City of Langley
Credit: James.bc from Wikimedia Commons

widgetLooking for a small town with all the conveniences of the big city? You’ll find it here

Langley is a tale of two cities—or, more accurately, a tale of one city and one district municipality. The City of Langley and the Township of Langley happily exist next to each other but are governed by separate mayors and councils. The former is a compact, 10-square-kilometre municipality bounded on three sides by the geographically larger and more rural township, and by Surrey on its western border. The city had been a town centre within the township since the late 1800s, but by 1955 had outgrown this arrangement and incorporated as a separate entity. Having blossomed into a commercial hub attracting people from throughout the region, it needed more direct control over its own, more urban development issues.

The City of Langley’s importance in this role continues to grow as its neighbouring municipalities have risen to become B.C.’s fastest-growing communities. The city has fewer than 28,000 residents, but its businesses enjoy a local trading population of 275,000. This puts the City of Langley in a unique position: it has kept its small-town feel but offers many big-city amenities for residents and businesses. Shopping centres, car dealerships and industrial complexes line the city’s northern limits. You won’t find luxury car dealerships in most communities this size, but you can buy a Mercedes-Benz, BMW or Acura here.

The downtown core offers a more local experience, and it’s building on its small-town heritage to become the kind of walkable, neighbourly community that planners around the world are trying to recreate. The Fraser Highway narrows from a multi-lane arterial road to a one-way high street with independent boutiques, barbershops, bakeries and restaurants. The city, which has an ambitious master plan to make its downtown even more vibrant, is offering businesses incentives for building improvements.

Langley City is more than a regional shopping destination, however. Its affordable land and proximity to the major transportation infrastructure of Metro Vancouver make it an ideal base for manufacturers and other light and medium industrial businesses. The Trans-Canada Highway, the Port of Vancouver and several U.S. border crossings are all less than an hour away. The city’s 2.86 million square feet of industrial floor space provides for about 20 percent of its employment. Job spinners in these areas include food production, plastics manufacturing, distribution, and scientific research and development.

Skilled labour is always close at hand, too. Kwantlen Polytechnic University has a local campus that offers arts and sciences degrees, plus a broad range of apprenticeships and diplomas in skilled trades. If your company needs a computer assisted design technician, brewmaster, welder or farrier, you won’t need to look far to find one.

Population: 27,774
Household age (0-45, 45-64, 64+): 39.7%, 35.4%, 24.9%
University grads: 12.8%    
Average household income: $78,890
Average household income under 45: $81,162
Five-year income growth, 2012-17: 13.8%
Five-year population growth: 6.3%

Average detached home price: $1,017,424
Average condominium price: $394,588
Average monthly rent for a two-bedroom: $1,340
Average annual household spending on shelter: $20,996

Key industries: Retail and services; food, beverage and hospitality; manufacturing; automotive retail; food production; distribution; scientific research and development
Notable employers: Canada Bread; CKF Inc.; Ipex
Regional unemployment: 4% (February)

Total value of building permits issued in 2017: $9,940,000
Change from 2016: 121.6%
Average processing time for a building permit: n/a
Cost of a business licence: $232-$7,184
Business property tax rate: $14.60 per $1,000 of assessed value
Average office lease rate per sq. ft./year: $12-$22
Average retail lease rate: $15-$26

Quality of LifeQUALITY OF LIFE
Major post-secondary institutions: Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Major recreational amenities: 17 parks; outdoor pool; skating rink; bike park and parkour course; public library; community garden; nature trails
Key annual events: Canadian Festival of Chili and BBQ; Langley Walk (5K and 10K walk, bike and run); Greater Vancouver Food Truck Festival; Fork & Finger Foodie Event; Magic Of Christmas
Average annual household spending on recreation: $4,094
Residents who walk or bike to work: 3.3%