Wednesday, March 7, 2012

City of Langley releases new economic development strategy

The City of Langley recently released a new economic development strategy. The plan's goals are to:

-Create a competitive and vibrant downtown area.
-Be recognized regional destination for new development.
-Renew Infrastructure underground and above ground) that encourages economic activity and contributes to the City’s quality of life.
-Secure strong sector partnerships that facilitate investment activity, job creation and economic diversity.

And it plans to do this by focusing on the following areas:

Infrastructure Renewal, including promoting the expansion of Rapid Transit services to Langley Regional City Centre

Information and research, including providing updates stats on the city, working with the Downtown Langley Business Association (DLBA) on marketing the City, create partnerships with Kwantlen University and Trinity Western , and preparing a Brownfield renewal strategy.

Business development, including working with the DLBA to increase investor and tenant interest in Downtown properties and collaborating with the DLBA and Willowbrook shopping centre on shared recruitment efforts.

Marketing and investment attraction, including working with the Township of Langley to research development opportunities in the Langley Regional City Centre and developing a marketing plan.

One of the big things that the City needs to invest in is infrastructure, but this is a multi-million dollar, multi-year project. The key to renewing Downtown Langley will be to renew infrastructure like power, water, and sewer. This is holding up development today. Another key thing for the City will be to get rapid transit to Downtown. I think that Downtown Langley’s biggest advantage over other parts of Langley will be its access to rapid transit. With the new Park and Ride up in Willoughby, Downtown Langley will have even more challenges.

One of the other interesting focus points is working on attracting film. The only issue is that the film industry in BC hasn’t been doing so hot lately due to things like the scrapping of the HST and other jurisdiction becoming more competitive. The plan also looks at working with higher education providers like TWU and Kwantlen. Wouldn’t it be interesting if there was a university district developed on one of the City’s brownfield site instead of in the ALR?

One of the key things for the City of Langley is to ensure economic vitality, but as the report notes, it looks like good paying industrial jobs are being replaced with low paying retail jobs. It seems like working with the education sector is going to be key if Langley wants to attract good paying jobs to the City and ensure the possibility of a good local job for its citizens.

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