Monday, February 01, 2010

Industrial Lands in the CRD

In December the final report on the inventory of industrial land use in the CRD was released and it clearly highlights some major warnings for the region with respect to industrial lands. This is the first report on industrial lands since 1983. The last report indicated that the region had ten year supply of industrial land.

The CRD has been losing industrial land over the last generation on a regular basis. Much of the industrial lands along the harbour have been converted to other uses, examples of this are the Vic West developments and Selkirk. This trend is not good and needs to be reversed or we will have significant problems.

The report shows we only have 2028.5 acres of industrial land under the jurisdiction of local governments. The airport and the naval base and both outside of local zoning and both offer industrial land use.

According to the report there is a need for another 156 acres of industrial land in the core area. Given the coming loses in Victoria, it is closer to 230 acres of industrial land that will be needed. Available industrial land in the core of the CRD is functionally not available. This means we are not able to gain jobs in the core and are pushing more jobs out to the peninsula or elsewhere. The lack of enough industrial land will lead to more commuting in this region. Not having this land will mean 3000 jobs that should be here will not be here.

Over 20,000 jobs are located in municipal industrial lands in this region. This is close to 12% of the jobs in the region. It would be more if the industrial jobs are the airport on on the Esquimalt base are counted. By not having enough industrial lands we will reduce job creation in this region and more specifically blue collar jobs.

The City needs to protect industrial lands and actively add more industrial land. It also needs to make it easier to consolidate lands for larger properties.

Ogden Point
The location is 84 acres of industrial land and water of which close to 33 acres is land. This land is still industrial but the use as a shipping point has dropped to almost nothing. I can not see how this land would continue as industrial given its location and difficulty of getting access to the site from elsewhere in the region.

North of Downtown/Rock Bay
The is a pressure to convert land in this area to residential. We have already seen the transition of the area just north of Chinatown into retail from industrial.

About 40 acres of the industrial land in this area in clearly under threat for redevelopment to non industrial uses.

The City could look at the auto dealerships along Douglas and shift them to industrial use over time. There is already one empty site that could be redevelped, the former Victoria Motors GM dealership. This is a 3 acre site and is well located for an industrial use. My hope is that the City would indicate that it will support industrial zoning here.

Oak Bay
Oak Bay has the distinction of having no industrial land. This is unreasonable and they should work towards having at least 30 acres of light industrial. Where can you find it?
Here are some quick thoughts:
  • South west corner of UVic - 6 acres
  • Around the Cadboro Bay Road - 3-6 acres of light industrial
  • Oak Bay Rec Centre area - 3 acres
  • Oak Bay Village - 3 acres

This gets you to 15 to 18 acres.

Light industrial need not be anything loud or smelly. Oak Bay should house some of the industrial lands of the region as it is not fair for one jurisdiction to not shoulder a share of the regional economic needs.

Saanich has 530.8 acres of landed zoned as industrial, 310.2 of these acres are the Hartland Landfill. The landfill is 100% of the heavy industrial land in Saanich. Without the landfill Saanich only has 220.6 acres of industrial land.

Given the importance of the University as an incubator of new businesses, it would make sense for Saanich to rezone lands near UVic into light industrial. As it stands, Vancouver Island Technology Park is not zoned as industrial. This should be changed

Saanich should consider transitioning the neighbourhood between Carey Road and Hwy #1 into industrial. It is not an ideal residential neighbourhood any longer.

The old Mount Tolmie school site is a good location for additional industrial. The school board must have enough space to not need this building. If this site were redeveloped for light industrial, the school district would financially benefit.

The problem in many of the areas of Saanich is that areas for new industrial zoning are already a residential neighbourhood.

Esquimalt is in an odd situation because so much of the municipality is under the control of the Navy. Much of the Navy land is in some form of what one could call industrial, but for the purposes of the economy of the region only the graving dock is relevant. This is an area of about 45 acres of heavy industrial. That one site alone more than doubles the

View Royal
There is a measly 3.7 aces of light industrial in View Royal all of which is taken up by one self storage site, a use that other municipalities have on non industrial lands. View Royal should make it clear that the site of the The Fort Victoria RV Park will be allowed to be used as industrial in future developments. This would add another 25 acres.

There are another 20 acres in the north east corner of View Royal that would be well suited for light industrial. This area is bounded by Watkiss Way and Helmecken Road. This land is outside of the Urban Containment boundary in the regional growth strategy. This should be reviewed and allowed to be released for industrial use. The location is well suited for transportation access.

Central Saanich
Functionally Central Saanich has the second highest amount of industrial land once one takes out the Hartland landfill from the Saanich inventory of industrial lands. This is why we have so many businesses and people work in Central Saanich on Keating Cross Road. Though 91.2 acres of this is gravel extraction, it is not unreasonable to assume this land could be other forms of industrial use in the future.

The Keating Cross Road industrial area has lead to longer commuting than should be the case in this region.

North Saanich
North Saanich only has 8 acres of industrial all of which is located on the north east edge of the airport and against the boundary of Sidney.

There is a need in North Saanich for marine industrial. The Seaspan terminal area would be a good start as would be some of the land around Pat Bay.

They are going a good job of providing industrial lands.

They have a surprisingly small amount of industrial land, I am really surprised by this and thought they have enough lands available to allow for more industrial.

Is there no space to have more industrial lands on the northern edge of the municipality?

They have done a good job of providing industrial lands.

Shockingly little industrial land in Colwood. Colwood really missed a chance to provide the region with major industrial lands with the former gravel pit lands. There was a chance for a 250 acre parcel of land to made available.

In understand that Metchosin is rural area and people want to maintain that, but it is not unreasonable for Metchosin to make areas along the Sooke Road available for industrial

First Nation Reserves
There is no comparable system to municipal zoning on reserve lands. These lands could all be used for industrial purposes. Ultimately these lands could be of huge interest to industry because it is really the only lands that are available for development.

One of the big needs in this region is for warehouse locations. Businesses do not have the space in the region to store the goods for businesses. The Tsawout First Nation reserve at Mount Newton Cross Road and the Pat Bay Highway is perfectly located for an industrial park focused on warehousing.

The First Nation has a reserve of close to 600 acres, more than enough space to create. The area of the Langford Box Box store are is only about 70 acres. It would not take a lot of the reserve to make a decent sized industrial park. It is also not too far from the Central Saanich industrial area on Keating Cross Road.

Heavy Industrial - The Worst Shortage
This is the classification that needs the most help in the region, if you take away the Hartland Landfill, this region has very, very little heavy industrial, most of it in the Rock Bay area.

When the city was much smaller than now, we had a lot more heavy industrial lands. As the city grew, no one planned for the future and figured out where we would make the heavy industrial lands available.
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