If you ever wondered whether Langley Township or Langley City gets more provincial government money, or which local judges have the biggest paycheques or anything else to do with where your provincial tax dollars are spent, there is now a website you can visit that may have the answers you seek.
On Tuesday, the provincial government launched DataBC.
Anyone with a web browser and a spreadsheet program can now access information that, in some cases, used to require a formal Freedom Of Information (FOI) request to get.
Now, instead of filling out an FOI form, visitors to http://www.data.gov.bc.ca/ can download reams of information, including material of interest to Langley residents.
Like one spreadsheet file for B.C. government financial transfers that appears to show the smaller City collected more from the province than the larger Township did — just over $7 million for the city compared to just under $2 million for the Township.
The difference is a $6.8 million grant to the City from the ministry of housing and social development.
The biggest single local beneficiary of provincial government largesse is the Langley School District, which received $149 million from the provincial ministry of education.
The Langley Christian School Society had to get by with $3.6 million.
The Kwantlen First Nation of Fort Langley got a relatively modest $107,000 from the province compared to the $229,000 the Aldergrove Neighbourhood Services Society collected.
The numbers also show that James Jardine, a judge in the Surrey courthouse (which also deals with Langley cases), is one of the best paid in the province, collecting just over $260,000 for the most recent fiscal year.
Only three other judges in other B.C. provincial courts — and the provincial auditor general -— were paid more in the category of “employees not appointed under the Public Service Act.”
Premier Christy Clark said B.C. is the first Canadian province to launch an open data website.
In a written statement published Tuesday, Clark said the DataBC site puts about 2,500 formerly separate “data sets” in one location.
In March of this year, the Township of Langley added its own open document catalogue to the redesigned civic website.