Thursday, September 7, 2023

Sneak Peek on What Langley City Council Will Be Working on This Fall

The beginning of September always feels like the actual start of the year instead of January. For local government, it is the start of the next season of Council meetings after the August break. Council will be busy working on new policies and bylaws for our community, and I wanted to give you a sneak peek at some of the things we will be working on.

Tenant Relocation Policy

Langley City currently has a Tenant Relocation Policy. The policy is applied when a building is up for redevelopment. It provides additional compensation and notice above the Residential Tenancy Act requirements, assistance with moving (with additional support for people who are senior or vulnerable), and right-to-return provisions. With increased redevelopment in our community, Council determined that we need to beef up our current policy.

Below Market Rental Policy

While provincial and federal government policies and funding have the most impact on reducing the cost of housing, Langley City Council also wants to do our part. One way to increase below-market rental units is to require a certain percentage of these units to be built as part of redevelopment. We will be working on creating this policy because with SkyTrain coming, we will see increased redevelopment and higher densities in our community.

Healthy and Resilient Community Dialogue Series

This summer, Langley City started working with people who have different life experiences to identify gaps in services that prevent people from getting help and ensure that the help creates positive outcomes for people and our community. This mapping of gaps will help us align objectives between the City, our non-profit sector, Fraser Health, and the provincial government to ensure that we take an outcomes-based approach that focuses on people. We will also be working across these groups to sign a document which outlines our joint comments to and measure progress in improving the outcomes of people in our community.

Right now, a lot of good work is happening in our community. However, we need better alignment among the multiple agencies and organizations because people are still slipping through the cracks in our social safety net. Council wants to reduce the number of people slipping through the cracks.

Citizen Assembly on Community Safety

We know that increasing community safety is top-of-mind for people in our community, but our current piecemeal approaches aren't working. We need a comprehensive approach to addressing community safety, encompassing policing, fire-rescue, the education system, the bylaw department, and health care. It also includes how we design and build our community, parks, roads, recreation programs, library, lighting, and overall engineering services. This plan needs to be informed by the real-world knowledge of people who call our community home. This is why we will roll out a Citizen Assembly starting this fall. You can read more about the Assembly in a previous blog post.

Improving Community Input

Our neighbourhood meetings will be back, allowing people to connect with the Council and senior City Staff to get their questions answered and provide direct feedback to us. I will also work with the Council and City Staff to see how we can improve the public information and input process regarding redevelopment. I've seen over the last year that we need to update this process to better inform people about proposed changes in their neighbourhood and allow people to provide input earlier about these proposed changes.

Create a New Capital Plan Vision

We have many significant projects that we must completed in Langley City over the coming decade, including an indoor pool and performing arts centre. We need a robust capital plan, which includes how we will fund some of these significant projects.

Adopt our New Zoning Bylaw

Langley City has a new Official Community Plan. The Official Community Plan outlines the vision for our community, and the zoning bylaw helps implement that vision. Our current zoning bylaw was adopted when I was in Grade 7, and I'm now 40 years old. Langley City Council is working toward adopting a new zoning bylaw this winter.

Create a New Rolling Strategic Plan

Langley City Council adopted our short-term 2023 Council Priorities. We will be working this fall to adopt a new five-year, rolling strategic plan that Council will update annually, similar to our budget. This plan will be a living document that outlines what Council wants City staff to focus on.

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