Metro Vancouver approves industrial use for South Campbell Heights

Weighted vote passed 134 to 82, with City of Vancouver representatives split

warehouse - getty images - shannon fagan
Workers move pallets in a warehouse | Getty Images / Shannon Fagan

In a contentious vote, Metro Vancouver's 40 directors, with weighted votes, approved by a 134-82 margin Surrey's request to redesignate South Campbell Heights land for employment purposes.

The vote was important because it paves the way for rural land in Surrey, near Langley, to be able to be used for industrial purposes. 

CBRE statistics show that region-wide, Metro Vancouver in the second quarter of 2021 had an all-time low 0.6% industrial real estate vacancy rate. Colliers pegs the region’s industrial vacancy rate at an even lower record level: 0.5%.

Industry insiders and supporters say that the region is in a crisis, with insufficient industrial land for local companies to expand, and for foreign companies to be able to locate regional distribution centres.

Low vacancy means local manufacturers could be pushed further east, into the Fraser Valley – prompting trucks to spend more time on roads congesting traffic, spewing greenhouse-gas emissions and adding distribution costs to the price of goods.

CBRE statistics show that the average asking price for leased industrial space in Metro Vancouver jumped 7.2%, to $15.01, in the second quarter of 2021, compared with the previous quarter.

Since the start of 2017, the asking price to lease industrial space in the region has soared 72.9%.

"The majority of the support came from Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Delta, Surrey, Langley Township, Maple Ridge and Anmore," said Gary Pooni, who is a planning consultant working with Beedie. 

Vancouver representatives were split. Councillors Pete Fry, Melissa DeGenova, Lisa Dominato and Mike Wiebe voted in favour, whereas councillors Adriane Carr, Christine Boyle and Colleen Hardwick voted against. 

Richmond councillor Harold Steves told BIV before the vote that he wanted the land to stay rural in part for food security, and environmental sustainability reasons.

He said he believes that Metro Vancouver has sufficient industrial land, and that owners need to densify their land with multi-storey warehouses.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom