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Langley City eyes restrictions on daycares in historic core

Rest of the city not affected by ‘proximity’ regulations

Most of Langley City won’t be affected by a proposed freeze on new daycare centres, council has been told.

A public hearing is planned for Monday, June 3, at 7 p.m. on revised zoning regulations that would prevent any more daycares from opening in the historic downtown core along the One-Way as well as an area south of Douglas Crescent between 204 St. and Park Ave.

At the Monday, May 13 meeting that gave the measure preliminary approval, Director of Development Services Carl Johannsen explained the City official community plan, which calls for more daycare spaces, will still apply outside the restricted area.

There will still be “a lot of opportunity outside the area,” Johannsen told council.

The planned restrictions are a response to a Feb. 6 letter to council from Bob Foster, the chair of the Downtown Langley Business Association, which asked for a “proximity bylaw” similar to current City regulations that restrict the numbers of pharmacies, thrift stores, tattoo and body art establishments, and vape stores.

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”In the last few months, two daycares (and another on the way) have opened up in what were previously valuable retail spaces,” the Foster letter estimated.

“We feel strongly that if daycares continue to be allowed, then that may end up being a deterrent for other business types to want to open up down here,” Foster added.

A report to council on the issue by Johannsen predicted without the limits, “a general lack of adequate off-street parking and loading spaces on these small and narrow lots [in the selected area] will likely create parking and drop-off/pick-up conflicts with other users as the number of child care centres increases over time.”

A 400 metre separation distance would effectively prevent new child care centres within the delineated area, but it won’t affect the four child care centres that are currently in the area, which are allowed to operate as ‘legal non-conforming uses,’ Johannsen added.

Councillor Mike Solyom was the lone vote against the measure, noting “the daycare that [my family uses] has a year-long wait list for families.”

“Anything that we do to make it harder to get a daycare open, to get kids and families that service, I really don’t think that’s to the benefit of the city,” Solyom said.

Mayor Nathan Pachal said while he agrees there should be a limit on daycare in that area of town, “I’m going to be fully supportive of putting child care [in] every single other place possible in the city.”

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Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Best recognized for my resemblance to St. Nick, I’m the guy you’ll often see out at community events and happenings around town.
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