Wednesday, January 18, 2023

January 16 Council Notes: Investing in Firefighters, Mutual Aid in Emergencies, Records Management

Yesterday, I posted about delegations from members of the public who presented at Langley City’s Monday night Council meeting. Today, I will post about the other matters addressed at that meeting.

Langley City Council gave first, second and third reading to a new Records Management Bylaw. This bylaw replaces an out-of-date bylaw from 1982. The bylaw establishes how the City will retain records, who has access to those records, and how long the City will keep records. Records include everything from emails to building plans. The bylaw also establishes that the City’s corporate officer is responsible for maintaining procedures and policies around records management.

In Metro Vancouver, municipalities try to work together whenever possible in the region’s best interest. If an emergency impacts more than one member of the Metro Vancouver Regional District, members will pool resources and work together. The types of emergencies could include a natural disaster, flooding event, cyber-attack, terrorism, and other significant incidents.

Metro Vancouver Regional District members are signing a new mutual aid agreement that updates the previous agreement signed more than 20 years ago. The new agreement includes sections around who to call first, how to bill for resources provided, and insurance.

On Monday, Council authorized Langley City to be a party to the new regional mutual aid agreement.

Council approved Assistant Fire Chief Chris Miley to attend the Fire Department Instructors Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, from April 24th to April 29th, 2023.

Finally, Councillor Solyom proposed the following motion, which was approved unanimously by Council.

THAT Staff include at least two full-time suppression firefighters in the 2023 budget, at least three full-time suppression firefighters in the 2024 budget, at least two full-time suppression firefighters in the 2025 budget and at least two full-time suppression firefighters in the 2026 budget for Council to consider.

Councillor Solyom noted that Langley City has one of the busiest fire halls in Metro Vancouver, responding to over 3,800 calls for service in 2022, compared to similar-sized communities such as White Rock and Port Moody, which have around half the calls with a larger complement of firefighters. With population growth and the arrival of SkyTrain in a few years, Councillor Solyom stated that he wanted to make sure our fire service would be able to meet the needs of our growing community. He provided more background information to support his motion.

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