Year in Review: Development issues dominate Langley City

Early in the year Langley City council decided to give residents a 2.71 per cent tax increase.

In January, the City decided to take $73,000 from its 2013 budget and pay off the Langley Seniors Resource Centre mortgage but hadn’t discussed the matter with anyone at the seniors centre.

The City voiced its opposition to the Langley School District doubling its fees that developers pay for school site acquisition because the City, at four square miles, has no land left for schools. Council even appealed to Education Minister Peter Fassbender, the City’s former mayor, about the fees but he sided with the school district.

Over 10 years, the district is projecting 370 new student spaces will be created in Langley City, while in the Township, it will be 8,098.

During summer, the City awarded the construction contract for the Timms Recreation Centre to DGS Construction. The new $14 million centre is expected to be done by late 2015 or early 2016.

At 35,000 square feet, the new centre will be about double the size of the old Timms, but will consume about half as much energy compared to similar community centres thanks to LED lights, heat recover and reuse, and extra insulation.

The facility also includes an elevated walking track above the gymnasium, change rooms, a spin room, weight room, 62 more parking stalls, a fitness room with ballet bar and sprung wood floors, meeting space, a community kitchen and more.

Another big project for the City is a sewer and water system upgrade along 200th Street. The $10 million project to replace 35 year old underground infrastructure was supposed to have started in late summer but as 2014 ended had still not began.

The City learned its tax revenue from the Cascades Casino would be about $215,000 less than anticipated after the BC Lottery Corp. took more of the proceeds for its costs. The City has been receiving less revenue over the years as the province allows more gaming facilities and as online gaming increases. The City has used the gaming tax revenues to pay for capital projects and is one of the few Canadian municipalities that is debt free.

In December City officials along with the RCMP and TransLink were again talking about public safety after a man was beaten near the Logan Avenue bus loop. The City had asked TransLink to come to a council meeting back in the spring. There were a handful of assaults in May and June.

In December, council decided to use funds from the Enterprise Fund, which Councillor Dave Hall calls a “slush fund” for council, to add safety measures at the bus loop.

Mayor Ted Schaffer pledged the City would “light that place up like an airport runway.”

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