Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Metro Vancouver's Regional Growth Strategy. How are we doing?

With the exception of the Township of Langley, the remaining 20 municipalities in our region plus Tsawwassen First Nation and UBC have signed onto the Metro Vancouver regional growth strategy. The Township and Metro Vancouver are currently in a non-binding dispute resolution process.

The main goals of the growth strategy are to: create a compact urban area, support a sustainable economy, protect the environment and respond to climate change impacts, and develop complete communities.

Having a regional growth strategy is important, and equally important is to ensure that the strategy is being implemented. The Metro Vancouver regional district recently released its 2015 annual report for our regional growth strategy. How did we do? Today, I wanted to highlight the goal of creating a compact urban area.

Urban Containment Boundary and Regional Land Use Designations (2015). Select map to enlarge.

One of the key components of our current regional growth strategy is to ensure that 98% of all residential and employment growth occurs within the urban growth boundary. This boundary protects rural and agricultural land from sprawl.

Between 2014 and 2015, less than 1% of residential growth occurred outside of the urban growth boundary. This is in line with the regional growth strategy. Between 2011 and 2015, 225 dwelling units were built on rural land. Employment growth information will be available after the 2016 census data is released.

Another important metric is the amount of land available within the urban growth boundary that is undeveloped, but available for development. In 2015, there was 7,500 hectares of land within the urban growth boundary available. Of course, there is much more land available when you consider the opportunity for redevelopment.

Status of the General Urban Regional Land Use Designation (2015). Select map to enlarge.

Another key goal is to encourage growth in urban centres and along frequent transit corridors which helps support active transportation and public transit usage.

In 2011, 19% of the population lived in urban centres. This number grew to 20% in 2015. The regional growth strategy target is to have 40% of all dwelling unit growth occur within urban centres. In 2015, 42% of dwelling unit growth occurred within urban centres.

Urban Centre and Frequent Transit Areas (2015). Select map to enlarge.

Over the next little while, I’ll be highlighting some of the other measures that are being tracked to see if our region is meeting the goals of its growth strategy.

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