Regional Industrial Lands Strategy

The development of the Regional Industrial Lands Strategy was a collaborative process guided by the Industrial Lands Strategy Task Force between 2018 and 2020. The Task Force included representatives from some Metro Vancouver member jurisdictions, the Provincial government, TransLink, Port of Vancouver, and the private sector.

The finalized Regional Industrial Lands Strategy was approved by the Metro Vancouver Board on July 3, 2020.

Purpose of the Regional Industrial Lands Strategy

Industrial lands are crucial to supporting a prosperous, sustainable regional economy and to providing space to accommodate the industrial services needed in our growing region. In 2011, about 23% (275,000) of the region’s jobs were accommodated on industrial lands.

The Regional Industrial Lands Strategy (RILS) is intended to establish a vision for the future of industrial lands across Metro Vancouver to the year 2050, and to provide a set of recommendations to guide a broad range of stakeholder actions to achieve that vision.

How we use Industrial Land in our Region

Metro Vancouver’s industrial lands are used mainly for transportation/warehousing, wholesale trade, retail trade, manufacturing and professional/technical services. Many of the activities on the region’s industrial lands provide for the local day-to-day needs of the region’s population, providing locations for services like regional utilities, vehicle repair, hotel laundry services, catering companies, couriers, breweries, small scale manufacturing, and craft/artisan design space. In our port-based region, a significant amount of land is also needed for container storage, warehousing, freight forwarding, and other distribution functions that keep the region connected to Canada and the rest of the world. For more information on how the region utilizes industrial lands, please see Metro Vancouver’s 2015 Industrial Lands Inventory Summary Report.

Issues and Challenges

Due to a constrained land base and strong demand for all types of land uses, the regional supply of industrial land is under significant pressure for conversion to residential, retail and commercial uses, all of which currently command higher land values. Demand for industrial land is also increasing, and under current levels of densification, the shortage of industrial lands in the region is expected to worsen over the next 10 to 15 years.

The shortage of industrial lands and associated increasing land costs could slow job growth, discourage businesses from locating or expanding in the region, result in some firms leaving the region, and potentially result in some industries advocating for the industrial utilization of non-industrial lands. Conversely, negative regional impacts associated with some types of industrial activity, such as noise, odour, and transportation congestion, may be alleviated by slower industrial growth in the Metro Vancouver region and/or by encouraging some industrial growth to focus in areas outside of the Metro Vancouver region.

These complex challenges and trade-offs require a regional vision and strategic responses from various stakeholders and orders of government, including municipalities, industry, and regional agencies.