Supply and pricing of industrial lands for Gateway operations
The GVRD’s land area comprises:
72 % Green Zone and other non-urban uses,
of which 54,000 hectares (135,000 acres) is included in the Agricultural Land reserve.
Fragmented Land-Use Planning
20% Urban uses (residential, commercial and industrial) of which 10,500 hectares (26,000 acres) is industrial
8% Vacant urban land
74% of industrial lands are developed, 26% are vacant. 80% of vacant lands are located South of the Fraser River. In 2005, average waterfront industrial land values in the Region were as high as $5 million per hectare in the densely populated urban cores like Burrard Inlet.
Local municipal issues combined with the commercial realities of the real estate market, overlay a long term Regional growth strategy focused on environmental issues. This situation generates a patchwork of land-use policies across 21 municipalities, each driven by the need to optimize property taxation and zoning by-laws for budgetary purposes. Neither Regional economic benefits nor Gateway business figure prominently in this milieu.
Pressures to rezone higher value waterfront lands for residential use are intense. Yet residential developments in close proximity to 24 hour per day gateway operations inevitably lead to noise and other liveability issues for residents. As land values and property taxes rise, businesses and households are migrating to lower cost areas in the Region. Fragmented zoning policies drive businesses from higher cost urban cores to locate on lower cost industrial lands, where limited or no public transit services are available. This increases competition for available industrial lands and road congestion. If current trends continue it is estimated that all industrial lands will be developed by 2020.
To help address these issues and, at the same time, encourage expanded use of public transit, residential and commercial developments must be concentrated along transportation corridors throughout the Region, taking due account of noise and community concerns. The MCTS defines transportation corridors along which urban and commercial densification could occur.
Land-use Policies for the Gateway
Establishment of Gateway Land Reserve to ensure adequate, reasonably priced land for Gateway operations and growth.
Densification of residential and commercial development along transportation
Provide suitable “buffer-zones” between 24 hour per day Gateway operations and residential developments