Metro Vancouver: cities need to protect shrinking industrial lands

Transit is a threat to the region’s shrinking supply of industrial land, said the mayor of Burnaby.

As soon as transit is put into an industrial area, developers start putting pressure on cities to allow residential projects nearby.

A report entitled “Regional Growth Strategy Implementation Guideline #5: Industrial Land Protection and Intensification Policies” revealed cities in Metro Vancouver is facing a dilemma of preserving industrial land and that too much of it has been converted into residential lands while dealing with the rising population in the area. It also entaled how to get more out of existing industrial land, by encouraging landowners to build higher or use less space for parking lots.

Committee members brought up that Metro Vancouver is protecting its agricultural lands but losing its industrial landsand that the land around transit is increasingly becoming residential. There was also diccussion on the pressure to develop the land near transit as residential along with pressure on owners to convert agricultural land to industrial.

“Once you put the SkyTrain in, the land becomes too valuable to remain as light industrial,” said Derek Corrigan, Burnaby mayor and chair of the committee. “Now it starts moving to residential, and usually, high-density residential. That means that lands becomes much more valuable, and whoever’s sitting on it, says ‘I want to sell this land, my business can go somewhere else but here.’ We are, in truth, pushing them out.”

One example is Burnaby where all along the SkyTrain where were once industrial lands and are now turned into residential. Another example of this is the Canada Line in Richmond. Since it was built, more condominiums and apartments have been and are continuing to be built around it, as well as around the city centre area. However, only some of the Canada Line was built on industrial land, not all of it.

PS: This was originally pitched in October 2014.


About eboe00

Erin Boe is a journalism student at Langara College in Vancouver, B.C.
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