Langley Advance Times is offering this weekly feature, call it “At Your Service.”
It’s a forum in which to put questions to our local politicians about key issues facing our community and its residents.
Using a basic question-and-answer format, elected officials will be asked one question at a time and given the opportunity to respond (to a maximum of 250 words) on that said issue.
Alternating between elected groups, Langley City and Langley Township councils, Langley School Board, Langley MLAs, and Langley MPs each have a chance to participate.
The answers provided will be published in their entirety online each Sunday.
Langley City councillors are being asked: What is and should the City be doing to encourage the highest and best use of its industrial lands – to create jobs and strengthen the tax base?
Mayor Val van den Broek
A. As a fully built out city 10km2 in area, Langley City can only grow through redevelopment and by intensifying existing land uses.
The land use policies within our newly approved Official Community Plan focus that growth with close proximity to transit, park amenities, services, and infrastructure.
Langley City is a job magnet.
In 2016, over 2,000 more workers commuted into the City than commuted out of the City.
Langley City also provides significant industrial and mixed employment areas that will allow a range of future industrial and commercial uses.
A mixed employment land use designation allows the greatest flexibility and diversity of employment uses, including office, research, and post secondary educational uses.
More specifically it allows:
• mixed use: light industrial & commercial
• light industrial
Also, employment densification encourages the intensification of use and redevelopment of industrial and mixed employment lands in order to maximize employment and taxation benefits.
We’re also working on an innovation boulevard along Glover Road, between the civic and historic cores and Kwantlen Polytechnic University – creating the most effective means of incentivizing and attracting innovative businesses including green enterprise and those that contribute to the circular economy.
Councillor Paul Albrecht
A. This is an important question, as I believe a strong local economy sustains a strong and successful community.
That said we can and should always be open to make improvements to help strengthen the opportunity for employment in our community.
The City’s new/updated Official Community Plan (OCP) includes an industrial land use that preserves and enhances the current industrial land inventory, as well as enables further intensification of our well-established industrial lands.
The OCP has also introduced new mixed employment land uses along some key corridors that will provide opportunities for new and innovative mixed industrial/commercial developments.
The City has been sensitive to providing some flexibility into the OCP to help facilitate and accommodate creative opportunities as they may arise.
It is important for the City to enable the highest and best use concept of industrial land use to reflect the latest trends and best practices for the development of industrial land in our region, support current employers, as well as to attract potential employers.
I believe that we need to remain open to innovative and creative ways to maximize the use of our limited industrial lands, which in turn supports a strong and vibrant local economy.
Councillor Teri James
A. The City’s new Official Community Plan includes an industrial land use that preserves and enhances the City’s core industrial land supply and activity in the Production Way, Duncan Way, Logan Avenue and Langley Bypass areas, and enables further intensification of this well-established industrial land base.
The City is also updating its industrial and mixed employment zoning to continue to enable highest and best use, resulting in significantly denser, taller industrial developments with mixed industrial and commercial buildings within the OCP’s industrial and mixed employment land uses.
This is in keeping with the latest trends and best practices in industrial development occurring in the region.
The desired result will be significant job creation and additional industrial use contribution to the tax base.
Councillor Gayle Martin
A. The City’s new Official Community Plan (OCP, adopted 2021) includes an ‘industrial’ land use that preserves and enhances the City’s core industrial land supply and activity in the Production Way, Duncan Way, Logan Avenue and Langley Bypass areas, and enables further intensification of this well-established industrial land base.
The OCP also encourages new industrial development along the Langley Bypass, and the City will be doing planning in the future to increase industrial densities and development opportunities along this key regional corridor.
The City’s existing road and highway network supports ease of access to industrial development and activity, as well as to the regional/national highway system, and hosts a series of high profile locations for new industrial and mixed industrial/office developments.
The City is completing a new Master Transportation Plan update to further improve goods and people movement into the future.
Councillor Nathan Pachal
A. With excellent highway access and rail service embedded into our industrial areas, Langley City has some of the best industrial lands in Metro Vancouver.
The region has an industrial land shortage, and both past and current Langley City councils have voted to expand our industrial lands and employment lands.
Langley City’s new Official Community Plan includes an “innovation boulevard” concept for the areas around Glover Road – near Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) and the Duncan Way industrial area.
The City will be working to develop a plan, in partnership with KPU and others, to encourage research-based businesses, tech businesses, start-ups, and maker spaces in the area. The co-location of KPU and these types of companies will help create good, long-term, and green jobs for our community.
The City is also working on improving infrastructure to support our industrial area, including building sidewalks and enhancing the streetscape and access to future SkyTrain stations. Most of our industrial areas are within 10-minute walks of SkyTrain, making these locations attractive to employers as it expands access to the employment base of our region.
The saying goes that time is money.
Langley City is known for its timely and predictable development process. When businesses choose a place to be, they will select Langley City due to our business-friendly city hall.
Councillor Rudy Storteboom
A. The importance of working with industrial property owners to preserve and redevelop industrial property is necessary for a positive economic future.
In a changing world, our light industrial lands in Langley City continue to provide good jobs, products, and services.
As residential density increases and transportation expenses continue to go up, the need for good jobs close to home grows more important to Langley City residents. Likewise, owners of underdeveloped properties are under pressure to increase efficiency and productivity to offset rising costs.
Langley City needs to continue working with industrial property owners to identify and promote best uses, as well as the potential marketability of our industrial land supply by:
-assessing properties for highest and best use,
-identifying the strengths and weaknesses with opportunities and challenges for investment and redevelopment of industrial land,
-identifying and facilitating properties that require environmental study and possible remediation,
-pre-determining possible land assemblies to encourage investment,
-servicing industrial areas with infrastructure improvements that may be required through cost-sharing agreements.
Langley City recently established a new Official Community Plan for the future.
Now, a review of our zoning, transportation network, and parking policies are in process.
Our city is small in size and numbers, but we are operating efficiently and we can respond quickly to changing market trends and conditions.
Our collective future is strong and our industrial lands are an important part of Langley City.
Councillor Rosemary Wallace
A. Langley city council adopted the Official Community Plan in 2021. This comprehensive plan is one that incorporates a wide range of creative ways of bringing forth new and innovative development, enhancing the Langley City core while preserving and encouraging new industrial land use.
Langley City is updating its industrial and mixed employment zoning to continue to enable “highest and best use-significantly denser taller industrial developments ( up to six storeys) and mixed industrial and commercial buildings.
I am particularly inspired by the innovation boulevard plan, which will look at mixing research, hi tech, office, residential ( including student housing) and commercial development into district neighbourhood areas and individual projects – which will further intensify the use of existing and increase the tax revenue per square foot/acre.
This new development will support a liveable, walkable city and support transportation options connecting to transit and cycling, incorporating green infrastructure.
The development/rezoning process is efficient and timely-new industrial developments can be approved by council and begin construction and break ground in nine months.
Next week’s Langley Township councillors are being asked: To further foster food security, what should the Township do to encourage more productive farm use of land in the ALR?
Watch for their answers online next Sunday.