Tuesday, November 26, 2019

10-step plan to enhance the protection of job-creating industrial land in Metro Vancouver

In Metro Vancouver, there are certain types of land that we protect. There is a long history of protecting agricultural land in British Columbia which dates to the 1970s.

We have been protecting land for conservation for even longer in our region. Two of the most significant conservation areas are our watershed in the North Shore, and Burns Bog in Delta. We are now starting to protect industrial land.

Why do these lands need to be protected? Agricultural land provides food security for our region which is critical. Conservation lands provide important ecological services to us, including clean drinking water and air purification. Industrial lands provide the space for manufacturing and logistics which provide good jobs for people in our region.

Because of the value of land in our region, if no protects where in place, you would see land transformed to its most profitable use. For example, waterfront industrial land would be transformed into luxury condos, and our watershed would be transformed into multi-million-dollar mansions. Burns Bog would have been the site of the PNE!

Metro Vancouver - Total Inventory by Detailed Type of Industrial Land Use (2015). Select map to enlarge.

Sometimes maximizing land value isn’t in the best interest of people in our region. Metro Vancouver is currently looking to enhance the protection of job-generating industrial land. It has a 10-step plan as follows:

  1. Strive for zoning consistency across municipalities for industrial land by developing a consistent definition of industrial and guidelines for permitted uses.
  2. Strengthen regional policy in the Regional Growth Strategy by increasing the minor amendment voting threshold for Industrial and other requirements.
  3. Recognize and protect trade-enabling lands in strategic locations through specific land use designations and increased direction for permitted uses.
  4. Conduct a Regional Land Assessment
  5. Encourage intensification of industrial uses in appropriate locations by removing unnecessary restrictions on increased development heights and densities and explore opportunities to incentivize such developments, as informed by regional guidelines.
  6. Develop ‘bring-to-market’ strategies for remaining areas of vacant land to proactively identify and address issues preventing sites from being developed.
  7. Coordinate strategies encouraging local economic growth, local business expansion, and attraction of investment across Metro Vancouver.
  8. Ensure transportation connectivity among the region’s industrial areas by working together to proactively designate, manage and coordinate investment related to the region’s goods movement network.
  9. Establish a broader framework for economic and land use planning collaboration between Metro Vancouver, neighbouring regions, and port facilities to support industrial land protection.
  10. Conduct a regional employment survey biannually to provide a better method of tracking changes in employment growth, land use, and built space over time.

Currently, industrial land is protected by a regional land-use designation. To remove land from this designation takes effort, including getting a two-thirds weighted vote approval at the regional board level.

This 10-step plan will further enhance the protection of industrial land. For more information, you can read the Regional Industrial Lands Strategy.

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