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.

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