Monday, December 19, 2022

Wishing You a Merry Christmas - Helping People Experiencing Homelessness

Merry Christmas at Douglas Park

With Christmas fast approaching, I’ll be taking a two-week break from posting on this blog. I’ll be back on January 3rd.

It will be frigid out over the next few weeks. Langley’s two emergency response weather shelters are at:

Gateway of Hope - 5787 Langley Bypass
St. Andrew’s Church - 20955 Old Yale Rd

Gateway of Hope is requesting donations of gloves, rain ponchos, and umbrellas. You can drop off these donations anytime, though they prefer Monday through Friday from 8 am to 3:30 pm.

The St. Andrew’s Church emergency response weather shelter, which Lookout Housing and Health Society operates, is requesting donations of granola bars, bottled water, oranges, and bananas. You can drop off these donations at 102 - 5714 Glover Road between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm or at St. Andrew’s between 7 pm and 10 pm.

I wish you and those close to you a happy holiday season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Majority of Langley-Serving Transit Routes Smash 2019 Ridership

Buses in Langley

Traditionally, people think of Langley as an area where people choose to drive a car, but that is not the on-the-ground reality. While many areas of Langley are car-dependent, when people are provided with reliable, direct transit service, they will take it.

Ridership recovery during the weekends is higher than weekday ridership recovery.

The following data from TransLink shows weekday ridership from September 2022 compared to September 2019 levels on transit routes that serve Langley.

Route Route Description Recovery Rate (%)
388 22ND ST/CARVOLTH 118%

Transit routes with weaker recovery service Downtown Vancouver officer worker trips. The clearest example is the 555, but you can see this with routes such as the 395, 502, and 503, though they are fast approaching 2019 levels. The other routes with lower recovery are “spaghetti mess” routes like the 561/560 and 564.

People will take transit in Langley when provided with direct transit service. Continuing to invest in transit service in Langley is helping to give people travel options which people are choosing to take.

The data is from TransLink’s automatic daily people counters.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

December 12 Council Notes: Fee Changes Approved and Committee Appointments

Monday was the last public Langley City Council meeting of the year. Council will be returning to in-person meetings in January. I posted about the development matter addressed at that previous meeting yesterday.

Council also gave final reading to the following bylaws:

  • Sanitary Sewer and Storm Sewer Rates and Regulation Amendment Bylaw
  • Waterworks Regulation Amendment Bylaw
  • Solid Waste Amendment Bylaw
  • Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw

You can read more about these bylaws in a previous post. The bylaws relate to fee changes for 2023.

Council approved appointments to City internal committees and task groups as well as external groups as follows:

  • Advisory Design Panel: Councillor Paul Albrecht (Chair), Councillor Mike Solyom (Co-Chair)
  • Arts, Recreation, Culture and Heritage Committee: Councillor Rosemary Wallace (Chair), Councillor Leith White (Co-Chair)
  • Community Day Committee: Mayor Nathan Pachal (Chair), Councillor Rosemary Wallace (Co-Chair)
  • Crime Prevention Committee: Councillor Paul Albrecht (Chair), Councillor Delaney Mack (Co-Chair)
  • Economic Development Task Group: Councillor Teri James (Chair), Councillor Mike Solyom (Co-Chair)
  • Environmental Sustainability Committee: Councillor Paul Albrecht (Chair), Councillor Rosemary Wallace (Co-Chair)
  • Gateway of Hope Community Council*: Councillor Teri James (Council Representative), Councillor Delaney Mack (Alternate)
  • Healthier Community Partnerships*: Councillor Leith White (Council Representative), Councillor Delaney Mack (Alternate)
  • Joint School Board #35 / Municipal Liaison Committee: Councillor Rosemary Wallace (Chair), Councillor Leith White (Co-Chair)
  • Langley Christmas Bureau: Councillor Teri James (Chair), Councillor Mike Solyom (Co-Chair), Director of Corporate Services (Staff)
  • Langley Human Dignity Coalition*: Councillor Rosemary Wallace (Council Representative), Councillor Delaney Mack (Alternate)
  • Langley Local Immigration Partnership*: Councillor Rosemary Wallace (Council Co-Representative), Councillor Leith White (Council Co-Representative)
  • Magic of Christmas Festival Committee: Councillor Paul Albrecht (Chair), Mayor Nathan Pachal (Co-Chair)
  • Performing Arts and Cultural Centre Task Group: Councillor Rosemary Wallace (Chair), Councillor Leith White (Co-Chair)


Council also approved updating the Deputy Mayor schedule as follows:

November 5 - December 31, 2022: Councillor Mack
January 1 - February 28, 2023: Councillor White
March 1 - April 30, 2023: Councillor Wallace
May 1 - June 30, 2023: Councillor James
July 1 - August 31, 2023: Councillor Solyom
September 1 - October 31, 2023: Councillor Albrecht

The Deputy Mayor assumes the role of Mayor if the Mayor becomes unavailable for any reason.

Finally, Council received an email from a resident asking for a bylaw prohibiting rodeo events in Langley City. Council noted that Langley City doesn’t and likely will never have the facilities to host a rodeo, so a bylaw would not be required. Councillor Albrecht did ask if Council should develop a policy to prevent the City and Council from attending or supporting these events.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

December 12 Council Notes: Proposed rezoning for 6-storey, 84-unit apartment development on 200th at 53rd

Yesterday, Langley City Council gave third reading to a rezoning bylaw which would enable the construction of a 6-storey, 84-unit apartment development on the northeast corner of 200th Street and 53rd Avenue.

Proposed apartment at 5302 200 Street, 20030 53A Avenue, & 20011-20031 53 Avenue. View from 200th. Select image to enlarge.

Proposed apartment at 5302 200 Street, 20030 53A Avenue, & 20011-20031 53 Avenue. View from 53rd. Select image to enlarge.

Proposed apartment at 5302 200 Street, 20030 53A Avenue, & 20011-20031 53 Avenue. Bird’s-eye view. Select image to enlarge.

I previously posted about the public hearing for this rezoning.

Langley City’s Advisory Design Panel, which Council appoints and consists of architects, landscape architects, an accessibility representative and members of the public, made the following recommendations.

  • Update the north and west elevations to create a more cohesive façade with additional visual interest on the northwest façade
  • Enhance balcony weather protection
  • Provide more opaque balcony separation screens for additional privacy
  • Improve the accessibility of the outdoor area to the north by replacing stairs with a ramp
  • Move the accessible parking spaces closer to the elevator lobby
  • Consider the comparative benefit of the green roof to solar panels (including pre-wiring) and other heat gain mitigation measures, and review the green roof for financial, operational, and maintenance feasibility of the strata council
  • Consider providing venting/ducting to facilitate portable air conditioner installation by residents
  • Review enhancing sound attenuation concerning street noise as well as between units with living room/bedroom interfaces and overhead decks

The project’s applicant accepted the recommendations of the Advisory Design Panel.

As this was the first project with a significant green roof proposed in Langley City, the panel had a lot of concerns about ongoing maintenance. The applicant noted that they use drought-tolerant plants and included hose bibbs to allow manual watering for prolonged heat waves. The applicant pointed out that the green roof also uses replaceable planting “modules.”

The applicant will also add air conditioners to all units due to the increased summer heat caused by climate change.

City staff confirmed that the sidewalks along the property line of the proposed deployment along 200th Street would remain open, and all crosswalks at 200th Street and 53rd Avenue would remain open.

As there is a school across the street from the proposed project, Council asked for additional flaggers to direct traffic during drop-off and pick-up times at the school.

Council also discussed the importance of having three-bedroom units near schools. This project will have five three-bedroom units, 34 two-bedroom units, 36 one-bedroom + flex units, eight one-bedroom units, and one studio.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Tips for Preventing Mail Theft Over the Holidays

Langley City’s Crime Prevention Committee has prepared the following poster for the holiday season.

Select the poster image to download the PDF.

Please feel free to download and print the poster to place it in your strata’s mailroom, bulletin board, or at your place of work.

If you’d like other crime prevention posters, tips, and opportunities to volunteer sent directly to you, please email, subject line “Sign Me Up.” You’ll get an email every six to eight weeks.

Friday, December 9, 2022

December 8th TransLink Mayors’ Council Meeting: How to Build Bus Rapid Transit

I attended yesterday’s Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation meeting. The Mayors’ Council is one of the governance bodies of TransLink. The agenda was reasonably light.

Mayors' Council

The first item was an update from TransLink on “Delivering Transport 2050: 10-Year Priorities.” I’ve posted on this in the past, but the big push will be to expand bus service, RapidBus, and Bus Rapid Transit. The key difference between RapidBus and Bus Rapid Transit is that Bus Rapid Transit runs in fully dedicated bus-only lanes along its entire route.

Transport 2050: 10-Year Priorities for Transit. Select map to enlarge.

Some mayors were concerned that Bus Rapid Transit requires reallocating street travel lanes from mixed traffic to bus-only, and how politically that would be possible. Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke noted that they have already added some bus-only lanes on King George Boulevard. She didn’t seem too concerned about being able to add both north and southbound bus-only lanes along the whole corridor. I noted that when you think about streets and how to best move the most amount of people instead of vehicles (whether cars, trucks, buses, or bikes,) it changes how we think about road space. I said that in Langley City, we added bus-only lanes in our Downtown after working with the business community, TransLink, the general public and the City’s Engineering staff to ensure that there was support. I stated that if it is possible to build bus-only lanes in the South of Fraser, it would be possible in the rest of the region to support fast and convented Bus Rapid Transit service.

Other items in the update included:

  • Finding a path to stable funding to build out Transport 2050
  • Planning the phasing for expanding bus service in the region
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions within TransLink’s own operations
  • Working with the province and Metro Vancouver Regional District to reduce emissions from cars, SUVs and pickups
  • Moving forward with the business cases to build rapid transit on the North Shore, to UBC, and the SFU Gondola
  • Building out the regional cycling network
  • Moving forward with regional and interregional transit service planning (i.e. rail service to Chilliwack)
  • Figuring out the future of mobility, such as Mobility-as-a-Service

The next item on the agenda was the meeting format. The Mayors’ Council decided to meet in person for all Mayors’ Council meetings and have committee meetings via videoconference. The chair will bring this back to review in March to see if this needs to be adjusted.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Development Matters Addressed at Monday Night’s Council Meeting

Langley City Council gave final reading to rezoning bylaws and approved issuing development permits for the following projects at its Monday afternoon meeting:

A 13-unit townhouse development at 5324, 5326, 5334 and 5336 198 Street

13-unit townhouse development on the corner of 198th Street adn 53rd Avenue. Select image to enlarge.

A 30-unit townhouse development at 5364-5380 198 Street & 19824 54 Avenue

A 30-unit townhouse development between 53rd Avenue and 54th Avenue on 198th Street. Select image to enlarge.

You can read more about these projects by following the links.

Council also held a public hearing on Monday night for a proposed 6-storey, 84-unit apartment at 5302 200 Street, 20030 53A Avenue, & 20011-20031 53 Avenue. I’ll post more about this project when Council considers the third reading of the rezoning bylaw to accommodate this proposed apartment at an upcoming council meeting.

Proposed apartment on the northeast corner of 53rd Avenue and 200th Street. Select image to enlarge.

No one attended the public hearing in person, but Council did receive two emails. One person commented that they’d rather see townhouses than apartments built in the area. Another person was concerned that the properties just north of the proposed apartment project would be left in an undevelopable state, what is often called “orphan lots.” A small house on Douglas Crescent between two commercial buildings in Downtown Langley is a perfect example of an orphan lot. City staff commented that the properties the person was concerned about could accommodate another apartment building and will not be orphaned.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Proposed Langley City water, sewer, garbage, and dog licensing fee changes for 2023

It’s the start of budget season in Langley City. The part of the budget that Langley City Council addresses first is our water, sewer, and solid waste collection services. This is because the City bills high-volume water and sewer users multiple times per year.

Langley City needs to continue to invest in our water infrastructure. Many watermains are nearing the end of their useful lives. If the City doesn’t replace these watermain, they may fail, creating sinkholes and leaks. The City is proposing to increase the water rate by nine cents per cubic metre to $1.62 per cubic meter. This change is an average $29.70 increase for detached homeowners or $17.10 for strata homeowners per year.

Langley City purchases its water from the Metro Vancouver Regional District and sends its sewer to the Regional District for processing. The Regional District plans on doubling sewerage rates over the next several years to pay for upgrading sewer treatment plants. The City is proposing to increase the sewer rate by 15 cents per cubic metre to $1.56 per cubic metre. This change is an average $39.60 increase for detached homeowners or $22.80 for strata homeowners per year.

Detached homeowners receive garbage collection service from the City, while strata and commercial owners must use a private garbage collection service. The City is proposing to increase its service fee by $13 to $243 per year. This increase is due to Metro Vancouver Regional District fee increases, green waste processing fees increase, and our service provider’s fee increases, all due to inflation.

The City is also proposing to increase dog license fees by around 4~5%. These increases are due to annual inflationary increases built into our contract with the Langley Animal Protection Society, which enforces our animal control bylaw.

Finally, the City is proposing to increase various engineering and filming service fees to move them toward cost recovery. You can read more about these changes on Langley City’s website.

On Monday, Council gave first, second, and third readings to four bylaws about these fees.

Monday, December 5, 2022

TransLink Ridership is Recovering. Revenue Not Recovering as Fast.

Ridership of the transit system in Metro Vancouver continued to recover and was at 81.5% of pre-COVID levels as of October. People are using transit as part of their daily lives, whether going to school, shopping, recreation, or getting services. In fact, for all these purposes, ridership has fully recovered. With people still working hybrid or remotely, trips to the office as still 20% to 30% below pre-COVID levels. This reduction in office trips means that TransLink will have some challenges and opportunities.

2022/23 Transit Ridership Outlook. Select graph to enlarge.

The challenge is that fewer people are buying monthly passes, and more students are on discounted passes using transit. This change in fare product mix means that rider-for-rider TransLink is receiving less revenue. TransLink is also seeing fewer people use transit during peak periods.

The opportunity is that TransLink may be able to evaluate how it delivers transit service. It can continue to shift away from providing peak services oriented around getting people to Downtown Vancouver to providing a frequent all-day/night network. I know in the South of Fraser, many people work shifts. Having good transit service early in the morning and late at night is critical. TransLink is already reallocating service hours from lower-performing routes to better-performing routes.

Key Regional Transit Connections. Select map to enlarge.

One of the things that TransLink could consider is investing in key transit routes while carefully evaluating the need for some lower-frequency or commuter routes.

As a region will also have to look at how we fund transit, maybe relying less on fare revenue.

TransLink’s ridership continues to recover faster than other agencies in North America, even New York City! We have built a region where taking transit makes a lot of sense, so we must continue to invest in transit service.