When it comes to industrial development, the small town of Pitt Meadows punches above its weight.
The South Bonson area of the city is home to both Pitt Meadows Airport and Onni’s Golden Ears Business Park – the latter being 200 acres of industrial land, with approximately four million square feet of space for warehouses and light industry.
The business park will house large Amazon operations – a 145,000 square foot delivery station, drawn to the area for its access to major transportation routes.
“They really try to be good neighbors and to work with the residents and with the city,” Mayor Nicole MacDonald said of Amazon. “I’m optimistic it will be a positive interaction with the community.”
The business park is already home to businesses like the PartSource auto parts store, Maxilite Manufacturing which manufactures lighting fixtures, AGS food manufacturing and many more.
The Golden Ears Business Park is being built in four phases, and phase three has space for lease, but the rest is fully leased.
Due to all the work being done at South Bonson, no industrial development is expected in the near future. The mayor said the city already offers plenty of room for light industry.
“At the regional level, we’ve done our part for industrial development,” MacDonald said.
The North Lougheed Connector, at the northeast corner of Harris Road and the Lougheed Highway, is seen as a residential/commercial site of the future, with potential for educational facilities, MacDonald said.
She said there could be potential for agro-tech education facilities there and noted that it was the last major piece of land to be developed in the city.
“It’s a development we have to do well.”
Maple Ridge, however, is actively looking to add employment land. The town was locked in two proposed business park locations by land within the farmland reserve, both in Albion and on the Pelton property near the northern access to the Golden Ears Bridge.
“It’s a priority. One of the issues that came up (during the election campaign) is the residential tax base,” said new Maple Ridge Mayor Dan Ruimy.
He said more industrial land was needed both for jobs and to diversify the tax base. The city’s commercial and industrial strategy identified a need for 170 to 230 acres of industrial land by 2040.
A consultant told the city it needed a total of 1,000 acres of commercial and industrial land, over the next 30 years, and to increase the non-residential tax base from 9% to 13.5 % – Lower Mainland average.
Sites have been proposed at 256th near 130th Avenue, on nearly 300 developable acres, on the Lougheed Freeway east of 240th Street, where nearly 50 acres could be developed on land currently used for the gravel mining, and Yennadon lands near 232nd Street and 128th Avenue.
The latter is a set of 13 properties that combine for 63 acres, which could be used for employment land. But it has been controversial for area residents, who say industrial use would negatively impact the environment and displace wildlife from the area.
City staff say the area could be used for the tech sector, offices or light manufacturing businesses.
Veteran city councilor Ahmed Yousef watched city hall staff work on creating employment lands over the past four years, and said the staff had done a commendable job of planning and rezoning, to create opportunities for investors.
“Maple Ridge is at a time and place where it has great potential,” Yousef said, but added it will likely take five to 10 years before politicians cut the ribbons on large-scale industrial developments. .
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