Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Metro Vancouver Regional District Board Votes Against Reducing GHG Emissions in Large Buildings

Large Buildings

The Metro Vancouver Regional District is the only regional district in BC with the delegated authority to regulate air quality. The Regional District Board has also approved various climate change reduction and mitigation policies, including Climate 2050, the regional district's overall vision for climate change adoption and reduction.

The overall goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 45% of the 2010 level by 2030, with the region becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Buildings are responsible for about a quarter of our region's total greenhouse gas emissions. Drilling down further, buildings over 25,000 sq. ft. are responsible for about a third of those emissions. Put another way, Regional District staff found that about 9,000 buildings in our region cause 9% of the total greenhouse gas emissions. This number is significant.

Consistent with Climate 2050 policies, Metro Vancouver Regional District staff recommended applying a regulatory approach to reduce GHG emissions in these large buildings.

At a high level, the proposed policy would start with large building owners reporting their building's greenhouse gas emissions starting in 2026. The regional district would then set limits for greenhouse gas emissions that would come into force starting in 2028 and would slowly reduce to zero by 2045. Building owners would have to pay a per tonne charge for greenhouse gas emissions caused by fossil fuels over the set limit. Cooking-related emissions and buildings connected to district energy systems would be exempt.

At its January 26th meeting, the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board was asked to support this proposal approach in principle, directing Regional District staff to continue the development of the regulatory framework, including continuing engagement with large building owners.

My understanding is that after a debate, the Regional District Board, in a tight vote, decided against this policy approach.

Langley City's Director, Paul Albrecht, supported reducing emissions from large buildings. I also support the proposed regulatory approach.

I am disappointed that while the Regional District Board approved the bold Climate 2050 vision, it has elected to refrain from taking action within its jurisdiction. I hope there is a path forward, as reducing greenhouse gas emissions from large buildings will have a significant impact in helping our region meet its climate change mitigation goals.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

My Review of the R6 Scott Road RapidBus

Paul and I waiting for the R6. Select the image to enlarge.

A few weekends ago, my friend Paul Hillsdon and I decided to check out the new R6 Scott Road RapidBus.

The R6 pulling into Newton Exchange. Select the image to enlarge.

The Scott Road/72nd Avenue corridor is one of Metro Vancouver's busiest and most congested transit corridors. About 1/3rd of people who travel along this corridor do so on transit, though certain sections are as high as 3/4rds.

RapidBus bus routes include bus priority measures, limited stop service, and enhanced bus stops. All this leads to a faster and more convenient rider experience.

I will start with the best part first. While the limited bus stops and modest bus priority measure on Scott Road, heading northbound, does speed up service, what shined for me was zooming past traffic going southbound on Scott Road in what is probably the closet we have to urban Bus Rapid Transit in our region at the moment. Southbound on Scott Road almost has nearly continuous bus lanes.

The R6 in the centre bus lanes on Scott Road near 72nd Avenue, southbound. Select the image to enlarge.

Hopefully, Surrey can work with TransLink to build more northbound bus lanes in the future.

All the bus stops had shelters, and some had enhanced lighting. I noticed this on 72nd Avenue. The extra lighting is perfect, giving people an enhanced feeling of safety.

An R6 bus stop on Scott Road near 72nd Avenue, southbound. Select the image to enlarge.

I wonder if some bus stops and shelters might be a bit too small, given the number of people using the R6. Hopefully, TransLink or Surrey can expand these shelters to accommodate more riders in time.

The frequency of the R6 was good, so I didn't worry about when the next bus would come.

Overall, this is a massive upgrade from the 319 and provides a quality service that connects Newton, KPU, Strawberry Hill, North Delta, and Scott Road SkyTrain Station.

I made it to Scott Road SkyTrain Station. Select the image to enlarge.

Monday, January 29, 2024

January 22 Council Notes: Budget, Housing, Living Wage Policies, and E-Comm 911 Board Change

Last Monday, Langley City Council gave first and second reading to the proposed 2024 budget. In previous posts, you can read about the overall budget, projects, and why property tax rates are constantly increasing. You can also visit Langley City's website for more information about the budget and how you can provide feedback to Council on the budget.

At the same meeting, Council gave third reading for a 6-storey, 136-unit apartment project at 20619 & 20629 Eastleigh Crescent and a 14-unit townhouse complex at 4503 & 4513 200 Street. Council will consider final reading and approve the issuing of the development permit once City staff and the applicant have completed all the technical requirements for the project and paid all fees and contributions.

Later in the meeting, staff proposed an update to Langley City's Living Wage Policy for City Employees and Contractors. A living wage is the income requirement for a family to afford to live. In Metro Vancouver, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives calculates the annual living wage. In 2023, the living wage was $25.68/hour. City staff proposed changing the policy from being set annually to a rolling five-year average. After a brief debate, the majority of Council decided to keep the existing policy with no changes.

Langley City shares a seat on the E-Comm Board with Surrey, White Rock, and the Township of Langley. E-Comm provides the 911 call answer service in BC, maintains the first responders' communication network in parts of BC, and provides fire and police dispatch services in some communities. Langley City uses the communication network. The board seat rotates among the four municipalities. All four municipalities must agree to the person who sits on the board, though it is more a matter of formality. The seat is currently with the Township of Langley between 2023 and 2027. Last year, Township Council recommended Councillor Barb Martens. Langley City Council received notice that Township Council now recommends Councillor Tim Baillie for the E-Comm board. Langley City Council approved this change.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Why does the property tax rate go up every year in Langley City?

Every year, the property tax rate goes up. Some might wonder why this is the case and why the income and sales tax rates stay constant.

With income tax, as people's overall incomes increase or decrease, so does the amount of money the provincial and federal governments collect. The same thing happens for sales tax. This change is due to the formula "income/cost of good" * "tax rate".

For property tax, it is different. Local governments, such as Langley City, set their annual budget, and then they collect the property tax required to balance the budget. Local governments cannot run a deficit budget

The formula is more complex. 'total property tax required to balance budget' / 'total value of all properties'. This formula gets you the mill rate. The property tax you pay uses the formula 'your property value' * 'mill rate'. I've simplified these formulas and written more details about calculating property tax in a different post.

Local government's significant costs are workers' salaries and purchasing goods and services. Salaries increase, as does the cost of goods and services, making local governments such as Langley City subject to inflation.

Over the years, the cost of providing some services has increased faster than the inflation rate. Policing is our number one cost, consuming about 45% of property tax revenue collected. The cost of policing continues to increase. For example, RCMP officers were paid significantly less than municipal police officers. A few years ago, they signed their first collective agreement, resulting in a significant salary bump. Policing has also become more sophisticated, meaning that more technology and time are required to do their job, leading to increased costs beyond inflation.

The City has also stepped up the services we provide. For example, we have increased the maintenance of our streets and parks, invested more in events, increased firefighting resources to step up preventative inspections, and invested in people to help us shore up our social infrastructure, such as addressing poverty.

I asked City staff to calculate how much the property tax would increase to keep up with inflation, otherwise known as the consumer price index.

The following tables show how much property tax would need to increase just to cover inflation and how much property tax has actually increased for the average detached and attached home in Langley City from 2004 to 2023.

Average Detached Home
Year City Taxes (Actual) City Taxes (Inflation Only)
2004 $ 1,339 $ 1,339
2005 $ 1,409 $ 1,366
2006 $ 1,434 $ 1,390
2007 $ 1,459 $ 1,414
2008 $ 1,492 $ 1,444
2009 $ 1,571 $ 1,444
2010 $ 1,639 $ 1,463
2011 $ 1,685 $ 1,498
2012 $ 1,709 $ 1,514
2013 $ 1,747 $ 1,513
2014 $ 1,797 $ 1,528
2015 $ 1,889 $ 1,545
2016 $ 1,959 $ 1,573
2017 $ 2,065 $ 1,607
2018 $ 2,057 $ 1,651
2019 $ 2,059 $ 1,689
2020 $ 2,117 $ 1,702
2021 $ 2,220 $ 1,750
2022 $ 2,499 $ 1,870
2023 $ 2,793 $ 1,964

Average Attached Home
Year City Taxes (Actual) City Taxes (Inflation Only)
2004 $ 641 $ 641
2005 $ 645 $ 654
2006 $ 684 $ 665
2007 $ 727 $ 676
2008 $ 760 $ 691
2009 $ 792 $ 691
2010 $ 800 $ 700
2011 $ 816 $ 716
2012 $ 807 $ 724
2013 $ 800 $ 724
2014 $ 801 $ 731
2015 $ 778 $ 739
2016 $ 739 $ 753
2017 $ 708 $ 769
2018 $ 809 $ 790
2019 $ 946 $ 808
2020 $ 986 $ 814
2021 $ 1,042 $ 837
2022 $ 1,009 $ 895
2023 $ 1,145 $ 940

For the average attached home, the difference between the inflation only and actual increases is $205 over the last 20 years. The difference is $829 for detaching housing over the last 20 years.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Public Safety and the Basics. Langley City's $26 million 2024 Proposed Projects Budget.

Yesterday, I posted about some of the proposed ongoing changes to Langley City's 2024 budget and 2024-28 Financial Plan. Today, I want to look at our capital projects budget.

Langley City Staff and Council proposes a $26 million capital projects budget for this year.

This year's largest proposed capital project is $11 million to purchase land and design a new RCMP detachment for Langley City. The Township of Langley indicated they want to de-integrate the current joint Langley RCMP detachment. This process will be long and drawn out and requires the provincial government's approval. If approved by the provincial government, which is not a given, this process will likely take a decade. Regardless, Council thought it would be prudent to purchase the land today. We know the cost of land only goes up in value. If the City doesn't need the land, we can put it to another use or sell it for market value.

More on public safety, Council proposes to purchase a new fire truck for $3 million.

Council proposes investing $2.9 million in street improvement projects, including repaving streets and upgrading traffic lights throughout the community.

Council also proposes investing $2.7 million in water system renewal projects and $2.5 million in sewer and storm sewer renewal projects. These investments aren't glitzy stuff, but they are very important. It speaks to Council's desire to invest in the basics.

Council is proposing to invest $1.3 million into parks, including $1 million to replace the pedestrian bridge in the floodplain near 206A Street and $250,000 to create an urban park at the site of the old Langley Hotel in our downtown area.

Finally, Council is proposing to invest $660,000 into recreation and cultural projects to ensure they remain in a good state of repair.

Langley City's capital projects budget isn't flashy but speaks to Council's commitment to investing in public safety and basics.

The high-level breakdown is:

Capital Projects   Categories Investment (Millions)
Public Safety 14.4
Streets 2.9
Water 2.7
Sewer and Storm Sewer 2.6
Parks 1.4
Other Services 1.0
Recreation and Culture 0.6
Total 25.6

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

First Look at Langley City's Proposed 2024 Budget: Investing in Public Safety and the Basics

Last night, Langley City Council gave first and second reading to our proposed 2024 budget and 2024-28 financial plan. Over the next few days, I'll highlight some of the components of the proposed budget. Today, I want to focus on the significant changes that impact the property tax rate for this year.

Local governments, like Langley City, feel the impacts of inflation the same as individuals and businesses. This ongoing inflation means that property taxes must increase year-over-year to provide the same level of service. Compounding the issue is that the cost of supplies and construction has skyrocketed higher than core inflation rates.

To keep the same level of services and upkeep of infrastructure in Langley City, property tax would have to increase by 6.92% without adding additional services or upkeep. Thankful, new construction and people moving to the community means we have new households paying property tax. This new growth helped reduce the inflationary increase from 6.92% to 5.73% for this year's proposed budget.

Council heard clearly from the community that public safety is the number one thing we should be addressing; this is why we are making a generational investment in community safety. Our budget proposed to hire:

3 Additional Police Officers
3 Additional Firefighters
1 Additional Bylaw Officer

These new safety roles will help us keep up with growth and increase enforcement of unsightly properties, graffiti, illegal signage, and improper parking. It will also allow Langley City to increase bike patrols in the trails and parks.

We also know that people value our community events more than ever, so Langley City Council is proposing a modest increase to the Community Day, Remembrance Day, and the Magic of Christmas Festival budgets.

While unsexy, we must invest in the basics like sewer pipes, water lines, and roads. These are core municipal responsibilities. Council is proposing to invest an additional $375,000 per year towards infrastructure renewal for a new proposed total of $1.7 million annually. Best practice states that we should allocate 10% of property tax for infrastructure. With this change, we will be investing 8.4%, so we have some ways to go.

The following table shows the proposed changes and how they make up this year's proposed property tax increase.

Budget Impacts Cost Percent Property Tax
Status Quo Inflationary Increase $2,154,190 5.73%
Infrastructure Renewal $375,000 0.99%
3 Additional RCMP Members $460,000 1.22%
3 Additional Firefighters $510,500 1.35%
1 Additional Bylaw Officer $108,500 0.29%
Emergency Management Program $117,270 0.31%
Community Events $35,000 0.08%
Total $3,760,460 9.97%

For a detached homeowner, this will result in an average monthly property tax increase of $29.50. The average monthly property tax increase for an attached homeowner will be $17. With this change, Langley City will still have among the lowest property taxes in Metro Vancouver.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Transit Service Impacts in Langley City. Most Buses Are Not Operating. Community Shuttles and HandyDART Operating.

No Bus Service

As you may know, CUPE Local 4500 and TransLink's Coast Mountain Bus Company have been negotiating a new collective agreement. The union issued a strike notice earlier, noting that they would walk off the job for 48 hours if both parties could not reach a new collective agreement.

Unfortunately, a new agreement was not reached. As of a few hours ago, there is no conventional bus service in Metro Vancouver, with some limited exceptions, including in Langley City.

Because some buses in Langley City are operated by a different company, the 372, 560, 561, 562, 563, and 564 routes are still running. HandyDART is also operating. For more information, please visit TransLink's website.

Some people might ask what the region's mayors are doing to help get to a new collective agreement. The Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation does not have a role in the collective bargaining process; it is between the unions, TransLink management, and the TransLink board.

The Mayors' Council contributes to and approves TransLink's short-term and long-term transportation investment plans, such as Transport 2050, rolling Investment Plans, and the Access for Everyone Plan, as well as approving fare and property tax changes required to support these plans. Of course, these plans factor in assumed workers' salaries to provide service.

I hope that TransLink and the union mutually reach a new collective agreement sooner rather than later. The last major transit strike in Metro Vancouver was in 2001 and lasted 123 days. You can find out more about the 2001 strike in a CBC article.

For the most current information on transit service in Metro Vancouver, please visit TransLink's website.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

City Park Barbour Diamond Renewal, Council Calls for "Car" Mental Health Program, City Committees

When people are in crisis or see someone in crisis, they may call 911, and the police may attend. With more awareness around the need for people in mental health crises to have specialized support, various "car" programs have been created. The Car 67 program in Surrey pairs a police officer with a mental health professional who responds to emergency calls. This pairing enables a person in crisis to receive an on-site emotional and mental health assessment, helps de-escalate situations, and enables a person to get a referral to ongoing mental health services.

The provincial government recently rolled out an expansion of this program, formally called "Mobile Integrated Crisis Response Teams," to Abbotsford, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Burnaby, and Chilliwack, leaving Langley City, the Township of Langley, Maple Ridge, and White Rock as some of the only municipalities within the Lower Mainland that don't have this program.

On December 11th, Langley City Council sent a letter to Honourable Mike Farnworth and Honourable Jennifer Whiteside, asking that the provincial government expand this program to Langley. We sent a copy of our request to Township of Langley Council, which also wants this program expanded, to show that we stand together. We also sent letters to Maple Ridge and White Rock Councils, letting them know that we support all our communities receiving Mobile Integrated Crisis Response Teams.

Langley Baseball

On Monday night, Langley City Council approved awarding a tender of $743,382.60 (excluding GST) to Streamline Fencing Ltd. with a $75,000 contingency. The project will replace the end-of-life high mast netting, poles, and backstop dugouts at Barbour Diamond. The project also includes the renewal of the infield. Langley Baseball and others use this facility extensively, so I'm happy to see its renewal.

Council also released the names of people appointed to the Accessibility Advisory Committee, Advisory Design Panel, Board of Variance, Crime Prevention Committee, and Environmental Sustainability Committee for the 2024 term. You can download the list on Langley City's website.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Council Considers 14-Unit Townhouse Project and 6-Storey, 136-Unit Apartment Project Under New Provincial Law.

As you may know, the provincial government recently made it illegal for City Councils to hold public hearings for rezoning applications consistent with a municipality's official community plan for rezoning applications that are majority residential housing.

To allow people to learn and ask questions about rezoning in their neighbourhood, Langley City still provides notification via the newspaper, sends mailouts within 100 metres of rezoning applications, and posts a sign with information about rezoning applications on the subject properties. The City also encourages people to submit written feedback (letters or emails) about proposed rezoning before Council considers first and second readings of rezoning applications. If you have questions in the written feedback, they will be answered.

The City is working on further enhancements for people to learn, ask questions, and provide feedback on rezoning and development applications in our community in a way that complies with provincial law and ensures the efficient processing of rezoning and development applications.

On Monday, Langley City Council gave first and second reading for two rezoning applications following the new provincial law.

The first rezoning application was for a proposed 14-unit townhouse complex at 4503 & 4513 200 Street. The applicant followed Langley City's new "Townhome & Plex-Home Best Practices Guide." This guide ensures that these types of new developments follow "good neighbour design" and address parking and transportation, as well as green space and landscaping. If this development proceeds, six existing trees onsite will be retained.

Rendering of proposed townhouse project at 4503 & 4513 200 Street. Select the image to enlarge.

For more information about this development, please view the architecture and landscaping plans and Langley City's Advisory Design Panel Explanatory Memo.

Council received three pieces of written feedback about this project. Several people attending the Council meeting wanted to speak to Council about the proposed rezoning. I informed them that provincial law makes that illegal, as it would become a public hearing. These folks were upset and had some choice words for Council as they left the meeting. If people have questions or feedback about any rezoning or development after Council has given first and second reading, they can drop by City Hall, email, or call 604-514-2800 anytime.

The second rezoning application was for a 6-storey, 136-unit apartment at 20619 & 20629 Eastleigh Crescent. Of note, the trees on the northwest edge of the property, which abut the Wyndham Lane townhouse complex, will be preserved if this project proceeds.

Rendering of proposed apartment at 20619 & 20629 Eastleigh Crescent. Select the image to enlarge.

For more information about this development, please view the architecture and landscaping plans and Langley City's Advisory Design Panel Explanatory Memo.

Council received two pieces of written feedback about this project.

Council will now consider giving third reading to the rezoning applications at an upcoming Council meeting. Third reading is called "approval in principle." Council will consider final reading of each rezoning application once City staff are satisfied that all the technical requirements, deposits, and fees for each application are secured.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Langley City, Other Smaller Cities, and the Crime Severity Index Bias. Doing Something About It.

The Crime Severity Index is a tool that is used to help measure the severity of police-report crime in a community. People know that homicide is a more serious crime compared to causing a disturbance. Traditional crime rates only look at the crime volume rather than the volume and seriousness.

The Crime Severity Index, which Statistics Canada puts together, accounts for volume and seriousness. Simplified, the Crime Severity Index looks at the volume of crime, but each crime is weighted. One homicide would impact the Crime Severity Index of a community more than 1000 “causing a disturbance” as an example. Statics Canada determines the weighting for each type of crime based on the length of convictions people receive. The Crime Severity Index is also divided by population.

Because of how this works, lower-population municipalities tend to have worse Crime Severity Index scores. You can see this bias in action by visiting the Canada Crime Index site and toggling between 5k, 10k, 25k, and 100k.

This population bias is one of the reasons why Langley City and North Battleford can end up on the top of some media reports as “the most dangerous places in Canada,” as opposed to Surrey or Edmonton, for example.

With this in mind, the Mayor of North Battleford is hosting a conference from “February 28-29, 2024, in Saskatoon, comprised of attendees representing the 20 highest ranked communities with populations of more than 10,000 residents to discuss common struggles faced by this ranking system.”

The conference’s outcome will be to find a path forward to change how Statistics Canada reports communities’ Crime Severity Index to account for this population bias.

At last night’s Langley City Council meeting, Council unanimously approved Langley City’s Crime Prevention Committee Chair and Co-Chair Councillors Paul Albrecht and Delaney Mack to attend the conference and be reimbursed for attending. City staff estimate the cost will be $3,000 in total.

I look forward to the outcome of this conference and thank Councillors Albrecht and Mack for being willing to travel to Saskatoon in the dead of winter.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Community Engagement Cafe This Wednesday: Belong in Langley City

Community Engagement Open House

Over the last year, Langley City staff have engaged in a series of pop-up park events, dinners, and cafes, which are part of laying the groundwork for creating our community’s first social infrastructure action plan. This comprehensive plan will look at what is working in Langley City, where there are gaps in our social infrastructure, and how we close those gaps. One of the critical parts of this plan will be measuring outcomes to ensure that the actions of government, non-profits, and the faith community deliver positive outcomes for people.

This Wednesday, Langley City’s Healthy and Restorative Community Dialogue is coming to Downtown Langley as follows:

Date: Wednesday, January 17, 2024
Time: 10:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Location: Coastal Coffee House,
15 - 20555 56 Ave

This is a drop-in event, so you can come anytime and stay for as little or as long as you want.

The topic of discussion will be about social and cultural equity, diversity, inclusion and access.

If you cannot attend but would still like to share your feedback or experience about living in Langley City, please email Dena Kae Beno at

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Tell the government you want better transit now! Sign the petition.

Columbia SkyTrain Station

If you’ve taken transit recently, you know our buses and trains are full. In Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley City, and the Township of Langley, transit ridership is at record levels and is growing faster than anywhere else in the region.

This demand for transit is why the TransLink Mayors’ Council launched the Access for Everyone plan, which will make generational investments to get most people in Metro Vancouver within an easy walk of fast, frequent, and reliable bus and rail service over the next decade.

While our region’s mayors are ready to invest, the Access for Everyone plan will require a $21 billion investment over the next ten years. Our region cannot do this plan alone; we need the support of the provincial and federal governments.

Yesterday, the Mayors’ Council launched a petition to “Tell the government you want better transit now!”

If you want better transit, please fill out the petition at

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Updated Metro Vancouver Housing Databook Released

Housing is top of mind for most people, and people are calling for governments to take action to ensure everyone has a home they can afford.

Understanding the complexity of housing and demographics is the first step in developing meaningful action plans to address the housing crisis. Unfortunately, Metro Vancouver is leading Canada regarding the housing crisis. Fortunately, we also have the data to help us make evidence-based action plans to get us out of the crisis.

The Metro Vancouver Regional District is a data clearinghouse for housing and demographic statistics for our region, and one of its premier publications is its "Housing Data Book." Regional District staff recently released a December 2023 update of the databook.

Here is an example of the data about the number of independent-living social housing units as a percentage of total units by municipality. You can see that Langley City has the second-highest percentage of these types of social housing units in Metro Vancouver.

Independent Social Housing Units as Percentage of Total Dwellings, Metro Vancouver, 2022. Select map to enlarge.

The following map shows the percentage of multi-unit housing units completed, such as townhouses and apartments, between 2018 and 2022, of all housing units built.

Multi-Unit Housing Completions as Percentage of Total Housing Completions, Metro Vancouver, 2018 to 2022 (5 year average). Select map to enlarge.

If you like digging into the numbers, read the latest edition of the Metro Vancouver Housing Data Book.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Upcoming Inaugural Meeting of Grassroots "The Langley Initiative"

About a month or so ago, I met Dammy and Armaan, two people who have a passion for Langley City. They told me that Langley City has many good things going for it, but we also have challenges. One of the things they noted is that Langley City lacks a grassroots organization that brings together the community and advocates to government on what matters most to people

I encouraged them to set up an advocacy group. They considered my advice, and they founded the Langley Initiative.

They will be hosting their first meeting as follows:
Thursday, January 18, 2023
7 pm to 8 pm
CoWorks by Elevate (20627 Fraser Highway)

If you are passionate about Langley City, check out their first meeting.

You can learn more at:

Monday, January 8, 2024

Maple Ridge Seeks Regional Approval for Yennadon Industrial Lands

In 2003, the Agricultural Land Commission allowed the removal of 18 hectares of land from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) in the Yennadon area of Maple Ridge, shown roughly on the following map.

The area of property Yennadon Industrial Lands is highlighted in red. Select the map to enlarge.

The Commission at the time noted that this removal of land would impact the remaining land within the ALR south of 128th Street and west of 232nd Street. The Commission would automatically remove the remaining lands from the ALR at the property owners' request. Owners requested land removed in 2004, 2018, and 2023.

Metro Vancouver's Regional Growth Strategy designated most of the land in the area as general urban (which permits any use) except for 2 hectares, regionally designated as agricultural land. The regional agricultural land-use designation tracks with the provincial ALR, so with this land now removed, it would need to be redesignated as a different land use.

Map of current regional land use designations. Select the map to enlarge.

Maple Ridge is now applying to the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board to redesign 18 hectares with the regional designation of Industrial and 7.4 hectares as Conservation and Recreation. Industrial land is in short supply. This proposed land use change would increase regionally protected industrial land, not by removing rural lands. It would also increase regionally protected "green space" by 5.4 hectares.

Map of proposed regional land use designations. Select the map to enlarge.

Metro Vancouver staff did note that Maple Ridge could further protect this proposed green space by adding conservation covenants or parkland dedication to the 7.4 hectares.

These lands are currently served by two bus routes, which provide service every 30 minutes or so. We see a strong demand for transit services throughout the region to industrial areas, so I expect no difference from this proposal.

In Metro Vancouver, too often, we take rural land and convert it to industrial uses. So, I am happy to see a proposal that takes land already serviced by transit and 92% already within the Urban Growth boundary and designates it for industrial use while increasing green space.

The Metro Vancouver Regional Planning Committee will review this proposal, and the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board must approve it.

Currently, these lands are not connected to the Metro Vancouver sewer system, so Maple Ridge must make a separate request to extend sewer services.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Cheat Sheet for Getting Your Langley City Service Questions, Concerns, and Bylaw Matters Addressed

Regularly, people contact me about potential bylaw violations, water, sewer, garbage questions, concerns about camping in public spaces, development and building permits, and requests for the City, such as fixing a pothole. I'm happy to connect people to folks who can help them, though I wanted to share how you can directly contact folks who can help you. Going direct is quicker than going through the Mayor's Office.

For most City requests, you can use the City's Request for Service online tool at, including for bylaw violations such as improper parking. You can also call City Hall at 604-514-2800.

If you have an urgent bylaw matter that needs to be addressed on a Sunday or between 4:30 pm and 8:30 am, please call the RCMP non-emergency line at 604-532-3200. An example could be building construction work occurring on a Sunday or parking blocking a fire lane.

If you have a concern with a dog or livestock animal running at large, a dog that has bitten another animal or human, or a barking dog, you can contact Animal Control at 604-857-5055 from 9:00 am – 5:30 pm. Please call the RCMP non-emergency line after-hours or on holidays at 604-532-3200 if the matter is urgent.

If you live in a detached (single-family) house and have concerns or questions about garbage or organics collection, please get in touch with our contractor, Emterra Environmental, at 604-635-0999 or email

If you live in a detached house and have a concern or question with recycling, please call Recycle BC's contractor, GFL Environmental, at 778-765-3662 or

One of Langley City's core commitments is to provide Full Circle Customer Service. This commitment means that all Langley City staff or contractors will:

  • Treated you with courtesy and respect
  • Get back to you in a timely matter and follow up with you
  • Give you the most current and complete information available at the time
  • Be accountable for their actions

If you don't feel like you've received Full Circle Customer Service, please get in touch with me at or call City Hall at 604-514-2800 and ask to speak with the Mayor's Office.

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Tree Protection and Urban Forest Growth in Langley City

A few weeks ago, I updated the background image on my social media profiles and this blog, showing an aerial picture I took of the powerline trail network, H.D. Stafford Middle School, and the Pleasantdale Creek Trail. This picture generated some feedback about what the City is or needs to do about tree protection in our community.

I know tree protection becomes top of mind in neighbourhoods when someone removes mature trees on their lot, especially when it is part of replacing an older detached house with a new detached house.

I know that some folks also believe that building housing and growing our urban forest are at odds with each other, but this doesn't have to be the case. We can grow our urban forest and increase the supply of housing.

Tree preservation is important, and expanding the urban tree canopy is even more critical due to the climate crisis. These reasons are why Langley City is working on creating a new Urban Forest Management Strategy.

This new strategy will cover all aspects of Langley City's urban forest, from our parks and natural areas to yard and street trees. It may surprise some, but Langley City also has land within the Agricultural Land Reserve, which has its own best practices for forest management. All this will be part of the new strategy, as shown in the image below.

Components of Langley City's Urban Forest. Select the image to enlarge.

In the summer, Langley City Council received a report card about our urban forest's current state and protection, which was only "fair." We know we need to make improvements. You can read more about this report card in a previous blog post.

In the coming months, the City will deliver a draft of the new strategy for the community to provide feedback. I will certainly be posting about it. This feedback will inform the final version of the strategy for Council to consider approving, hopefully, this year.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

2024 in Langley City: What's Coming Down the Pipe

Happy New Year! I hope you were able to spend some time with those who are important to you over the holidays. While local government generally runs on a September through July cadence, I wanted to highlight some of the things Langley City Council and staff are working on in 2024.

First up this year will be the 2024 budget for Langley City. Council approved the 2024 water, sewer, and garbage collection utility rates in December. Starting in January, we will set the 2024 operating budget for other City departments and the capital projects budget. As a note, more than 50% of Langley City's operating budget goes towards community safety.

On the topic of community safety, over the last year, City staff have been laying the groundwork for getting a Citizens' Assembly on Community Safety off the ground. This year, the Citizens' Assembly will meet. It will make recommendations for City Council to implement to get to the root of community safety challenges to make people feel safer in Langley City.

Complementing the Citizens' Assembly, we will be continuing the work to create a holistic action plan that identifies the gaps in our social infrastructure in Langley City. This action plan is being created in collaboration with the non-profit sector that serves our community and the provincial government. One of the critical parts of this action plan is to drive accountability by measuring and reporting regularly on how the action plan is going, focusing on outcomes. Unlike other past plans, we will measure outcomes across City departments, non-profits, provincial ministries and agencies. These measurements will allow the City and non-profit sector to advocate where there are gaps and make changes as needed more quickly to deliver better outcomes for people in Langley City.

The City will be working on a beefed-up tenant relocation policy to ensure that if people are displaced due to the redevelopment of a purpose-built rental building, they will be compensated fairly and have the right to return at a discounted rental rate once the new building is completed. We will also be creating our own below-market affordable housing requirements for new development.

City Council will also continue our advocacy efforts to ensure that we get our fair share of water and sewer infrastructure funding from the federal government. We will also continue advocating for federal and provincial programs that get affordable housing built in Langley City.

SkyTrain construction will be starting this year. Langley City will be completing the creation of a new zoning bylaw this year. It will include the recent changes the provincial government announced to require at least four housing units on every lot in urban areas.

With population growth comes the need for more schools. While schools are the responsibility of the school board and provincial government, with SkyTrain coming soon and the new provincial housing changes, we will need to expand our Langley City school sooner rather than later. Families need schools. Without overstepping, Langley City Council may need to increase the visibility of this need (in partnership with the school board) to the provincial government.

2024 will be another busy year in Langley City!