Craig Speirs

Proud to run for MAYOR of Maple Ridge

 

Economic Development

What we love about Maple Ridge is it beauty and easy access to its rivers, lakes, hills, farmlands, forests and those wonderful wild places also makes it difficult to place traditional employment generating industries. The trick will be to use what we have to create economic opportunity, without ruining what we love.

Our industrial areas have varied job per acreage ratios and we have work to do increasing that ratio on underutilized lands. We should maintain the present incentive plan and review it to see if it needs adjusting. We need to do more with what we have.

Last year we created an Industrial Land Reserve north off 256th that we will be able to activate when the conditions are right. This should also be reviewed as part of the planning conditions we put in place.

We have also recently expanded what you can do in a home-based business with the aim of increasing employment within our urban environment. Again, the program is new and will need reviewing next year. With over 1400 home based businesses in Maple Ridge its a program that will allow us to do more with what we have.

I do not support converting farmland to industrial or commercial uses unless those uses compliment or encourage agriculture or agri-tourism. Once farmland is lost its lost forever and if we ever need to feed ourselves we will need all of it. For me it’s a hard no.

Let’s not forget that agriculture also creates employment. We need to encourage agricultural enterprises, especially agri-tourism like the Laity Pumpkin Patch. I would like more examples to come forward and would be willing to offer incentives for new offerings.

Tourism is one or the industries that fits who we are and has the potential for growth. This is where our rich natural environment can help create our future. We just need to take advantage of it without degrading it. Wildplay is a good example, so is Cheesecrafters. A municipal campground would also spur more tourism, probably at Whonnock lake.

Our focus should be on lifestyle and things that compliment it. Doing so is a direct incentive for the types of businesses we are trying to attract. Quality employers are looking for communities with a unique and engaging lifestyle. The advantage for every citizen is we all get to live in a beautiful and interesting community. We all win.

We have to be aggressive in pursuing businesses that we find attractive, the old days of build a business park and they will come are over and we need to be more direct and go after businesses and industries that we know will fit our community.

Another incentive that would attract the businesses we desire is to extend and activate our fiber optic network. Presently we have been placing conduit when the opportunity presents itself and this year we have budgeted $150, 000 to take advantage of those opportunities. We have connected our fire halls to city hall so far which works for guaranteeing operational capability in a catastrophic event but we have to go further. I want to see a strategy created to use this to attract industries that need robust fiber optic connections. Incentives aren’t always financial.

The nature of commercial has changed with smaller boutique style retail showing growth because of the shift to on-line. Big-Box retail is dying but neighborhood scaled commercial is becoming more attractive for investment. We will have many new stores opening downtown over the next couple of years as more buildings are built that feature commercial on the main floor and housing above. We are also doing the same in neighborhood commercial nodes in Silver Valley and Albion. It makes things safer by having eyes on the street.

I have enjoyed the monthly Mayor’s Business Walk where mayor and council visit businesses, find out what they do and celebrate their success. I find it a wonderfully positive program and will continue it if elected. We should build on success.

 


Authorized by Craig Speirs 236-992-2569 © 2018 | Email: Craig@CraigSpeirs.com