Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Langley City isn't Banning Childcare in Our Whole Downtown. Langley City Expanding Where You Can Create Childcare Centres.

Yesterday morning was a rought start for me. I woke up to a headline from a local news outlet claiming, "Langley City council looks set to ban additional daycares in its downtown." Social media was full of hot takes about this headline, mostly from folks who don't live in Langley City. Global News, CKNW, and CTV also called up. The problem with this is that Langley City is not proposing to ban additional daycares in our downtown area. I spent most of my day setting the record straight.

We are proposing to put a moratorium on new daycares in a small two-block area of our Downtown, known locally as the Fraser Highway One-Way Area. I'll get into the reasons for that later. This area represents about 9.5% of our downtown area.

Langley City Council is committed to creating new childcare spaces. We are investing $4.2 million, in partnership with the provincial government, to add 74 new childcare spaces in our Douglas Park Recreation Centre, about 100 metres from the Fraser Highway One-Way.

Langley City completed a Langley City Child Care Action Plan, outlining the need for child space in three categories: under 36 months, 30 months to school age, and school age. While there is a massive need for childcare across the spectrum, school-age child care (before and after-school care) is severely limited in Langley City.

The following map shows current childcare facilities in our community. Currently, Langley City allows childcare by right in most commercial areas, on school sites, and in recreation centres. Langley City also allows home-based childcare (up to eight childern) in detached homes by right. Over the years, Langley City Council has also rezoned additional sites for childcare centres.

Map of Langley City with childcare locations. Select the map to enlarge.

Given the need for more childcare spaces, especially for school-aged children, Langley City will introduce a new zoning bylaw, scheduled for July, that will allow childcare facilities in all residential and commercial areas of our community. If you want to build a childcare centre, Langley City will not get in the way.

Now, back to the Fraser Highway One-Way area. This area is about 1/3rd the size of the Willowbrook Shopping Centre site. It is the heart of our community and has been our retail main street/high street for over 100 years. The following map shows our downtown area in purple and blue. We are considering putting the moratorium in the blue area.

Map of Downtown Langley with childcare locations. Select the map to enlarge.

If you ask people what they love about Langley City, they will say our walkability and the Fraser Highway One-Way area. Like any shopping area, it thrives because of its diverse shops and services. Active spaces like restaurants, cafes, clothing stores, bookshops, and unique retailers draw locals and out-of-towners to a shopping area, helping all businesses thrive.

Too many service businesses, such as doctors' offices, dental offices, and even daycares, can and do kill a shopping area. All these services are good when spread out and exist in the Fraser Highway One-Way area today.

About every 100 metres (a 1-minute walk), there is a childcare centre in this Fraser Highway One-Way area. There are four centres in this area, with a proposed fifth. This concentration of daycares impacts the diversity of shops and services in this small two-block by 1.5-block area, creating dead zones and impacting other small business owners as daycares drive down foot traffic, a key metric for retail businesses.

Langley City is investing in childcare. We are building childcare facilities in our recreation centres and expanding where people can build childcare centres in our community. At the same time, we are considering putting a moratorium within a small 9.5% area of our Downtown to ensure the continued success of entrepreneurs and small business owners in our cherished Fraser Highway One-Way retail area.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have to agree. I have noticed a lot of daycares in the downtown as of recent, and also along the one way. I’m not apposed to day care, but not all on one block. Yes they need to be spread out more in the downtown core area.