The availability and affordability of industrial land in Abbotsford is the result of over a decade of efforts by the city. In 2004 the city submitted an application for exclusion to the Agricultural Land Commission asking to have approximately 900 acres in west Abbotsford removed from the ALR. In 2005, 450 of the 900 acres were approved for exclusion to facilitate job growth and expansion of the economy. The majority of the excluded land was centered between Mt. Lehman Road and Clearbrook Road, north to Highway 1 as well as the land surrounding the Abbotsford International Airport, areas which are now the Clearbrook, Peardonville and Abbotsford International Airport Industrial areas.
The approval initiated further planning and in 2010 local area improvements and servicing were approved for the industrial areas. The servicing included punching Marshall Road through from Clearbook Road to Mt Lehman Road as well as offsite servicing (storm, sanitary, etc.). The costs for the improvements were fronted by the city with a local area improvement tax or “parcel tax” being implemented to recoup costs. Property owners in the area are scheduled to pay back the costs over 20 years. The tax had a 3 year exception so in the summer of 2013 when the first payment came due, this seemed to turn a switch and initiate the increase in industrial transactions, which we are still experiencing today.
The most active areas are the Clearbrook and Peardonville industrial areas, currently there are 132 acres under application for rezoning and 450,000 sf of industrial development permits in stream. In 2014 the city saw 350,000 sf of new industrial space built and double the amount of building permits compared to 2010.
Businesses in the area are dominantly logistics, transportation and transportation related including warehousing and manufacturing. Logistics and transportation businesses benefit from Abbotsford’s location outside of Metro Vancouver’s carbon tax borders as well the proximity to Highway 1, the US border, CP and Southern railway and Abbotsford’s international airport. In 2014 the City of Abbotsford overhauled the zoning of the Airport’s surrounding land, allowing freight handling facilities and other airport related businesses. This change should see the logistics and transportation industries to continue to flourish in the area.
The City of Abbotsford, Planning & Development Services Quarterly Report, Q1 2015
The City of Abbotsford, Planning & Development Services 2014 Annual Report
The City of Abbotsford, Interim Industrial Land Status Report
Vancouver Sun, Shortage of industrial land stifling growth, report shows by Evan Duggan, Published May 26, 2015
Burnaby Now, Burnaby industrial land supply drying up by Anaya Fuller-Evans, published May 27, 2015