Effective use of land is key to a prosperous urban region and in Metro Vancouver, two keystone areas are town centres and industrial – also known as ‘employment lands’. Maple Ridge is contributing to these regional priorities by offering a range of development incentives in both its town centre and employment lands.
Promoting Downtown Brings People and Businesses
Maple ridge has created incentive programs that aim to draw people and business to the town centre.
“We know the region is growing,” says Laura Benson, the City of Maple Ridge Manager of Sustainability and Corporate Planning.” We’re going to be accepting a lot of that growth and we wanted to make sure that we did it in a way that really made sense for the community.”
Transportation Hub Supports Density
Creating a populated downtown transportation hub was a key goal for the city.
“We want to set example for sustainability in the region,” explains Maple Ridge mayor Nicole Read. “We definitely see our town centre as an opportunity to do that, to build out density and to have more people in space that attracts commercial business and more office space.”
The density created by this program reduces commuting and allows cities to focus their services in a more efficient way.
Amenities Breed Vibrancy
“Everything they need is right here within walking distance and the Westcoast Express station is just a few blocks away as well,” notes Benson.
She says the effects of the program are already visible downtown.
“There’s so many more people on the streets, there are people living here now…we’ve got farmers markets there on Saturdaya, we’ve got a lot of festivals in this town. The vibrant feel here is just incredible.”
The City Of Maple Ridge also introduced incentives focusing on industrial lands and employment.
“The employment lands incentive project is kind of the next piece of the puzzle,” says Benson. “We’ve got all this density in our town centre, we’re a growing community, we need jobs.”
Breaks for Business Build Local Economy
Incentives are given to businesses that maximize their industrial landspace.
“The incentives there again are some breaks at the front end when they are making the initial investment and tax exemptions for a number of years afterwards.”
A big part of this program is a new industrial park.
“One of the beneficiaries of this program are going to be businesses that come to the Kanaka Creek Business Park…the city is going to offer incentives to keep them going both on the front end to keep them going as well as tax incentives.”
Maximizing Industrial Land Use Protects Farmland
By maximizing the existing and new industrial lands it helps protect land that is less suitable for industry.
“So we don’t want to remove ALR land to create industrial space,” notes Mayor Read. “We do have industrial space right now that is under-utilized. So the fact that we have space available allows us to contribute to industrial growth in the region generally.”
Using incentives to manage densification and industrial land it’s clear that Maple Ridge is growing with an eye on sustainability.