Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Langley City to provide comments on Gloucester Industrial Park Expansion. City's Role for Township's Booth, Fernridge, and Rinn Neighbourhood Plans.

As I posted about last month, the Township of Langley is seeking Metro Vancouver Regional District Board approval to expand Gloucester Industrial Park by 14.59 hectares, converting regionally designated agricultural land to industrial land and expanding the Urban Growth Boundary. This change requires updating Metro 2050, our region's growth strategy.

Location of the proposed expansion of Gloucester Industrial Park. Select the map to enlarge. Source: Township of Langley

As per provincial government law, the regional growth strategy amendment process requires a minimum 45-day notification period to allow all affected local governments and members of the public to provide comments on this proposed change.

Langley City Council received a letter from the Regional District and asked staff to prepare a response to be sent back to the Regional District board. Council will review Langley City staff's response at an upcoming meeting before sending it to the Regional District.

The Township of Langley is also updating the Booth, Fernridge, and Rinn Neighbourhood Plans. Again as required by provincial law, the Township of Langley is seeking feedback from Langley City on the proposed updates to these neighbourhood plans.

Township of Langley Neighbourhood Planning Areas South of Langley City. Select the map to enlarge. Source: Township of Langley

Langley City is in the process of updating our transportation plan. As 200th Street and 208th Street serve as regional roads, Langley City must consider the growth in the Brookswood, Booth, Fernridge, and Rinn neighbourhoods. To benefit both Langley City and Township residents and businesses, our communities must work together to ensure that the 200 Street and 208 Street corridors can effectively handle the people and good movement required for our growing communities.

As we share the same watershed, we also need to work with the Township of Langley to update water, sewer and stormwater modelling and ensure we have an updated Integrated Watershed Management Plan.

In the past, the Township of Langley and Langley City signed a Memorandum of Agreement as part of the original Willoughby planning work done decades ago.

For the mutual benefit of both communities, and following our long history of working together, the City will be asking the Township to sign a Memorandum of Agreement to create a game plan to ensure our transportation and transit infrastructure can support the population growth proposed in the Booth, Fernridge, and Rinn Neighbourhood Plans, that we have an Integrated Watershed Management Plan, and that we have identified any new water and sewer service that may require access through Langley City to support the proposed updated Booth, Fernridge, and Rinn Neighbourhood Plans.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

May 29 Council Notes: Financial Amendments, Alcohol in Parks, Renewing 56 Ave and Park Ave

Last night's Langley City Council meeting started with a Committee of the Whole, which enables the general public to provide feedback to Council. Council was seeking feedback on proposed amendments to the 2022-2026 Financial Plan and the 2023-2027 Financial Plan. I posted about these changes in a previous post.

One community member attended the Committee of the Whole and asked a few questions on the 2023-2027 Financial Plan Amendment. She asked if the City was planning to use an additional loan to finance the Fraser Highway One-Way project and how the City plans to use the $15 million loan approved in the 2023 budget. Staff noted that the City would not need an additional loan to complete the $20.7 million Fraser Highway One-Way renewal project. The $15 million loan approved in this year's budget is for acquiring property to support the SkyTrian project and the Fraser Highway One-Way renewal project.

After the Committee of the Whole, Council approved the 2022-2026 and 2023-2027 Financial Plan Amendments.

Council also approved the Growing Communities Reserve Fund Establishment Bylaw, which the provincial government requires to track their $7,186,000 Growing Communities Fund grant, which we are using for the Fraser Highway One-Way renewal project.

Council approved updating the Parks and Public Facilities Regulation Bylaw to allow the responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages from Thursday to Saturday from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm and every Sunday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm from June 1st to October 31st in the north section of McBurney Plaza, designated areas in Douglas Park, and at most picnic shelters at City Park.

Council authorized the tendering of a $4,156,715.00 (excluding GST) project to McDonald & Ross Const. Ltd. The tender includes renewing the:

  • Watermain, sanitary sewer, and storm sewer along 56 Avenue from 200 Street to 203 Street
  • Traffic signal at the 56 Avenue & 201A Street intersection Watermain on Park Avenue

While 56 Avenue will be patched as part of this year's work which the City expects to start this summer, the City plans to fully repave 56 Avenue in 2024.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Community Day: A Free, Family-Friendly Event on Saturday June 10

Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 10, from 11 am to 7 pm. Community Day is back at Douglas Park with a full day of activities for all ages.

Community Day Booths
Food Trucks on Douglas Crescent

There will be:

  • Minigolf
  • An Obstacle Course
  • Sports
  • Kid’s Crafts and Games
  • Live Entertainment
  • An Arts Walk
  • The Fire Rescue Challenge
  • Booth from Community Organizations and Local Businesses with Draws, Raffles, and Prizings

The Greater Food Truck Festival will also be onsite with 25 food trucks, a beer garden, and an artisan craft market.

Headline Entertainment on the Main Stage includes:

Please visit Langley City’s website for the latest information.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

The State of Langley City Address

Last night, I delivered the State of Langley City address to the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce on behalf of Langley City Council.

The presentation focused on eight key themes.

The first theme is delivering foot traffic to retail businesses in the Willowbrook Mall area, along the Langley Bypass, and in our Downtown. SkyTrain will bring more foot traffic to Langley City. Langley City is leveraging this SkyTrain investment by building walking and cycling infrastructure that makes it safe, easy and inviting for people to visit these three parts of our community from the SkyTrain stations. Langley City's population will double in the next few decades. Our community is 10 square kilometres, putting people within an easy walk or bike ride to our retail areas. We are investing in building our safe and accessible walking and cycling network to deliver these people to local business areas, including along the Langley Bypass.

Langley City is a regional destination for people. For example, I have friends in Vancouver who travel to Toy Traders on the Langley Bypass or head to Downtown Langley for its unique blend of restaurants and local retail. Langley City is investing $20.7 million to renew our Downtown's Fraser Highway One-Way section. The plan will include widening sidewalks to support outdoor patios for restaurants and cafes. We also continue to move forward on getting a Performing Arts Centre in our Downtown. While people are already visiting Langley City during the day, we want to expand our evening offerings to support nightlife. In the future, people will head to Downtown Langley for dinner, see a show at our Performing Arts Centre, and then head to a lounge, stroll along the street, or enjoy a plaza.

When people visit Langley City, they will want to stay. Langley City has a small-town feel with big city amenities as a regional town centre and the eastern hub of Metro Vancouver. We have jobs, shops, services, and an extensive parks and trails system, all within an easy walk or bike ride. SkyTrain will further cement our role as a regional hub and attract more people and businesses to our community. KPU is investing in its Langley City campus. It has a vision to create a community within a community by building student residents and partnering with the City on our Glover Road Innovation Boulevard Plan, which will connect businesses with the KPU community.

Langley City is an incubator of business. Langley City's industrial lands are well situated, with easy access to a provincial highway and the railways. SkyTrain will also make it easier for businesses to attract and retain employees. I've heard from several businesses that public transit and safe walking access are keys to ensuring a healthy talent pool.

We know loneliness is linked with adverse health outcomes and is a problem in the Western world. The antidote for this is to create a happy city. A happy city is a community where our urban design and city services create opportunities for people to connect with their neighbours. It is about creating inviting public plazas, streetside cafes, community gardens, and dog off-leash areas. It is about urban design that allows people to connect at the human level. Langley City will continue to invest in great public spaces. We will also continue investing in our recreation and cultural programming, community centres, and partnerships with non-profits such as the Langley Senior Resources Society that help combat loneliness.

We must take transformational action to address homelessness, addiction, safety, and poverty in Langley City. This is why we are working on our Citizens' Assembly on Community Safety. We have recently hired a full-time social planner who is working to coordinate services in Langley City between our non-profit sector, Fraser Health, and the provincial government to ensure that we take an outcomes-based approach that focuses on people. This will help us identify gaps in services that prevent people from getting help and ensure that the help is creating positive outcomes for people and our community.

We know we need to build more housing, including more affordable housing in Langley City. Langley City has some of the fastest turnaround times in Metro Vancouver if someone wants to build in our community. We will ensure we invest in City staff and resources to continue housing creation. We've also updated our Official Community Plan and are working on a new zoning bylaw which will give people more housing options, including the ability to build 'plexes, garden suites, and coach homes in our traditionally single-detached housing neighbourhoods. We are also working on a below-market housing policy to enable the creation of affordable rental housing through redevelopment and an updated tenant relocation policy. This policy will ensure that people are cared for when they relocate due to redevelopment. This policy will also ensure that they can move back into our community at rents similar to what they paid once the redevelopment is completed.

The final theme is that Langley City is a complete community with everything you need within our 10 square kilometres. Langley City Council will continue to invest in enhancing our complete community.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Langley School District IDEA X Challenge: Incorporate Indigenous Language in Langley City. Take the Survey.

Last night, I was privileged to be one of five judges for the Langley School District’s IDEA X Challenge, where teams of Langley high school students competed to win $20,000 total in scholarships.

The follows pictures show the three winning teams.

This year’s challenge was to “design a future Langley that could exist in 50 years which is environmentally responsible, earth-conscious, incorporates Indigenous perspectives and honours what is important to today’s residents.”

We heard some innovative ideas, such as using pneumatic tubes to transport garbage, recycling, and organics from buildings to a centralized transfer station, building with low-carbon materials, and using algae-filled exterior walls to help cool and provide energy for buildings.

One key aspect was how the nine teams included Indigenous knowledge and perspectives in their solutions.

What stood out to me across multiple solutions was incorporating the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (hunquminum) language into the built environment of Langley City, including dual naming streets, parks, and displaying Indigenous public art.

Prototype Dual Language Street Sign for Fraser Highway.

With that in mind, I want to know how you would like to see the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language incorporated into Langley City’s physical form.

Take the Survey

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Intersections with the Most Crashes in Langley City

ICBC keeps data about the number and types of crashes for all roads in BC. This data can help inform decisions on safety improvements to roads.

I’ve posted about this data in the past, including the top intersections with crashes in Langley City and crashes involving people walking and cycling.

ICBC’s latest public data is from 2021, and they have interactive maps available, allowing you to create customized crash data maps.

I thought I’d share a Langley City map showing locations with two or more crashes at an intersection.

Intersections in Langley City with two or more crashes in 2021. Select the map to enlarge.

One thing to remember is that the more people use a road, the higher the likelihood of a crash. Also, the higher the speed, the higher the likelihood of a crash. Unsurprisingly, the Langley Bypass is where the most crashes happen in Langley City. The top two intersections with crashes are 200th Street & the Langley Bypass, and Fraser Highway & the Langley Bypass, both provincially-controlled intersections.

While the difference in crashes between 200th Street and 208th Street stands out, 200th Street has more intersections, including signalized intersections. Signalized intersections are the most dangerous type of intersection.

More surprising was the number of crashes on the 56th Avenue corridor, a City-controller road. The following map shows intersections with ten or more crashes.

Intersections in Langley City with ten or more crashes in 2021. Select the map to enlarge.

This corridor may need some attention. Langley City is updating our Transportation Plan, and road design is integral to creating safer streets. It will be interesting to learn what the future state of the 56th Avenue corridor will look like in the plan, including what measures we can implement to improve safety. For example, roundabouts are one of the safer types of intersections.

My one thought about the data is that ICBC lumps Langley City and Langley Township data together, unlike White Rock and Surrey. I hope ICBC will separate both municipalities’ data in the future.

Friday, May 19, 2023

New study: 44% of apartment and townhouse garbage should have gone into organics

The Metro Vancouver Regional District regularly studies the composition of people’s garbage. These studies help inform waste division and reduction strategies for the region.

An organic bin is about to be inspected. Source: 2022 Multi-Family Residential Waste Composition Study

As I’ve posted about in the past, people who live in apartments and townhouses recycle and compost significantly less than people who live in single detached homes.

The regional district recently released their latest garbage findings for apartments and townhouses. The following chart shows the breakdown of what people put in the garbage.

Overall Garbage Composition by Primary Category. Select the chart to enlarge.

Seen another way, about 44% of what people put in the garbage should have gone into the organics bin, and 24% should have been put into on-site recycling.

There is a significant opportunity to reduce waste sent to a landfill or incinerated in Metro Vancouver. As outlined in the latest Metro Vancouver Zero Waste Committee agenda, “exploring multifamily waste reduction and recycling solutions will be a key component of an updated solid waste management plan.”

When I was on a strata council for an apartment building, we had to have ongoing education around recycling and organics, including showing people ways of conveniently storing organics without fear of “fouling up” their apartment. It will be interesting to see how the Regional District addresses increasing waste diversion from people who live in apartments and townhouses.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Langely City investing $24.1 million in "Working on the Basics" Projects

Person replacing 203rd Street Traffic Signal

A few days ago, a Langley City resident asked me what repaving projects the City was working on.

I thought it would be good to highlight some of the "working on the basics" engineering projects Council approved the budget for and what the City is currently working on.

Total Sewer Projects: $11.3 million

Total Water Projects: $7.5 million

46 Avenue (Between 206A Street and 207A Street)
62 Avenue
200 Street
202 Street (South of 48 Avenue)
Total: $3.1 million

Traffic Signal Upgrades
56 Ave & Langley Bypass Intersection
62 Ave & 203 St Intersection
200 St & Fraser Hwy Intersection
201A St & 56 Ave Intersection
204 St & Fraser Hwy Intersection
208 St & Fraser Hwy Intersection
208 St & 45A Ave Intersection
Douglas Crescent & 203 St Intersection
Plus, Various Other Smaller Upgrades
Total: $1.6 million

201A Street and 53 Avenue
205 Street and 48 Avenue
206 Street and 46A Avenue
208 Street and 45A Avenue
Total: $614,522

Looking at all of the City's projects, excluding property purchases, these "working on the basics" projects' costs represent 43% of the projects approved or under construction in Langley City.

These projects don't include fixing potholes as their repairs are part of the operating budget, not the capital projects budget.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Why is 198th Street so bumpy, and when will it be repaved?

198th Street by Brydon Park.

If you’ve walked, rolled, cycled, or driven down 198th Street in the Brydon Park area, you’ll have noticed that it is a quilt work of paving, and calling it a quilt work is generous. This section of road was recently featured in our local newspaper. I live on 55A Avenue and am a daily user of 198th Street.

Due to all the construction in the area, developers’ crew and utilities must dig up the road to connect water, sewer, gas, and telecommunication services. This work means the road has been dug up and patched many times, leading to its current state.

The road must always be safe, even if it is bumpy. Potholes and especially rough sections will be patched. If you feel the road isn’t safe or see a pothole, please report it to Langley City’s Engineering Services Department at 604-514-2997 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm or use “Request for Service.” I’ve submitted a few requests myself to fix potholes on 198th Street.

The City will be able to fully repave 198th Street once three conditions occur:

  • BC Hydro has undergrounded their power lines
  • Redevelopment that fronts 198th Street completes (between 54A and 53)
  • The City has completed upgrading the sanitary sewer along the street (scheduled for 2024/25)

My best estimate (which does not represent the City) is that the final repaving will occur within the next few years.

The City has compiled an FAQ about 198th Street, which you can view on the City’s website.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Langley City Council Approved Replacement Fire Trucks

Last week, I posted about the May 8th Langley City Council meeting and how the City received a clean bill of financial health. Today, I’ll post about some other items that Council considered.

Council approved purchasing two new fire trucks (or apparatus) to replace two older units. For the City to maintain its insurance for firefighting, we must replace these units at a prescribed interval.

The replacement Engine 12 will cost $1,762,056.23.

Spartan Rear Mount Custom Pumpers

The replacement Rescue 1 will cost $737,525.61.

E-ONE VM8 Mini Pumper.

Langley City is part of the Canoe Procurement Group of Canada, along with other governments, which helps us get lower pricing due to the bulk buying power of its 5,000 members. We used Canoe for the fire truck procurement.

Council also gave final reading to the Sanitary Sewer and Storm Sewer Regulation Bylaw, which you can read about in a previous post.

Council gave final reading to a rezoning bylaw and issued a development permit for a 5-storey, 86-unit apartment development at 20120-20170 53A Avenue. You can read more in a previous post.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Langley City Pays Fair Share for Policing Services - Township Looks to Dismantle Langley RCMP

As you may have heard, Township of Langley Council has voted to start the process of deintegrating the Langley RCMP detachment. You might have also heard claims that Langley City is not investing in public safety.

Plaque on Langley RCMP detachment building

I wanted to share Langley City’s official statement on policing in Langley.

As a note, Langley City paid for one RCMP member for every 580 residents, and the Township of Langley paid for one RCMP member for 1,170 residents in 2022.

The Township of Langley recently voted to disintegrate the Joint Langley RCMP Detachment, a shared police force that has successfully served both communities.

Disintegration is a complex, multi-year process and the province makes the final decision on disintegration based on having a workable plan that takes into account the feedback from both communities.

“Disintegrating and transitioning police forces is a lengthy and costly process for communities – Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge are in year six of the disintegration process. People in Surrey have been very frustrated by years of uncertainty over the debate of policing,” said Mayor Nathan Pachal. “The City was not consulted nor provided with any detailed financial analysis that supports the claim that the City is not paying for our fair share. With approximately 1,500 RCMP vacancies throughout the province, this decision by the Township of Langley will make policing in the Langleys more complex while dismissing the benefit of a shared Langley RCMP force.”

Sharing of RCMP member strength between the City and Township of Langley has been well established since entering into an agreement in 2007 and renewed every 5 years since. The agreement is determined by a funding formula where the number of RCMP members assigned to each municipality is based on 75% criminal code cases and 25% population statistics. Mayor Pachal noted that “the Township of Langley has never approached the City to initiate discussion on changing the funding agreement.”

The City has 1 police officer for every 558 people, well below the 1 to 700 benchmark ratio (28,975 population / 51.90 members), providing a higher level of protection for the community. In 2018, the City paid for 51.54 officers and the contract strength was 51.35 whereas the Township of Langley paid for 127.48 officers and the contact strength was 139.65. In 2022, the City paid for 51.90 members and the contract strength was 51.35 whereas the Township of Langley paid for 121.44 members and the contract strength was 158.65. Therefore, the City paid for a consistent number of officers and the Township of Langley paid for less over that period.

The City recognizes that there will be financial and operational implications to both communities by severing the joint Langley RCMP. However, Langley City will have policing services that meet our needs as we work through this multi-year disintegration. The safety of Langley City residents and businesses will not be compromised at any time.


The existing contract and funding formulas include provisions/benchmarks as to how many RCMP members the Langley detachment should have, and when additional RCMP members should be requested from the RCMP. If either party believes these resources are inadequate, the contract can be reviewed and amended when considered for renewal. The Township has not asked the City to review the existing funding agreement.

The current sharing formula applies to the first 179 active members in the detachment, regardless of which municipality added members to their individual contract strength or experienced vacancies. Under the funding formula, new members would be added if there are more the 90 criminal cases per member or more than 700 people per member. If either municipality chooses to add members beyond the 179 members, that municipality pays 100% of the added cost. Over the years, the detachment has had large vacancy rates, even though RCMP members have been requested.

Currently, the detachment has a combined contract strength of 210 RCMP members. While the Township of Langley has added over 30 officers to their contract strength since 2009, these positions remain vacant due to the inability to secure new recruits, sick leave, transfers, and maternity/paternity leaves.

During 2022, the Langley Detachment operated on an average of 173 RCMP members policing both Langleys and paid for by the municipalities to the Federal government. The other 37 positions were vacant, so those positions were not paid for by either municipality.

Based on 2021 statistics, when applying the funding formula, the City should pay for 51.90 RCMP members. In 2022, the City paid the Federal Government for 42 members and then paid the Township of Langley the difference between the 42 members and the 51.90 members, resulting in a lump sum payment of $1.5 million to the Township. Effectively, no vacancies were allocated to the City which would result in a financial policing surplus for the Township of Langley. The City paid for 51.90 members of the 173 members actually working at the detachment.

Based on the 2021 combined population of 167,032 people and criminal code cases of 14,096 cases, the detachment should operate based on the formula with 177 RCMP officers (167,032/700*25% + 14,096/90*75%).

The City has 1 police officer for every 558 people, well below the 1 to 700 benchmark ratio (28,975 population / 51.90 members), providing a higher level of protection for the community. For this reason, there was no need to add additional RCMP officers under the current agreement with the Township of Langley.

A chart comparing how many actual RCMP members Langley City and the Township of Langley paid for between 2018 and 2022. Select the chart to enlarge.

You can also see this statement on Langley City’s website.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Langley City Capital Projects Plan Update: Accelerating Fraser Highway One-Way Renewal

The provincial government allocated 1 billion dollars as part of their one-time Growing Communities Fund to local governments throughout BC. Langley City received $7.2 million as part of that program.

One of the grant requirements is for the local government to set up a special account, so the provincial government can audit how each local government invested this grant funding. As a result, Langley City Council gave first, second, and third reading to the Growing Communities Reserve Fund Establishment Bylaw.

As a result of this grant, and due to some other changes, Council gave first, second, and third reading to amend our 2023-2027 Capital Improvement Plan.

Langley City’s largest shovel-ready project is renewing the Fraser Highway One-Way area. This part of our community is among the oldest, and its underground infrastructure is in critical need of repair. Langley City will use the provincial grant to accelerate this project. The City has been saving for this project, which would have required additional funding in our 2024 budget. The provincial grant allows us to fully fund this $20.7 million project in 2023. The goal is to have this project tendered for construction by the end of this year. As a note, Langley City will still meaningfully consult with impacted businesses before the project begins construction in 2024.

The remainder of the changes to the capital projects plan are as follows.

Douglas Recreation Centre Renovation for Child Care Centre: Appling for a $2.3 million grant from the province due to cost increases, bringing the project costs to $5 million.

56 Ave Project (200 St to 203 St): Additional $1.4 million for renewing water, sewer, storm sewer and traffic signal and repaving to be funded from casino revenue.

Park Avenue, West of 204 St: Additional $58,240 from casino revenue to complete repaving.

200 St Watermain Replacement (44 Ave and 50 Ave): Additional $1.6m to complete and delay the project to 2024.

46 Ave (206A St to 207 St) Storm Sewer Renewal: Additional $167,000 from casino revenue to complete the project.

Fraser Highway Project (Production Way to 203 Street): Scheduled for 2024. This $3.2 million project will be funded from reserve accounts.

Fraser Highway Sewer Renewal (56 Ave to 204 St): Scheduled for 2024 to occur at the same time as the Fraser Highway Project (Production Way to 203 Street.) This $550,000 will be funded by casino revenue.

Public Safety Precinct: Develop a Public Safety Precinct. $150,000 funded by reserve accounts.

Performing Arts and Cultural Planning: $192,540 to prepare a conceptual design. Funded by casino revenue.

Michaud Crescent Watermain Replacements: $200,000 funded by reserve accounts and casino revenue.

Timms Community Centre Door Air Curtain: $10,000 funded by Community Amenity Funds.

Parks Equipment Replacement: $175,000 to replace work vehicles funded by reserve accounts.

Fire Truck Replacement (Engine 12): Reallocated funding from other fire truck replacement projects.

Miscellaneous Office Equipment at City Hall: $15,000 funded by casino revenue.

200 St. Culvert Upgrade at Brydon Crescent: Additional $764,420 TransLink grant with $35,580 funded from reserve accounts.

Douglas Crescent & 203 St Intersection Safety Improvement: Additional $56,360 from a TransLink grant and $21,120 from casino revenue.

Langley Bypass Roadway and Cycling Improvements: TransLink grant of $1.1 million received. The project is scheduled for 2026.

Emergency Operations Centre Upgrade: Additional $10,000 funded by reserve accounts.

Emergency Preparedness Program: The Province, through UBCM, has provided a $29,864.94 grant.

City Hall Power Generator & Fencing: An additional $35,000 funded by casino revenue.

This proposed Capital Improvement Plan amendment does not impact this year’s property tax rate.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Langley City’s 2022 Financials Received a Clean Bill of Health

As provincial law requires, all BC municipalities must have an independent auditor review their financial statements for inclusion in a municipality’s annual report. At last night’s meeting, Langley City Council heard a presentation from Kristine Simpson, our independent auditor. She gave the City’s finances a clean bill of health. This bill of health means that the City’s 2022 financial statements are accurate, internal security controls are adequate, and financials had no signs of mismanagement.

As such, Council approved our 2022 Consolidated Financial Statements. In 2022, Langely City received $66.6m in revenue and had $54m in expenses. The City had a resulting surplus of $11.7m in 2022. Now this money isn’t all cash in the bank. $10.4m of this surplus includes tangible capital assets the City acquired in 2022, resulting from projects such as repaving streets, upgrading parks, putting in bike lanes, and renewing water and sewer infrastructure.

The actual “cash” surplus is rolled into our capital work account to help accelerate projects to help chip away at our infrastructure debt.

At the end of 2022, Langley City had $51.5m in reserve accounts. The City has earmarked this money for projects in our capital plans. The City also had $33m in developer cost charges acounts. This money is collected as part of the redevelopment process and is restricted to specific projects by provincial law. The City also earmarks this developer cost charges funding for projects in our capital plans. All that being said, while the City had $84.5m in the bank, the City isn’t putting it in the Scrooge McDuck Money Bin. The City has assigned this money for specific projects.

As per BC law, Langley City Council must amend our 2022 – 2026 Financial Plan to reflect the 2022 year-end consolidated financial statements. Langley City Council gave first, second and third reading to amend the financial plan.

The amendment also included updating our 2022 Capital Plan to reflect grants we received from ICBC as follows:

  • Traffic Signal Upgrade at 48 Ave and 200 St - $43,000
  • Traffic Calming 53 Ave near Brydon Lagoon - $8,000
  • Various Traffic Calming - $2,000

Tomorrow, I will post about our 2023 Financial Plan, including how we will allocate the $7.2 million we received from the provincial government.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Proposal to Convert Rural Land to Industrial Land on Fraser Highway in Langley Township

If you go along Fraser Highway between Langley City and Aldergrove, you’ll see a variety of uses, including churches, restaurants, shops, housing and industrial properties though in a rural context.

These uses predate successive regional growth strategies whose goal is to build a compact region to prevent sprawl.

In the Township of Langley, many properties along Fraser Highway and Salmon River Uplands area are not in the agricultural land reserve but are designated rural under our regional growth strategy.

Site of proposed regional land use change from rural to industrial. Select the map to enlarge.

Rural lands are “intended to protect the existing character of rural communities, landscapes, and environmental qualities. Rural areas are not intended as future urban development areas.”

Rural land not adjacent to the urban growth boundary can be converted to industrial land with a 2/3rd weighted vote of the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board. This vote is now pending.

In October 2019, the Township approved a temporary use permit for 4.12 hectares of land at 23699 and 23737 Fraser Highway to store equipment and building materials on rural land. Previously to this temporary use, they were empty lots save for one detached house.

In the summer of 2022, Township Council gave third reading to a rezoning bylaw for the properties that would allow industrial and commercial uses. Adopting the rezoning would be subject to approval by the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board, among other requirements. The Metro Vancouver Regional District Board is now considering changing the regional land use from rural to industrial.

The Township’s own Rural Plan discourages the conversion of rural land to industrial uses. However, there is a desire to convert the area between 232 and 204th Street to industrial uses along Fraser Highway.

According to Metro Vancouver staff, this proposed redesignation of regionally zone rural land to industrial land will “incentivize adjacent Rural designated properties also to seek re-designation.”

For our region, the question is whether we want to allow more industrial land along Fraser Highway. If so, the region should extend the urban growth boundary like the region recently did in Gloucester. That way, we can be transparent about expanding urban lands and plan for the regional investment required to service these areas.

If we want to preserve our rural areas and continue to build a compact region, the Regional District Board must be careful not to piecemeal approve the conversation of rural lands to industrial lands.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

It's Time to Reinvest in HandyDART Service to Support our Aging Population

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1724, whose members provide paratransit service for the Metro Vancouver region, released a report called "Access for Everyone? Publicly Operated HandyDART In Metro Vancouver."

Paratransit provides door-to-door service for people with disabilities who cannot take conventional transit services, such as regularly scheduled buses and the SkyTrain.

A HandyDART vehicle. Source: Richard Eriksson

The operators of the HandyDART buses are specially trained to help people with disabilities. The buses are also specially equipped.

HandyDART is a lifeline for many people. My dad, who has passed away, but when he lived in Kelowna, used paratransit service to get to his doctor's appointments, for example.

Our population is aging, so there will be increasingly more demand for paratransit service, but this service has not kept up with demand.

Eric Doherty, the report's author, made several recommendations to improve HandyDART service in Metro Vancouver. Some of those recommendations include:

  • Stop contracting out HandyDART service, bringing the service in-house to improve staff retention as experienced operators provide better and more sensitive service for people with disabilities and to reduce HandyDART service performance issues
  • Investing in more HandyDART service to reduce the use of replacement taxi service, which "results in sub-standard safety and service" for people with disabilities
  • Increasing HandyDART trips to be more in line with other Canadian regions, as Metro Vancouver has "about half of the accessible transit trips per capita" of other Canadian regions
  • Electrifying the HandyDART fleet
  • Allowing HandyDART vehicles to use and activate transit-priority measures such as bus lanes

Beyond improvements to HandyDART service, the report also calls on making improvements to our conventional transportation systems to allow more people to access the system, including:

  • Reducing overcrowding on the conventional transit system
  • Installing accessible public washrooms at major transit transfer points
  • Creating high-quality bike, walking and roll routes that are protected from motor vehicles
  • Improving bus stops, including making access to bus stops barrier-free
  • Locating affordable housing for seniors and people with disabilities close to high-quality transit and in walkable, bikeable, and rollable areas

For more information, please read the full report.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Langley City Council Approves Environmental Sustainability Committee Work Plan

Langley City has several committees and task groups that are volunteer-led. These committees develop their work plans within the scope of their committee or task group’s mandate. They also provide advice to City Council.

Every committee must have their work plan approved by Council annually. On Monday, Council approved the 2023 work plan for the Environmental Sustainability Committee, which includes:

  • Hosting the annual Earth Day event (already complete)
  • Providing input and reviewing the City’s proposed tree preservation and urban forest management plan
  • Hosting a Nicomekl River clean-up event
  • Investigating creating an environmental recognition program for the business community
  • Raising the “Point of Pride” program’s profile, including reviving “Street of the Year”
  • Investigating the feasibility of creating a “self-serve bicycle repair kiosk” at City Hall
  • Hosting a Repair-It Cafe event
  • Creating educational sustainability posters
  • Hosting a recycling event
  • Implementing edible planters (where fruit or vegetables are grown in the planter)

This committee has an ambitious work plan. With more people helping, more of the work plan can be completed this year. If you would like to participate on the committee, please email

For more information about Langley City’s committees and task groups, please visit the City’s website.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

May 1 Council Notes: Keeping Infrastructure in a State of Good Repair. Carwash Water, Residential Properties, and Watercourse Health.

At the April 17th Langley City Council meeting, Council approved an update to modernize our sewer and storm sewer regulations, including implementing best practices in storm sewer management. One of the changes strengthed the wording around disallowing car wash water to flow into a storm sewer, onto a street, a neighbouring property, or directly into a watercourse as even biodegradable soaps negatively impact the water quality of salmon-bearing streams, creeks, and rivers.

A manhole

This proposed requirement would have applied to all properties in the City.

Based on some public feedback and the fact that the City doesn't have the resource to police people's car washing, staff put forward an amendment to the updated sewer and storm sewer regulations which still bans car wash water from going into the storm sewer for non-residential property, but updates the requirements for residential properties.

For residential properties, you can wash your car with the recommendation that the rinse water "should preferably be directed away from storm sewer drains to a landscaped, grass or gravel area." Still, detergents and cleaners (including biodegradable or phosphate-free ones) shouldn't enter storm sewer drains.

For residential properties, there will be no fine even if detergents and cleaners end up flowing into the storm sewer drain. The residential regulations around car washing, detergents and cleaners are advisory. Of course, you would still negatively impact the health of the watercourse ecosystem in our community and negatively impact salmon and other wildlife.

Council gave third reading to update the sewer and storm sewer regulations and associated bylaws last night with the noted amendments. For more information, please read a previous blog post.

Council also gave first, second, and third reading to update the Parks and Public Facilities Regulation Bylaw to allow the consumption of liquor in selected parks and public facilities. You can read more about this in a previous post.

Council gave final reading to the 2023 Tax Rate Bylaw and Floodplain Elevation Bylaw Amendment. You can read more about these in a previous post.

Council approved awarding a tender to Mar-Tech Underground Services Ltd. for $650,564.80 (excluding GST.) This tender is one of half of the City's $1.4 million works program to fix issues with 270 pipe sections of our sanitary sewer system this year. This work is part of our overall program to keep our basic infrastructure in a state of good repair.

Monday, May 1, 2023

TransLink 5th Busiest Transit System in Canada/US. Overcrowding a Growing Concern.

TransLink recently released its annual Transit Service Performance Review. This review highlights various metrics from a high level to a route level for Metro Vancouver's transit system.

A TransLink Bus

At a high level, transit ridership continued its rapid approach 2019 levels, with the South of Fraser, Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge leading the way with ridership essentially back to 2019 level.

While Vancouver had a slower ridership recovery, it was still the area with the largest share of ridership in the region.

Share of ridership by sub-region, Fall 2022. Select the graph to enlarge.

Now it is great that people are taking transit and that Metro Vancouver is the 5th busiest transit system in Canada and the US, but our transit system is starting to get overcrowded again.

As a weekday commuter in 2019, I remember that during the busiest parts of the afternoon, I sometimes could only get on the SkyTrain at Main Street if I jammed myself onto the train. I also sometimes had to skip a bus at Surrey Central and wait for the next bus because it was full.

Average weekday overcrowding on the bus network comparing 2022 to 2019. Select the graph to enlarge.

Back in 2019, we were trying to resolve overcrowding issues on the transit network, which we again need to work on. As shown in the preceding graph, overcrowding grew steadily in 2022.

Over the last two years, TransLink has reallocated service from less busy routes to busier routes to address overcrowding while maintaining a good ridership experience. For example, a route running every 7 minutes might have changed to run every 9 minutes to help reallocate service hours to an overcrowded route. TransLink is at the point now where reallocation could start negatively impacting ridership experience.

Since 2020, the provincial and federal governments have provided direct operating grants to keep our transit system running. This March, the provincial government committed another $479 million to maintain current transit service levels.

One of the challenges for the Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation, which I'm a member, is to eliminate reliance on this direct operating grant from the provincial government by finding shorter-term replacement funding sources. We must also work on a "new deal" for transportation funding for our region to ensure that we can continue to grow transit service to reduce overcrowding, increase areas with access to fast, frequent transit service, and invest in state-of-good-repair projects.