through Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing combined with Western practices. For more information, you can view the TEDx Talk, “Etuaptmumk: Two-Eyed Seeing.”

So far, the task force has added the following objectives to its mandate:

  • Identify the high-level status of Metro Vancouver infrastructure for flood resiliency
  • Identify the high-level status of flood risk assessments by member jurisdictions
  • Outreach to diking authorities and committees

The Fraser Basin Council released a draft of the Lower Mainland Flood Management Strategy in January 2021. Based on feedback received about the draft and this fall’s flooding events, work continues with refining the draft strategy.

The province also provided funding to The Fraser Basin Council to create a dikes vulnerability mapping that will create “additional modelling to compare different flood levels with current dike elevations and freeboard to estimate potential for overtopping or breaching and inform future upgrades to reduce the likelihood of overtopping or breaching.”

I will continue to follow the work of this task force and the vital work that it is doing.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Earth Day in Douglas Park – Fun for the Whole Family

Nicomekl Floodplain

Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 23rd! Earth Day celebrations will be taking place that day in Douglas Park between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.

There will be activities throughout the day, including the following workshops:

11:00 am - Foraging Walk led by a resident expert

Noon - Balcony Gardening workshop

1:00 pm - Gardening with Kids workshop

There will also be Douglas Park Community Garden tours, strawberry planting giveaways, and free bags of compost made from processed curbside organics.

For more information, please visit Langley City’s website.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Metro 2050 Energy Roadmap to a Carbon-Neutral Future. More Electricity, Less Natural Gas.

BC Hydro Power Station near Boundary Bay Dyke Trail

The Metro Vancouver Regional District is creating ten roadmaps to help our region become carbon-neutral by 2050. While the Regional District does have authority over certain aspects of air quality regulation in Metro Vancouver, these roadmaps are more about providing advice and suggestions on how our region could become carbon neutral. It is not a regulatory document. Local governments have an essential role in creating a carbon-neutral region, but it will also require the full support of both the provincial and federal governments.

One of Metro Vancouver’s latest draft roadmaps is around energy systems. The draft roadmap has six major points. I’ve outlined some goals within each:

Plan for the Transition to Clean, Renewable, and Resilient Energy

  • Work with BC Hydro, FortisBC, and the British Columbia Utilities Commission to plan for the transition to a 100% clean, renewable, and resilient energy system.

Accelerate Electrification

  • Develop programs to encourage people to switch from fossil fuel to electricity.
  • Expand and renew the electric grid to ensure that it can handle increased load.
  • Implement time-of-use rates to encourage people to use electricity during off-peak hours.
  • Create an electrical grid and microgrids resilient to major disasters such as earthquakes and extreme weather events. Have backup systems use renewable energy.

Increase Sustainable Production of Low Carbon Biofuels and Hydrogen

  • Increase the usage of renewal natural gas, prioritizing difficult-to-electrify sectors such as industrial applications with high temperatures or that require combustion.
  • Start creating more biofuel, including from wastewater biomass.
  • Enhance low-carbon fuel standards.

Limit Expansion of Fossil Fuel Production

  • While limiting expansion, also look at ways to repurpose existing fossil fuel infrastructure to supply clean, renewable energy.
  • Eliminate government subsidies and financing for fossil fuel energy systems.
  • Create and implement a just transition plan for workers and communities currently involved in the fossil fuel production.

Protect Existing Energy Systems from Current and Future Climate Impacts

Build New Energy Systems that are Climate Resilient

The following graph shows the proposed path to a carbon-neutral energy system and what our region’s energy mix will need to look like over the next 25 years.

The potential impact of the strategies and actions described in the Climate 2050 Roadmaps. Select graph to enlarge.

For more information, please read the draft energy roadmap.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Timeline of Surrey Langley SkyTrain Extension


As you know, the provincial government is building a 16-km extension of the Expo Line SkyTrain line from King George Station in Surrey to 203rd Street in Langley City. While we eagerly wait for construction to break ground on the project, I thought it would be good to look at its history so far.

The following is from the “Surrey Langley SkyTrain Project Update” from the TransLink Board’s March 24th Agenda.

December 2018 – After lobbying by the Surrey Mayor, TransLink’s Board and Mayors’ Council directed TransLink staff to develop the Surrey Langley SkyTrain extension and cancel the King George/104th Avenue LRT.

January 2019 – The TransLink Board and Mayors’ Council approved $30 million to start the development of the Surrey Langley SkyTrain extension business case.

January 2020 – The TransLink Board and Mayors’ Council endorsed a draft business case for the Surrey Langley SkyTrain extension. The project was planned to be delivered in two stages. Stage 1 would extend 7km to Fleetwood for $1.63 billion using funding reallocated from the cancelled King George/104th Avenue LRT.

October 2020 – At an announcement in Langley City’s Douglas Park, Premier Horgan announced the province would fund and deliver the Surrey Langley SkyTrain extension as one stage to Langley City.

July 2021 - Prime Minister Trudeau announced $1.3 billion in federal funding to extend the Surrey Langley SkyTrain extension 16 kilometres to Langley City. The project would be delivered in one stage for an estimated $3.94 billion.

Today - The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is creating a full business case for the project and proceeding with construction projects to support the Surrey Langley SkyTrain extension.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Langley City Engineering: 208th Bike Lanes, Landfill Pump, and Other Projects

Last Monday, Langley City Council heard from our Engineering, Parks, and Environment Director on projects that the City has under construction. At any given time, the City has millions of dollars of projects that are on the go. The City funds these projects with developer contributions, casino revenue, funds from TransLink, the province, the feds, and property tax.

Some current projects include:

Widening the sidewalks on the 208th Street Causeway bridge to accommodate protected bike lanes.

208th Street Bridge Sidewalk Widening. Select image to enlarge. Picture Source: Langley City

Starting the processes to upgrade the leachate pump station at the top of the Pleasedale Creek Trail. This pump station keeps runoff from the old landfill under the Uplands Dog Offleash Park from getting into the groundwater.

Leachate Pump Station Upgrades. Select image to enlarge. Picture Source: Langley City

Repairing water meters throughout the City.

Getting Sendall Gardens ready for the summer.

Installing anti-slip tread on the Langley Creek pedestrian bride at City Park.

Upgrading the area near the Penzer Park washrooms with a new garden and seating.

Penzer Park Improvements. Select image to enlarge. Picture Source: Langley City

Thursday, April 7, 2022

April 4 Council Notes: Bylaw Approvals, Conference, E-Comm 9-1-1

On Monday, Langley City Council approved the following rezoning bylaws and issued deployment permits for:

Council also approved the summertime responsible consumption of liquor in select areas of Douglas Park, City Park, and McBurney Plaza.

Council approved the new Drinking Water Conservation Plan Bylaw amendment, which among other things, will reduce the number of days you can water your lawn from two days to one day during the summer.

You can follow the links to read previous posts about these approvals.

Council authorized Rick Bomhof, the Director of Engineering, Parks & Environment, to attend the 2022 American Waterworks Association Conference in San Antonio, Texas, from June 12 through 15.

Like most municipalities in the Lower Mainland, Langley City uses E-Comm 9-1-1 for initial 911 call handling, fire dispatch, and their first responders’ radio network. Langley City shares a board seat with White Rock and the Township of Langley. Council approved White Rock’s selected representative for the 2022-23 term.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Your Feedback on Langley City’s New Draft Parks, Recreation, and Culture Master Plan

Nicholas Park

Based on feedback received in previous public engagement and surveys, Langley City has put together a proposed Parks, Recreation, and Culture Master Summary Plan. This plan lays out investments that the City should consider over the next decade.

The draft plan includes recommendations on acquiring new parkland, so current and future residents will be within a 5 to 10-minute walk of multiple parks. It also recommends upgrading existing parks such as Buckey Park. It contains recommendations on continuing to enhance and expand the City’s trail network.

The draft plan contains recommendations to increase recreation programming, including more fitness and art classes.

Of course, the plan highlights the need for a performing arts centre. It also suggests that the City consider building an indoor leisure pool.

Please visit the City’s website to learn more, including how to provide feedback via an online survey or virtual open house.

You can also use these direct links:

Summary of the Draft Plan
10-minute Online Community Survey (Please Complete Before April 25th.)
Virtual Open House on Tuesday, April 12th at 6:00 pm

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Proposed 6-Unit Rowhouse Project in Uplands Neighbourhood Receives Third Reading. Moratorium on Further Rezoning South of 50th Avenue Put in Place.

Yesterday afternoon, Langley City Council gave third reading to a rezoning bylaw that would enable a proposed 6-unit townhouse project at 20816 45A Avenue.

A rendering of the proposed rowhouse project at 20816 45A Avenue. Select the image to enlarge.

This project received considerable feedback from residents living in the Uplands Neighbourhood via written submissions before the public hearing and oral feedback at the public hearing.

Residents also provided around 50+ emails and a petition after the public hearing, which Council could not consider. Due to procedural fairness, if Council did consider the feedback received after the public hearing, it would open up the City to a legal challenge. You can read more about this in an article called “Public Hearings: A New Era.

Residents were concerned about the impacts on on-street parking, increased traffic due to turn restrictions at the 47th/208th/Grade Crescent intersection, speeding on 208th Street, the change in density, the potential impact on neighbourhood character, rate of change, and inadequate consultation on the new Official Community Plan.

On the topic of density and neighbourhood character, I noted that townhouses would only be allowed on existing properties near 208th Street in the neighbourhood. Detached housing zoning will remain for the rest of the Uplands Neighbourhood. I also pointed out that we have townhouses by Sendall Garden and City Park in detached housing areas. Some of these townhouses have existed for over three decades, maintaining the peaceful and green character of these neighbourhoods.

Rowhouses are only permitted in the salmon colour area under the Officially Community Plan for the Uplands Neighbourhood.

I also pointed out that the province requires each municipality to create a housing needs report. Our housing needs report notes we need more townhouses and rowhouses in our community. The provincial government is currently not enforcing municipalities to take action on these reports. Still, the province has recently signalled municipalities aren’t doing enough to build more housing and is looking at forcing municipalities to approve more housing faster.

Speeding is a big concern along 208th Street. I’ve advocated for action for years, and hopefully, there is now renewed energy to do something about speeding on 208th Street.

I also support a traffic light at 47th/208th/Grade Crescent. I believe that this is required no matter what. Most members of Council noted that a traffic light is needed in the area to help residents make left turns out of the Uplands Neighbourhood.

I proposed the following motion, which was unanimously adopted by Council. This motion helps address some of the other concerns expressed by the residents in the Uplands Neighbourhood.

Moratorium Rezoning South of 50th Avenue
Langley City's new Official Community Plan supports ground-oriented housing forms such as "plexes" and townhouses along the 200th Street and 208th Street corridor.
A recent survey found that most Langley City residents also support this gentle density approach along these corridors to provide a mix of housing types throughout the community.
The Official Community Plan envisions these corridors to redevelop incrementally over the plan’s lifetime. In the past few months since the new Official Community Plan adoption, there has been a solid demand for building along all segments of 200th Street and 208th Street.
The first proposed project, a 6-unit row home at 20816 45A Avenue, combined with an influx of “For Sale” signs north of this proposed project, has caused alarm for Upland and Blacklock residents.
Based on the concerns raised at the public hearing and the fact that this is the first attached ground-oriented housing project in a traditionally detached housing area, the City needs to make sure this project successfully integrates into the existing neighbourhood before any other projects proceed.
The City should collect data and feedback about this project to inform other ground-oriented housing projects along the 200th and 208th Street corridors.
As 200th Street and 208th Street are also major roads that connect the growing Brookswood and Fernridge neighbourhoods to the rest of the region, we must consider their traffic impacts on our community.
THAT Langley City Staff informs any person seeking to rezone a property south of 50th Avenue, with the exception of Bylaw Number 3206, that Council has taken a position to not consider, in principle, all such rezoning applications until:
a.) Traffic and parking studies have been completed in the area bounded by 208th Street to the west and Newlands Drive to the North; and,
b.) Traffic and parking impact mitigation measures as determined from the traffic and parking studies have been incorporated into the capital plan, subject to budget availability; and,
c.) A survey of residents about ground-oriented development in the area south of 50th Avenue has been received by City Council; and,
d.) Langley City staff develop a best-practice document for ground-oriented residential projects along the 200th Street and 208th Street corridors, incorporating feedback from residents in the area bounded by 208th Street to the west and Newlands Drive to the North.

Councillor Wallace and Councillor Storteboom vote against third reading of the rezoning bylaw. The project’s proponent will have to complete various technical tasks, including a traffic impact analysis before the project can be considered for final reading to adopt the rezoning bylaw.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Metro Vancouver Spring Council of Councils Update

On Saturday, I attended the semiannual Metro Vancouver Council of Councils meeting. Metro Vancouver Regional District staff and directors update all member jurisdiction elected representatives on the more significant initiatives the regional district is undertaking. Around 130 people attend these meetings.

The meeting started with an update on water, sewer, and solid waste. As I posted earlier, the biggest change in our region will be reducing lawn watering in the summer from twice per week to once per week.

On sewer, all four sewer treatment facilities are undergoing multi-billion dollar upgrades to accommodate further population growth and comply with federal water quality regulations. The regional district has restarted the North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant project. Metro Vancouver terminated the original contract to build the plant, but now has a new contractor taking over the billion-dollar project.

water pipes

When it rains, stormwater can get into the sanitary sewer system causing sewer overflow events. These events are when raw sewer discharges into our rivers and ocean. The regional district is looking at charging wet weather pricing to encourage municipalities and property owners to fix leaks and cross-connections which cause stormwater to get into the sanitary sewer system.

Metro Vancouver is also building out some renewable natural gas facilities using sewer gases.

The regional district provided an update on their affordable housing plans. While the regional district plans to build 2,500 new affordable housing units over the next ten years, with 800 new units under construction, none will be in Langley. There are no sites in Langley today.

Locations of Metro Vancouver Regional District-owned housing. Select map to enlarge.

Metro Vancouver is continuing the work of reconciliation with Indengious Nations. The most recent visible manifestation of that is within the parks service, such as təmtəmíxʷtən/Belcarra Regional Park. Reconciliation work is ongoing. There is a focus right now at Surrey Bend Regional Park.

Metro 2050 is the region’s proposed new regional growth strategy. It is currently going through the final approval process. Each member jurisdiction must adopt the regional growth strategy. Surrey Council is concerned about the new growth strategy, so it might take some time before it is fully adopted.

Other upcoming regional planning work includes updating the housing and transportation costs burden study and regional parking strategy.

Climate action and environmental protection generated the most discussion at the Council of Councils meeting. The regional district updated us on the efforts to get to a carbon-neutral and climate-resilient region by 2050, including an update to the Clean Air Plan.

With last fall’s flooding fresh in people’s minds, the regional district created a Flood Resiliency Task Force. Their work plan includes:

  • Reviewing the Lower Mainland Flood Management Strategy
  • Reviewing the impacts of the 2021 flooding
  • Identifying risks and gaps in infrastructure
  • Identifying investment priorities

Metro Vancouver Regional District cultural grants provided $300,000 in funding for 54 projects over the last year. One of the ways to find out about regional cultural events is through the MAXguide.

Invest Vancouver is the new regional economic development service. We received an update on the work the service is doing. For more information, you can visit their website.

At the end of the meeting, TransLink provided an update on Transport 2050, the new long-range transportation plan. Work is now underway to create a new 10-year investment plan. One of the big pushes will be to build 130 kilometres of bus rapid transit over the next decade.