Photo courtesy of Harbour Air Seaplanes
Richmond, an economic hub in the region
Published 3:31 PDT, Fri March 20, 2020
Did you know the world’s first all-electric commercial seaplane was launched in Richmond and that a Richmond-based company is a global leader in batteries for electric ferries? Did you know only 12 Canadian companies were named in the world’s top 100 companies in green technology innovation in 2019—and one is here in Richmond?
All are examples of how our City is becoming a leader in sustainable technology, and high-tech businesses are drawn to the many opportunities in our beautiful city.
Richmond is no ordinary home. It has everything needed for an international hub of trade, business, technology, and tourism. Our location and cultural diversity make it ideal to do business with people from around the world. The education and skills in our workforce are above the provincial and national average.
But we can do more to ensure future economic development.
Land for general light industrial uses such as manufacturing, warehousing, distribution processing etc., is in strong demand. We need more office space to attract a wide range of business types from regional office centres to technology companies, specialized medical services, international trade, and others.
The City’s Industrial Land Intensification Initiative is looking at existing use of industrial land in Richmond and if changes to policies and bylaws will help protect land for industrial use and remove barriers to more intense forms of industrial development. We are also encouraging the development of space in the City Center so large technology and other office-based businesses can locate near transit and other amenities employees seek. Additional office space is expected to be constructed along the Canada Line corridor as part of significant mixed use developments such as the Lansdowne Mall redevelopment.
Almost 34,000 people come to Richmond for work, making it a major employment centre for the region. Transit plays a big role in making that happen. Capacity on the Canada Line recently rose by 15% during peak hours with four new trains. Eight more trains will be in service later this year, increasing capacity by 35%. A new RapidBus service is also expected to connect Richmond with the Expo Line.
But not everyone can use transit and many goods rely on road. That’s why the City is working with government on improvements to the Steveston Highway Interchange at Highway 99 and a preferred long-term solution for the Massey Crossing.
Our preference, of course, is for people to call Richmond home rather than just a place of work. A recent Richmond Chamber of Commerce survey found 87 percent of business owners identified housing affordability as a recruitment barrier, while 76 percent said they were struggling to retain employees.
The City is committed to playing a leadership role to increase the supply of affordable housing in Richmond. Over the past decade, the City has secured over 1,400 new affordable housing units for low income households, plus 800 market rental units for moderate and middle income households. These provide a crucial supply of housing for families, seniors, individuals living alone, and a range of other priority groups in Richmond.
Along with numerous social benefits, affordable housing provides direct and indirect benefits to the local economy through construction and a crucial supply of workforce housing. Investments in affordable housing are crucial to creating a diverse, inclusive and strong community and reflect Council’s strategies to build a sustainable and environmentally conscious city with a healthy economic sector.
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