On May 17th, the City of Abbotsford hosted one of their first public events regarding the municipality’s Plan for 200k; Building the Hub of the Fraser Valley. This plan has been put in place to assess how the City of Abbotsford can grow into the “city of the future” with a population of 200,000 residents. The plan covers a variety of projects that act on the plans outlined in the updated Official Community Plan (OCP). The topic of the May 17th event was the Industrial Land Supply study, the first of many projects they will be exploring.
The presentation highlighted Special Study Area A and B in the Abbotsford OCP. The City of Abbotsford is currently exploring the option of applying for ALR exclusion for one or both areas. Area A, what is commonly known as the Bradner area, is bordered by Gloucester Industrial Estates to the East. Area B is the area south of Marshall Road, bordered to the North by the Abbotsford International Airport.
These areas were selected for the study due to being suited for industrial development based on five key factors:
- Existing Industrial locations
- Rail access
- Highway access
- Airport access
In addition to this list of criteria, there are supporting reports from PGL Environmental Consultants assessing soil conditions, drainage solutions, and transportation solutions, as well as identifying parcel sizes and farming solutions.
Based on the sentiments shared by those attending the open houses, there is strong support for a long-term solution to the industrial land shortage occurring in Abbotsford, and across the Lower Mainland. However, there are concerns from long time Bradner residents regarding heavy industrial uses being permitted “in their backyards”.
The open houses were part of the public consultation process in preparing the ALR exclusion application. The study process has been broken down into 4 steps:
- Background Research
- Site Analysis
- ALR Exclusion
- OCP Amendment
The next step will be the city presenting their findings to City Council to determine if an application will be made for ALR exclusion of Area A, Area B, or both. ALR exclusion of Area A and/or B would alleviate on-going concerns regarding the Fraser Valley running out of developable industrial land, inside of the next 10 years.
If you are interested in learning more about this project; the full Industrial Land Supply Study prepared by the City of Abbotsford and consulting firm Urban Systems can be found here.