Thursday, June 29, 2023

Langley City’s Request for Service: Easier Than a Microwave & More Satisfying Than Boxed Mac ’n Cheese.

It's easier to use than a microwave and more satisfying than boxed mac 'n cheese; you'll want to use Langley City's Request for Service!

You can zap potholes to oblivion, eradicate garbage, and neutralize uneven sidewalks with the click of a button.

Get clicking today at

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Langley City Provides Response to Metro Vancouver on Gloucester Industrial Estates Urban Growth Boundary Expansion

As I posted about back in April, the Township of Langley applied to the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board to expand the Urban Containment Boundry to expand their Gloucester Industrial Estates area.

The following map shows the area where they are proposing to expand the Urban Containment Boundry.

Map of Gloucester Industrial Estates. Source: Gloucester Industrial Market Report 2022, Frontline Real Estate Services

The Urban Containment Boundry is a crucial policy tool of our region, along with the provincial Agricultural Land Reserve. They help to protect rural lands from sprawl.

Because of the importance of the Urban Containment Boundry, it requires regional approval if there is a request to expand it. The regional district contacts member municipalities, TransLink, and adjacent regional districts such as the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and Fraser Valley Regional District to receive feedback on proposed changes to the Urban Containment Boundry.

As such, Langley City Council received a request for comment and asked City staff to provide a response to the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board for their consideration.

I encourage you to read the full letter, but I wanted to share an excerpt.

While the City of Langley generally supports initiatives to address the urgent need for industrial land within the region, it is important to note that a foundational goal of Metro 2050 is creating a compact urban area, and that future urban growth, including much-needed industrial development, should continue to be directed to areas that are already within the Metro 2050 Urban Containment Boundary.
If future urban growth continues to occur outside of the current Urban Containment Boundary, it will likely require sewer and water service extensions, as well as transit service expansion, in areas that do not currently have these services. This will likely result in additional long-term costs for providing and maintaining regional and municipal sewer and water services, and will redirect valuable and finite transit service funding away from areas located along the Major Transit Network and other transit-service priority areas within the Urban Containment Boundary.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

June 26 Council Notes: 2024 RCMP Budget Process, State of Good Repair Projects, Call to Support More Rental Unit Construction

In all municipalities that contract their police service with the RCMP, they must provide an "approval in principle" letter to RCMP headquarters. This "approval in principle" highlights the maximum amount a municipality is considering for its upcoming police budget.

The federal government pays 10% of the policing costs for municipalities that contract the RCMP, so they use this letter to inform their federal budgeting process, which runs at a different schedule and pace than the municipal budget process.

This "approval in principle" is the maximum budget and number of police officers. Municipalities can and do go lower than their "approval in principle" numbers.

Last night, Langley City Council approved sending a letter to RCMP headquarters noting the maximum police budget for 2024 is proposed to be $15,329,932 with 57.35 officers (an increase of six officers compared to this year.)

Council also approved issuing a tender to Sandpiper Contracting LLP for $464,000.00 (excluding GST) plus a contingency of $46,000.00 for various sewer and storm sewer repair projects in our community, as noted on the following map.

Map of sewer and storm sewer repair locations. Select the map to enlarge.

Councillor White presented a motion to submit a resolution for debate at the fall Union of BC Municipalities Conference. This conference, which occurs every fall, allows all local government elected representatives to debate matters they'd like to see the provincial and federal governments take action on. Matters that are approved at the conference are submitted to the province and federal governments.

This motion, unanimously approved by Council, called for the federal government to update its "Rental Construction Financing Initiative (RCFI) program to further incentivize private enterprise and non-profits to build critically needed affordable rentals."

Monday, June 26, 2023

Langley RCMP Deintegration Update: Detachment Building and Being a Good Neighbour

Joint RCMP Langley Detachment Plaque

Langley City and Township jointly share an RCMP detachment. The City and Township jointly built, maintain and fund the RCMP detachment building and its operations in Murrayville. We have a contract which spells out our joint obligations for the upkeep of the building, equipment, and municipal staff.

The City and Township have another contract covering the RCMP detachment members.

As you may head seen, heard, or read, the Township of Langley has sent Langley City a letter indicating they no longer want a joint RCMP detachment and want to set up their own one. We call this process deintegration.

Langley Township believes they will get better police service with their own detachment building and own RCMP detachment members.

As such, Township staff, as directed by their Council, sent a letter giving Langley City notice that they'd like to buy us out of the joint RCMP detachment building and operating contract. This contract is one of two that govern overall joint policing in Langley.

As we want to understand the Township's concerns and be a good neighbour, we sent a letter back to them which included the following two points.

  • The City of Langley does not agree that its usage of RCMP services is disproportionate to that envisaged under the cost sharing agreement. We are, however, quite willing to discuss your concerns and engage in negotiations to remedy any matters of concern.
  • Should the Township of Langley not be prepared to discuss your concerns, our intent is to invoke the Arbitration provision in Article 8.00 of the agreement. We hope this will not be necessary and that, in good faith, both municipalities can work together to avoid the increased cost to our citizens should the current agreement end.

This process of deintegration is a long, complex process which requires provincial government approval. Throughout the process, policing service will not be compromised in the City or the Townships.

Regardless of the deintegration process, Langley City Council will continue to move forward to make a safer, healthier community.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

June 19 Council Notes: 12-Storey and 8-Storey Apartment Projects, Ensuring a Mix of Retail Options in the Downtown, Industrial Land-Use Changes.

Langley City Council addressed several development-related items at its June 19th public meeting.

Council gave first and second reading to a rezoning bylaw and land-use contract discharge for 5360 204 Street, currently known as the Pyramid Apartments. If approved by Council, it would enable the construction of a 12-storey, 370-unit apartment building.

A rendering of the proposed project at 5360 204 Street. Select the image to enlarge.

There are some unique attributes of this proposed project. The first is that the Pyramid Apartments is a purpose-built market rental building. This attribute triggers a Langley City Official Community Plan policy that requires the redevelopment project to have at least the same amount of purpose-built rental units (secured for the life of the new building.) There are currently 44 one-bedroom rental units that are, on average, 590 sq. ft. The proposed project will have:

  • 7 - 417 sq. ft. (on average) studio rental units
  • 25 - 560 sq. ft. (on average) one-bedroom rental units
  • 21 - 791 sq. ft. (on average) two-bedroom units

Langley City's Housing Needs Report calls out the need for one- and two-bedroom rental units in our community.

The other important attribute of this project is that, if approved, it would require demolishing the current purpose-built rental building, making it subject to Council's Tenant Relocation Plans policy.

The next project to receive first and second reading by Council was for an 8-storey, 78-unit apartment at 5404, 5406, 5408 and 5414 207 Street.

A rendering of the proposed project at 5404, 5406, 5408 and 5414 207 Street. Select the image to enlarge.

Langley City staff will now schedule a public hearing for both of these proposed rezonings. I will post more about these proposed projects after the public hearing.

Council also gave first and second reading to update our zoning bylaw to allow taller industrial buildings (from 15 metres to 30 metres), up to 10% of an industrial site to have office uses, and to reduce the parking requirements for industrial buildings to 1 space per 100 m2 in the I1 zone.

One of the ways to maintain a walkable, attractive, and vibrant downtown is to ensure a wide assortment of business types. As such, and at the request of the Downtown Langley Business Association, Council gave first and second reading to update our zoning bylaw to require a 400-metre separation distance between businesses that provide the following services: hair cuts, hair styling, hair chemical treatment, pedicures, manicures, facials, lashes, microdermabrasion, microblading, permanent make-up, waxing, laser, hydro, anti-aging, skin rejuvenation theray, shiatsu, acupressure, reflexology, bio-kinesiology, hellework, polarity, reiki, rolfing, trager and other touch therapies and techniques.

Current businesses would be grandfathered in.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

June 19 Council Notes: Accessibility Committee, New Murals, and Council Remuneration

Monday night's Langley City Council meeting started with a presentation from Small Housing BC. In the context of the province's new housing plan, which includes allowing up to four housing units on all lots, they suggest that local governments allow these units to be stratified to incentivize property owners to redevelop their lots.

Later in the meeting, Council approved two new murals for the exterior walls of the washroom building at Rotary Centennial Park.

Rotary Centennial Park Washroom East Wall Mural. Select the image to enlarge.

Rotary Centennial Park Washroom West Wall Mural. Select the image to enlarge.

As provincial law requires, local governments, such as Langley City, must now have accessibility committees, develop an accessibility plan, and provide a formal feedback process around accessibility. Langley City Council approved the terms of reference for our new accessibility committee. The committee's focus areas will be identifying and proposing solutions to remove accessibility and inclusion barriers that community members and City staff can experience around employment, service delivery, the built environment, information, communication, transportation, and procurement.

The committee will also advise on creating Langley City's Accessibility Plan and feedback process.

Council acknowledged the provincial government's traffic fine revenue-sharing program. Langley City received $453,396 in 2022, which helped fund the salary of three RCMP officers.

On the topic of public safety, Council also approved our Fire Chief Scott Kennedy to attend the 2023 Canadian Fire Chiefs Association Fire-Rescue Canada Conference.

As provincial law requires, Council approved and released the 2022 Council Remuneration & Statement of Financial Information. The following table show Council remuneration in 2022.

2022 Council Remuneration and Expenses. Select the table to enlarge.

Council gave first, second, and third reading for minor updates to our Municipal Ticket Information System Bylaw, changing the wording of Achool in Parks to Alcohol/Controlled Substance in Park/Public Facility and renumbering some sections.

Council also gave final reading to updates to our Business License and Regulation Bylaw, Fees and Charges Amendment Bylaw, and Council Procedure Bylaw, which I posted about previously.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Langley City's Urban Forest Receives "Poor" Rating. New Plan to Improve Rating.

Trees in a Langley City neighourhood

I'm excited about Langley City's recently launched Urban Forest Management Strategy. Trees provide various services to our communities, such as reducing air pollution, providing shading, lowering temperatures during the summer, providing habit for wildlife, and creating attractive urban areas.

Langley City's Urban Forest Management Strategy will set short- to long-term goals to grow and manage the forest within our ten square kilometres, including on private and public property.

The strategy will have the following outcomes:

  • Understanding the current condition of the urban forest.
  • Addressing current challenges facing the urban forest.
  • Development of a vision for the future.
  • Establishment of objectives and targets.
  • Development of guidelines for the implementation of the strategy.

As a first step, Langley City Council received a report card on the current condition of our urban forest. Langley City has a poor rating on a scale of poor, fair, good, to optimal.

The table following shows the report card criteria.

Criteria Rating
General awareness in the community and across City departments of the value of the urban forest Fair
Cooperation between departments and agencies on Urban Forest management implementation Good
Clear and defensible goal for urban forest canopy cover In Progress
Tree canopy cover relative to established canopy targets Insufficient data
Municipality-wide urban forest management plan In Progress
Municipal green infrastructure asset management Fair
Municipal-wide biodiversity or greenspace network strategy Good
Municipal urban forest management program capacity Fair
Funding levels for relative to expected urban forest management outcomes Fair
City tree planting program and planting targets Fair
Development requirements to plant trees on private land Poor
Streetscape specifications and standards for planting trees Good
Equity in planting program delivery Poor
Forest restoration and native vegetation planting Fair
Stock selection and procurement in cooperation with nurseries Fair
Ecosystem services targeted in tree planting projects and landscaping Fair
Tree inventory Poor
Knowledge of trees on private property In Progress
Natural areas inventory Good
Age diversity in the inventory (size class distribution) Insufficient data
Species diversity (public tree inventory) Insufficient data
Species suitability for local area Insufficient data
Publicly owned tree condition Poor
Maintenance of intensively managed trees Fair
Extreme weather response planning Poor
Tree risk management Poor
Pest and disease management Fair
Waste biomass utilization Fair
Tracking of operational carbon footprints and urban forest carbon-cycle balance Fair
Regulating the protection and replacement of private and public trees Fair
Regulating the conservation of sensitive ecosystems, soils or permeability on private property Good
Internal protocols guiding tree protection or sensitive ecosystem protection Fair
Standards of tree protection and tree care observed during development Fair
Cooperation with utilities on protection of public trees Fair
Citizen involvement and neighbourhood action Fair
Involvement of large private and institutional landholders Fair
Urban forest research Fair
Regional collaboration Fair

We have some work to do, and the Urban Forest Management Strategy will guide that work. The City has a survey about urban forest management you can take and an upcoming open house. Please visit Langley City's website for more information about the survey and open house. City staff expect to complete the Urban Forest Management Strategy in early 2024.

Monday, June 19, 2023

The federal government must invest in Metro Vancouver's water and sewer infrastructure. Growth cannot always pay for growth.

Cleveland Dam

In all municipalities in BC, local governments apply development cost charges (DCCs) for new development and redevelopment projects. These charges help "growth pay for growth." Put another way, every new development project puts demands on our water, sewer, storm sewer, streets, schools, transit, and parks. DCCs help pay for expansion projects due to population growth.

In Langley City, the municipality has its DCCs rates. There are also DCCs applied by the Metro Vancouver Regional District, School District 35 (called a School Site Acquisition Charge), and TransLink.

The following table shows the breakdown of charges in Langley City.

Table of Development Cost Charges in Langley City. Select the table to enlarge. Source: Langley City's website.

The Metro Vancouver Regional District Board is exploring significant increases in regional water and sewer DCCs as significant water and sewer projects are in the works, required due to population growth. We will also need new regional parkland for our growing population.

One of the challenges is that municipalities and TransLink need to increase their DCCs too.

While DCCs help capture some of the "profit" for the public good, setting the rate too high results in higher housing costs.

Not to get into the weeds, but municipalities can also negotiate further "profit" capture from development via Community Amenity Charges and Desntiy Bonsuing. Again, municipalities must be mindful that these negotiated benefits don't contribute to making housing unaffordable.

In BC, the province is asking local governments to approve building more housing as fast as possible, as we are in a housing crisis. We continue to accept newcomers to support our economy and build a more resilient country.

As I noted earlier, we will need new regional water and sewer infrastructure to accommodate this growth. DCCs cannot be the primary way to fund expanding critical regional water and sewer infrastructure. In Metro Vancouver, tens of billions of dollars of water and sewer infrastructure are required to accommodate population growth. If DCCs primarily funded this infrastructure, we would have sky-high DCCs, increasing the cost of housing.

As the federal government plays a vital role in population growth, it should also play a vital role in funding critical infrastructure required for our growing population.

If the federal government stepped up its water and sewer infrastructure funding, the regional district wouldn't need to increase DCCs as high, which could help stabilize the cost of housing.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

If you suffer from somebody-otta-fix-it-i-tis, may be for you.

Have you ever thought someone should clean that up?

Do you think somebody should report that person parking by a fire hydrant?

Do you wonder why a section of trail never seems to get the TLC it deserves?

Do you always comment that a section of road or sidewalk is in rough shape?

Do you wish Langley City would fix that flickering streetlight keeping you up at night?

You may be suffering from somebody-otta-fix-it-i-tis. Request for Service may be for you.

Visit to see if Request for Service is right for you.

Side effects may include fixed potholes, cleaned up garbage, and repaired streetlights.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

A Guide to Recycling Water in Buildings. Saving Water, Saving Money.

At a recent Langley City Advisory Design Panel meeting, panel members discussed the viability of incorporating a non-potable water system into a building they reviewed. A non-potable (drinkable) water system captures rainwater, water used in A/C cooling towers, and greywater from laundry, dishwashing, bathing, and showering. The non-potable water is then lightly treated onsite for irrigation, toilets, A/C cooling towers, and laundry reuse.

The following diagram shows an example system.

Over 75% of the potable water goes to non-potable uses. There is a high cost to storing, treating and transporting clean drinking water throughout Metro Vancouver. As Metro Vancouver's population continues to increase, there will be further demand for potable water. We also know that we are seeing longer and drier summers. Growth and climate change mean that the Regional District and, therefore, we must collectively invest billions of dollars in expanding the water system.

By incorporating non-potable water systems into buildings, we can reduce the amount of potable water required, which could reduce our need to expand our water system and reduce the severity of water restrictions.

Because non-potable building water systems are uncommon in Metro Vancouver, the regional district has put together a guidebook for how to build these systems as well as a document called "Overcoming Barriers to Non-Potable Water Use in the Metro Vancouver Region."

To get more non-potable water systems built, we will need to:

  • Develop province-wide guidelines for use of non-potable water.
  • Clarify and expand non-potable water systems requirements in the BC Plumbing Code.
  • Continue to explore and identify a regulatory mechanism in BC to provide oversight for the safe and ongoing operation of non-potable water systems.
  • Develop and adopt regional policies that support non-potable water use.
  • Review and update municipal water policies that support non-potable water use.
  • Develop training materials and roll-out strategy to accompany province-wide guidelines and/or regulatory changes for industry and regulators.
  • Continue/expand regional data and research on non-potable water use.
  • Investigate options to develop a regional tracking mechanism for non-potable water systems.
  • Investigate mechanisms for monitoring and reporting of non-potable water systems in operation.
  • Establish a forum to host ongoing coordination across regulators, policy developers, and other key stakeholders.

Returning to the Advisory Design Panel meeting, the members did not recommend a non-potable water system for the building they reviewed because we needed more information. Hopefully, Metro Vancouver's guides will help raise awareness about and reduce the barriers to installing non-potable water systems.

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Supporting Ecological Services on Farmland

Belted Kingfisher on Tree - Arbour Ribbon Trail between Glover Road and McLeod Athletic Park

Agricultural land in Metro Vancouver provides many services that promote our region's economic, environmental and ecological health and, therefore, support the quality of life for people who live here.

Beyond farming, unfarmed lands in agricultural areas also:

  • Provide habitat for many wildlife species.
  • Promote soil development.
  • Slow down water movement and soil loss to erosion during floods.
  • Provide water storage that helps recharge groundwater, increasing and prolonging water availability for crops and irrigation.
  • Draw carbon dioxide and clean air due to increasing vegetation.
  • Filter manure and fertilizer run-off.
  • Support better drainage, reducing ponding in fields and improving livestock health by reducing saturated pastures.
  • Support beneficial insects such as ladybugs and bees, which improve pollination.
  • Provide food and wood for residents and wildlife.
  • Support healthy fish habitats.
  • Increase the resiliency of farms.
  • Provide traditional food and medicine for Indigenous communities.
  • Provide trails, recreation, bird and animal watching opportunities.

As a whole, we call these ecosystem services, and the Metro Vancouver Regional District is looking into the viability of the following two options to enhance these ecosystem services:

Approach #1: Collaborate with local governments and the province on policies and regulations that support ecosystem services on agricultural land.

Approach #2: Establish a regional conservation fund to support programs that steward ecosystem services on agricultural land.

The regional district is now looking at the next steps for these approaches. With 40% of Metro Vancouver's sensitive ecosystems on agricultural land, this will be an essential piece of work for the region.

Monday, June 12, 2023

Proposal to Convert Regional Industrial Land to Residential in Surrey's Fraser Heights

In Metro Vancouver, there are six regional land use designations; these designations help support our regional objectives to build a compact region well served by high-quality public transit, preserve industrial and employment lands, ensure food security, and conserve greenspace.

Municipal governments' land uses must align with the Regional District's land uses. Municipal Councils throughout the region appoint members to the Regional District Board. This provides a form of accountability to ensure that we meet our collective regional objectives. On the whole, this approach has been effective.

The six regional land uses are Agricultural, Conservation and Recreation, General Urban, Industrial, Mixed Employment, and Rural. You can read more about these designations on the Metro Vancouver website.

A municipality must get the Regional District Board's approval to change regional land use designations.

Municipalities have proposed three changes to regional land use designations in the last three months. Two proposed changes are in the Township of Langley in Gloucester and the Salmon River area along Fraser Highway. At the last Metro Vancouver Regional Planning Committee Meeting, Surrey proposed a change from Industrial to General Urban in the Fraser Heights area.

The proposed change is for a 10.2-hectare site located at 11420 157A Street, which would see the development of 38 single-detached homes if approved.

Existing Regional Land Use Designation

Proposed Regional Land Use Designation

The rationale for changing this Industrial land use designation to a General Urban designation is due to an escarpment that cuts this parcel off from highway access and the remainder of the industrial area, meaning that access to the site would have to be via the residential area to the south. According to Surrey and Metro Vancouver staff, this would create a potential conflict with heavy traffic going through a single detached housing area.

This proposed change will require a 50%+1 weighted vote of the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board for approval. I foresee the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board approving this proposed regional land use designation change.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

This person used to report a pothole. You won’t believe what happened next.

Is there a part of our community that needs a clean-up?
Has some bozo parked their car by a fire hydrant?
Does a park or trail need some TLC?
Is a section of road or sidewalk in rough shape?
Is that flickering streetlight keeping you up at night?

Use to report it to Langley City, and it will be resolved.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

June 5 Council Notes: Development, $15 Million Loan, Bike Lane, Housekeeping

Yesterday, I posted about some of the matters addressed at Monday’s Langley City Council meeting, and I will be continuing today.

Council gave final reading to a rezoning bylaw and issued a development permit for a 6-storey, 113-unit apartment project on the southeast corner of Michaud Crescent and 200th Street. At the first and second reading of the rezoning bylaw in October 2021, Council stated that if the project continued to have synthetic turf (plastic grass) in the landscaping plan, the project would not receive final reading. As shown below, the landscaping plan no longer contains plastic grass.

The northern landscaping plan for the project at 5370 & 5380 200 Street, 5371 & 5381 200A Street, 20010 & 20020 Michaud Crescent, & 20031 53B Avenue. Select the image to enlarge.

The City plans to take out a $15 million loan to pay for purchasing property to support the SkyTrain project as per our 2023 budget. The City is starting an Alternative Approval Process, one of the two ways municipalities can get a loan authorized under BC law. The other way to get a loan authorized is through a referendum. The Alternative Approval Process is a more cost-effective option. More information about the Alternative Approval Process is available on the Government of BC’s website. The City will provide information about how people can participate in the Alternative Approval Process in the local newspaper, City Hall, and the City’s website.

Council gave first, second, and third readings to some housekeeping matters, including updating the Business License and Regulation Bylaw to change the spelling of “license” to “licence” and updating our Council procedure bylaw to codify certain practices such as including a land acknowledgement at the start of meetings, updating how we structure meeting agendas, and designating the Mayor as an ex officio member of all Council committees.

Council also approved an update to our “Policy CO-68 – Routine Correspondence Sent from Mayor on Behalf of Council” to clarify the types of official letters a Mayor can write on behalf of Council without seeking Council’s prior approval. Examples of letters that don’t require prior Council approval include sending letters of support to non-profits that help our community or sending birthday greetings.

Council also gave first, second, and third reading to update our Fees and Charges Bylaw to generally increase fees to keep up with inflation and clean up the bylaw to add and remove items. I want to highlight that property owners will receive a significant increase in fines for false alarms as it is costly to dispatch first responders. While the fines for responding to up to four false alarms are modest (starting at $60-150), by the fifth false alarm, the cost rises to ($265-$1065) depending on the property type.

Finally, Council awarded a tender for our Downtown Cycling Enhancements project to Lafarge Canada Inc. for $401,765.00 (excluding GST.)

Map of protected bike lane project in Downtown Langley. Select the map to enlarge.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

June 5 Council Notes: Annual Report, Request for Service, Township of Langley Neighbourhood Plans

As required by provincial law, municipalities in BC must prepare annual reports. The report must include:

  • A municipality's audited annual financial statements for the previous year
  • A list of the permissive tax exemptions
  • A report on the municipality's services and operations for the previous year
  • A progress report on the performance of the municipality
  • Objectives and measures used to determine the municipality's performance
  • Any declarations of disqualification made against individual council members during the previous year

Municipalities must also provide opportunities for people to provide feedback about annual reports.

Langley City provided an opportunity for people to give written feedback or speak at last night's Council meeting about the 2022 Annual Report. No one provided feedback or spoke about the annual report. As such, Council received the 2022 Annual Report.

One thing to highlight from the annual report is that Council provided $725,743 in permissive tax exemptions for certain non-profits, the convention centre, and the faith community as follows:

Organization Amount
Anglican Parish of St Andrew's $27,842
Bridge Community Church $17,693
Church of the Nazarene $25,031
Community Police Office $14,176
Convention Centre $53,881
Encompass Support Services Society $20,933
Evangelical Free $32,018
Global School Society $23,182
Inclusion Langley Society $33,828
Langley Care Society $36,168
Langley Community Music School $44,120
Langley Community Services Society $15,950
Langley Food Bank $25,220
Langley Hospice Society $7,117
Langley Lawn Bowling $40,354
Langley Memorial Hospital Auxiliary $71,627
Langley Seniors Resource Society $49,360
Langley Stepping Stones $12,917
New Apostolic Church $7,346
Roman Catholic $92,683
Salvation Army - Gateway of Hope $3,662
Vcr Global Mission Church $24,603
Vineyard Christian Fellowship $46,032

I am not suggesting that Council change who receives tax exemptions, but if Council did not provide these tax exemptions, this year's property tax increase would have been about 2.2% lower. As a note, Langley City is a part owner of the convention centre at the casino, which is why it has a permissive tax exemption.

Langley City Council also heard a presentation about our recently streamlined Request for Service portal at The Request for Service portal is the easiest way to submit non-emergency requests for the City to action, such as parking complaints, abandoned garbage, litter, potholes, burnt-out streetlights, street landscaping issues, and unsightly property. The City cannot fix what it doesn't know about, so we will promote Request for Service over the next bit.

Last week, I posted that Langley City staff provided feedback to the Township of Langley staff about their planned update to the Booth, Fernridge, and Rinn Neighbourhood Plans. You can read the Township's request letter and the City's reply.

Monday, June 5, 2023

Majority of Langley City Survey Respondents Support Incorporating hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ into Parks and Street Names

A few weeks ago, I was one of the judges for the Langley School District’s IDEA X Challenge, where high school students had presented solutions to making “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.”

Langley City itself is on a reconciliation journey which started with a motion that Council passed in the fall of 2021. You can read this motion in a previous post.

I have been meeting with Chiefs and Councillors over the past six months. One common theme I heard is that Langley City can further reconciliation in our community by acknowledging, preserving, and revitalizing Indigenous languages. While in the federal context, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action included five calls to action specifically around language.

When I saw that one of the IDEA X Challenge groups designed prototypes of bilingual hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (hunquminum)/English street sign, it got me thinking about what we could do to celebrate hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ in Langley City.

Prototype street sign design by high school students in consultation with sesmélət (Fern Gabriel). Select the image to enlarge.

I put together a survey asking people:

  • Do you think Langley City should dual name significant streets in our community, incorporating the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language?
  • Do you think Langley City should dual name parks in our community?
  • Do you think Langley City should rename some parks in our community?

After filtering the results to Langley City residents, the majority of the remaining 123 survey respondents supported all three actions. The strongest support was for dual naming parks.

What I found interesting is that support was not even around Langley City. The majority of survey respondents north of Grade Crescent were supportive of incorporating hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ into parks names and street signs; respondents south of Grade Crescent were not. North of Grade Crescent respondents accounted for 78% of people that completed the survey, which correlates nicely with the population of Langley City, of which around 80% live north of Grade Crescent.

For example, 63% of survey respondents in the Blacklock Neighbourhood supported dual naming streets and parks. 58% supported renaming parks.

Now, I am happy that the majority of people who completed the survey are supportive. However, regardless of survey results, Langley City still must move forward on reconciliation and acknowledging, preserving, and revitalizing hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓.

One of the pieces of feedback I heard was to include a pronunciation guide for places with hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ names. I think that would help revitalize hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ in Langley City.

I look forward to continuing the journey of reconciliation in Langley City.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Overcrowding a Growing Concern. More Transit Service Needed.

At today's TransLink Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation meeting, we received an update from Kevin Quinn, the organization's CEO.

People at King George SkyTrain Station. Select the image to enlarge.

Back in 2019, transit ridership was at crush-level loads on many transit routes throughout the region; we couldn't keep up with the demand. Well, transit ridership continues to climb in Metro Vancouver, and overcrowding on many routes is occurring again.

The following chart shows transit ridership growth in our region, looking at weekday, weekend, and total journeys.

Transit ridership 2019 to present. Select the chart to enlarge.

In the South of Fraser, which includes Surrey, White Rock, Langley City, and the Township of Langley, ridership is at 115% of 2019 levels. You can see this if you've taken any major bus routes in Langley or Surrey.

Map of percentage of routes overcrowded in peak PM travel periods. Select the map to enlarge.

As shown, overcrowding is a significant concern for routes in Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, and the South of Fraser.

The following image shows an example of what an overcrowded standard 40' long bus is per TransLink's service standards.

Example of overcrowding on a standard 40' bus. Select the image to enlarge.

This continued growth in transit ridership is why the Mayors' Council is working on a new 10-year transit investment vision for Metro Vancouver. Mayors from throughout the region were recently in Ottawa lobbying the feds for more funding for transit. We are also working with the provincial government to get a new deal for transit funding, as we know that the gas tax, a significant transit funding source, is declining. At the local level, we will also need to invest more in property tax and fees we receive from development to help pay for expanding and operating transit services.

The only way we can keep our region moving, as our density and population increases, is to invest in walking, cycling, and transit services. While we have our work cut out for us, I know that the feds, province, and mayors are committed to delivering increased transit service for people in Metro Vancouver.