Monday, June 17, 2024

2023 Municipal Taxes and Fees Per Capita in Metro Vancouver

Property Tax Notice

Every year, the provincial government releases information on property tax for every municipality in BC. I wanted to look at some of the information provided, which I then calculated on a per capita basis.

The first table shows the total residential municipal property tax per capita, based on the provincial government's "Schedule 707."

Name Residential Property Tax*
West Vancouver $1,815
Bowen Island $1,787
Lions Bay $1,466
Belcarra $1,371
White Rock $1,271
Anmore $1,084
Port Moody $1,011
North Vancouver District $941
Vancouver $864
Maple Ridge $862
Pitt Meadows $806
Coquitlam $783
Delta $780
Langley Township $771
New Westminster $770
Richmond $741
North Vancouver City $735
Port Coquitlam $681
Langley City $645
Burnaby $616
Surrey $507

The following table shows total taxes and fees per capita across all property types. It also includes school, TransLink, Metro Vancouver, and other agency property taxes, plus water, sewer, and garbage fees. This table is based on the provincial government's "Sechuled 703."

Name Total Taxes and Fees*
Belcarra $4,696.88
West Vancouver $4,017.67
Bowen Island $3,554.82
Lions Bay $3,329.90
Delta $3,129.97
Richmond $2,975.72
Anmore $2,950.52
Pitt Meadows† $2,928.00
North Vancouver District $2,917.63
Vancouver $2,807.49
Port Moody $2,793.09
White Rock $2,650.31
Burnaby $2,551.18
North Van City $2,443.59
Langley Twsp $2,432.14
Port Coquitlam $2,422.21
New Westminster‡ $2,360.61
Coquitlam $2,326.76
Langley City $2,297.15
Maple Ridge $2,023.32
Surrey $1,981.10

*Per Capita
‡Excluded New Westminster Municipal Electric Utility
†Data from Pitt Meadows 2023 Annual Report

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Stay Informed this Summer With Air Quality Advisory Updates

With summer upon us, we are entering the air quality advisory season. Climate change has caused an increasing frequency and severity of wildfire smoke and heat waves. Throughout the province, we are experiencing droughts.

Example of Metro Vancouver air quality map. Select the map to enlarge.

The Metro Vancouver Regional District is responsible for monitoring and issuing air quality advisories. This year, they are upgrading these advisories to make them easier to understand and including actions people can take when under an air quality advisory.

Air quality advisories by type between 2004-2034. Select the chart to enlarge.

Actions include:

  • Taking it easy and limiting outdoor activities. If you must be outside where an N95-type mask
  • Running portable air cleaners
  • Continuing to manage pre-existing chronic health conditions such as asthma, COPD or other lung diseases, heart disease, and diabetes
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Protecting outdoor workers by finding alternate duties indoors, providing N95-type masks, and giving frequent breaks. Disconutinung work if required
  • Providing indoor space for people who are unhoused
  • Reducing indoor sources of air pollution (i.e., smoking and vacuuming)
  • Implementing solutions to reduce smoke from entering and staying in commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings

You can find the latest air quality updates at http://airmap.ca/. You can also sign up for air quality advisories, bulletins, and updates to be delivered to your email inbox at https://metrovancouver.org/services/air-quality-climate-action/mailing-list.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Langley City's 2023 Annual Report Released

Langley City 2023 Annual Report Cover

Like all municipalities in BC, Langley City prepares an annual report. The City just published its 2023 Annual Report, which is now available online. The report contains information about Langley City's organizational structure and each department. It explains each department's purpose, key accomplishments in 2023, and plans for 2024.

For example, the report explains that the Recreation, Culture, and Community Services Department manages community events and recreation facilities and collaborates with other government and partner organizations to support people's social, economic, environmental, physical, and mental well-being.

Three of the eight accomplishments for this department in 2023 include:

  • Welcoming 27,696 participants at single session (drop-in) fitness classes, an increase from 19,910 participants in 2022.
  • Increasing youth drop-ins by 1,000 in 2023, both in social and sports activities.
  • Continuing to expand lesson registration opportunities at Al Anderson Memorial Outdoor Pool.

The report also includes information on permissive tax exemptions granted and community grants awarded in 2023. As required, the annual report also states that no member of Langley City Council was disqualified from holding office in 2023.

Finally, the report contains Langley City's audited financial statements for 2023.

I invite you to read the report. You can formally provide feedback on the annual report in person at Langley City Council's June 17, 2024 meeting, by sending an email, or by writing a letter. More information on how to provide feedback is on Langley City's website.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

June 3 Council Notes: 2024-28 Financial Plan Update Approved. Traffic Fine Revenues Received.

As I've been posting for the last little bit, Langley City Council has been going through the approval process of updating our 2024-2028 Financial Plan due to changes in our capital projects plan and to reflect the estimated debt servicing costs to support the $15 million loan approval process throughout the financial plan's life. Council gave final reading and adopted the amended 2024-2028 Financial Plan at its June 3rd meeting. You can learn about the updated capital projects in a previous post.

In 2004, the Province began returning 100% of traffic fine revenue to local governments. At the time, Langley City Council directed this funding back toward the RCMP, which continues to help fund three RCMP members.

Langley City recently received our 2023 payment from the provincial government of $473,000. At its last meeting, City Council thanked the Province. The following table shows the revenue received in previous years.

2018 - $452,388
2019 - $475,823
2020 - $600,619
2021 - $534,333
2022 - $453,396

I'd like to see this revenue go down year over year as it would show that we are designing safer roads and that people are also driving safer.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Langely City Updates Zoning to Allow 'Plexes Everywhere and Removes Minimum Parking Requirement in Transit-Oriented Areas Per Provincial Law

To comply with provincial law, Langley City Council gave first and second readings to a zoning bylaw update on June 3rd, enabling provincial transit-oriented area zoning and "Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing."

Map showing transit-orient areas and where new "Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing" will be allowed due to changes to provincial law. Select the map to enlarge.

Provincial transit-oriented zoning sets the minimum height that local governments must allow near SkyTrain Stations and bus exchanges. The province has a 20-storey minimum height closest to stations and exchanges that steps back the further you get from the station and exchange areas.

Due to the Langley Regional Airport, federal regulations set the maximum height to around 12 storeys in most of Langley City. These federal regulations overrule provincial law. A small section of Langley City by the Willowbrook SkyTrain Station is outside the federal airport regulation area, and it already has no maximum height in our current Official Community Plan.

Due to federal regulation and Langley City's current Official Community Plan maximum height and density requirements, this provincial minimum height and density requirements will not impact our community.

Now, there is one significant provincial change: within transit-oriented areas, local government cannot set on-site residential parking requirements except for accessible parking. This change means developers will have to determine their own residential parking needs. Experience in all other parts of North America shows that developers will still build parking even with no minimum parking requirements. It also shows that there will be little impact on on-street parking utilization.

People can still build lower than Langley City and provincial height and density standards.

The other change to Langley City's zoning bylaw is to allow "Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing" in all RS-1 and RS-2 detaching housing zones. This change allows up to four housing units on each lot, with a maximum of six units within 400 metres of a frequent bus stop. Again, people can still build detaching housing with only one housing unit on a lot if they choose. All other City requirements, including setbacks, heritage, height, and environment protection regulations, will still apply.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Replacement of Pedestrian Bridge Near Langley Senior Resources Centre

Bridge connecting the Nicomekl Trail system to 53A Avenue that is being replaced. Select the image to enlarge.

There is a pedestrian suspension bridge that crosses the Nicomekl River, connecting 53A Avenue to the floodplain trail network. While this bridge is unique, it is also at the end of its life and inaccessible for some people who use mobility aids.

The following shows the location of the bridge in question.

Location of the bridge replacement project. Select the map to enlarge.

Langley City Council recently awarded a tender to Rocky Layne Ltd. to replace this old pedestrian bridge with a modern, accessible one for $843,000. Council also contracted Associated Engineering (B.C.) Ltd. for $50,449 to oversee the project. The total cost of the bridge replacement is $1,019,949, which includes a contingency.

Because the Nicomekl River is a salmon-bearing river, the work must happen within a 65-working-day window, starting in July. During the construction period, a marked detour will be in place.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

May 27 Council Meeting Notes: Townhouse and Apartment Proposals

At its Monday, May 27th meeting, Langley City Council gave third reading, also known as approval in principle, for two development proposals.

The first proposal that Council considered was for a 26-unit townhouse complex on the northeast corner of 50A Avenue and 208 Street. You can read more about this in a previous post. Council raised four questions about the application at first and second readings, which the applicant of this proposal addressed.

The applicant provided a plan to ensure that tradespeople would park on the construction site rather than on the street. The applicant must also complete a traffic impact assessment and ensure that 208 Street and 50A Avenue stay open to all vehicle movements. They will also need to provide a cash contribution to upgrade the crosswalk at the intersection to a pedestrian-activated signal.

Council also had some concerns with the façade 50A Avenue. The applicant updated the design.

Render of updated façades from 50A Avenue (5030, 5040, 5052, 5064 208 Street and 20845 50A Avenue.) Select the image to enlarge.

Finally, Council was concerned about the over-programming of a small open space in the project. The applicant updated it to a pet relief area/greenspace.

Plan showing the updated greenspace with a pet relief area. Select the image to enlarge.

The second proposal Council considered was for a 5-storey, 132-unit apartment building at 20719-20731 Eastleigh Crescent. You can read more about this proposal in a previous post. Council was concerned about tradespeople parking during construction. The applicant noted that they also own the Eastleigh Professional Centre, which will be used for parking.

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Langley City Council Supports Regional Rail Network

GO Train

I’m excited that SkyTrain is coming to Langley City. It will be transformative, but it is only one piece of the transportation puzzle to create more travel choices for people living on the South Coast. Mountain Valley Express Collective Society, or MVX, is advocating for a regional rail network connecting the Fraser Valley, Metro Vancouver, and the Sea-To-Sky Corridor.

They recently presented to Langley City Council, asking for our support. Council at the May 27th meeting passed the following motion:

WHEREAS the Mountain Valley Express Collective Society requested Langley City Council to support their efforts in lobbying the Province of BC and TransLink to bring a world-class regional rail network to the south coast of BC;
WHEREAS Metro Vancouver risks falling behind other global cities as well as failing to meet important environmental and equity goals without a world-class regional rail network;
WHEREAS a world-class regional rail network would not only connect major regional destinations such as Vancouver International Airport, Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminals and destinations in the Fraser Valley and Sea to Sky region but would also provide economic benefits to, and enhance the quality of life of, the residents of these regions;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Langley City Council lobby the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure and the Chair of TransLink’s Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation to conduct a study on regional rail and integration with future rail rapid transit on a variety of productive corridors and establish a directory of properties that should be preserved/ monitored to ensure they are designed to accommodate future regional rail/rapid transit stations and corridors.

Monday, June 3, 2024

May 27 Council Notes: Financial Plan Updates and Letters of Support

A few weeks ago, I posted that Langley City's independent auditor gave our 2023 financials a clean bill of health and that, as part of year-end financial results and annual reporting, we need to amend our 2023-27 Financial Plan to reflect the actual numbers.

I also posted about changes to the 2024-28 Financial Plan to reflect changes in capital projects and funding sources. These changes are typical and occur throughout the year.

Langley City Council provided an opportunity for people to provide feedback on the 2023-27 and 2024-28 Financial Plans. However, Council did not receive written feedback, and no one spoke to these items at last Monday's Council meeting.

As such, Langley City Council gave final reading to adopt the updated 2023-27 Financial Plan.

As I posted in early May, Langley City is still awaiting loan authorization. One of the approval steps occurs at the Metro Vancouver Regional District. The Regional District asked that we update our 2024-28 Financial Plan to reflect the estimated long-term debt servicing costs between 2025 and 2028. As a result, Council rescinded third reading of the amended plan, which it gave two weeks ago, and gave third reading of the updated Financial Plan with the long-term borrow cost estimates. Council will consider final reading and adopt this update tonight.

Council also gave final reading to adopt an updated Public Notice Bylaw, which I posted about previously.

Langley City Council received a letter from the City of Abbotsford asking to stand in solidarity with their request to the federal and provincial governments to provide funding for long-term flood mitigation. Council asked City staff to draft a letter of support.

Council also received a letter from the Fraser Valley Ringette Tournament asking for support. We asked staff to refer them to our Community Grant program.