Greater Vancouver’s Gateway Role
As residents and visitors move around our Region, they are reminded continually of Greater Vancouver’s gateway role. Air and cruise ship travelers from distant countries gazing at the natural beauty of our mountains and waterways, ships from around the world in our harbours, barges carrying construction materials, the hustle and bustle of rail operations at dockside and a continual stream of trucks, buses, skytrains and taxicabs. In many ways the Gateway defines Greater Vancouver’s character as vibrant, cosmopolitan and prosperous.
The Gateway is also the largest industry cluster in the Region, generating 75,000 jobs directly and contributing $1.9 billion in taxes to three levels of government. As Gateway industries buy goods and services and their employees spend wages in our communities another 64,000 jobs are generated. In total the Gateway supports one in every eight jobs in the Region (13% of the workforce).
A Bright Future
115 million tonnes of cargo and 16.9 million air passengers move through the Gateway. Cargo and passenger volumes, and the jobs and taxes they generate, are projected to double by 2030. As the Region’s gateway business expands, high-value logistics services like trade financing, insurance, logistics management and marketing, will locate here, as will new, knowledge based industries that rely on efficient international connections to compete effectively.
These are exciting times for the Region. Yet there are significant challenges ahead.
Population growth and expansion of international trade and travel are increasing pressure on the region’s road, transit, marine and rail networks - slowing the movement of people and impeding trade. Traffic is increasing. There are more cars, buses and trucks on the roads and more trains on the railways. The cost of congestion for the region’s economy is estimated at $1.3 billion annually.
Competition for available industrial lands is also increasing because of a constrained land base and rising property values. Gateway operations require room to expand and accommodate projected growth. However, if current trends continue all industrial lands in the Region will be used by 2020.
Although we know that we cannot build our way out of grid-lock, nevertheless there has been no significant infrastructure improvement since the 1980’s. Meanwhile, the Region’s population has expanded by 750,000 and is forecast to grow by another one million by 2030.
Partnerships - the Way Ahead
The transportation industry cannot do it alone. The way ahead will be through partnerships of governments and gateway industries working together to build needed infrastructure and ensure adequate, affordable industrial land is available for Gateway growth.
Success will mean a sustainable, prosperous future for this Region playing its full role as Canada’s Gateway to the Pacific.