and the hub of
Maple Ridge has been struggling with commercial tax revenue, which creates a burden on the residential taxpayers and deprives residents of amenities and services. I will focus on providing leadership in developing innovative strategies that take advantage of our unique resources and geographic location. It is important to plan infrastructure to support both the creative and high-tech industries, as well as to propose strategies as a catalyst for expanding our Ecotourism and farming industries. At the same time, we need to tackle the tough challenge of cleaning up and revitalizing our downtown core, and once again make it safe and a good place to do business.
We need to work with local business, not against them, in planning our land use with a clear vision that Maple Ridge is the destination for Ecotourism and the hub of Innovative Technologies.
Economic development to improve commercial tax revenue and create local jobs
A majority of Maple Ridge’s revenue is from residential tax. Increasing commercial tax is going to require unique strategies that embrace our resources and geographic location.
- Creating a welcoming environment for mid- to large scale resort lodging, investing in infrastructure, and encouraging eco-friendly hospitality development will generate long-term revenue in hospitality, entertainment, culinary and maintenance support service jobs. One innovative idea could be a tiny house hotel and resort, located adjacent to rivers and forest for outdoor activities.
- A Technology Innovation Education Centre that is a collaborative venture of industry and education. The three-way partnership will provide a place where post-secondary students and industry can engage in practicum work in research and development, start-up program, where the city will facilitate the location, infrastructure and amenities.
- Developing Maple Ridge into a new unique tourism destination, offering a variety of family activities by developing multi-use trails, linking our beautiful natural environment with various small urban villages with artisan shops, cafés and restaurants. Further tourist destination activities can be developed along these routes to strengthen economic viability.
- Enhancing the village atmosphere to attract day-trip tourist, take advantage of our proximity to the largest metropolitan on the Canadian west coast. Maple Ridge will become a family outdoor activity destination where visitors can find restaurant, café and boutique shops at hubs between multi-use trails thru forest and riverside.
City planning that encompasses transit, livability and affordable housing
- Mixed residential, retail and office space development will stimulate local economic activity, and create a more vibrant downtown. This type of development will generate
good payingjobs and attract the tech and creative sector. Creating urban villages will further improve livability in other parts of town. These urban villages are to be connected by multi modepaths, providing a viable frame workfor alternate modes of transportation.
- Create a downtown revenue generating car-free weekend zones encouraging restaurant and shops to extend their space, creating centralized space for live music and performance. Allowing the use of large umbrellas and canopies to extend it for all seasons.
- Co-op housing, Tiny homes, investment partnerships. Look at existing funding models, work to connect non-profit and federal government,
- Enable approval for smaller unit size, reduce size but high functioning living quarters for single and double occupancy
Increase opportunities for seniors, youth and families for community engagement
(to be announced)
Implement waste management strategies that are sustainable and
We need a holistic view of Waste Management. An all-encompassing strategy on composting, recycling, bio-waste, e-waste, local jobs, wildlife, and education. It is logical that cost is reduced when a process is innovative, simplified and efficient, which cannot be achieved individually or by piecemeal. It will require pragmatic planning and sound strategies. Managing Waste is key to our sustainability
Innovative farmland use and food security
As property values increase, the question arises on whether farmland should be reserved for farming or utilized for other purposes.
Food security is directly affected by climate change, reserving land for food production should be a high priority. The current state of the ALR has made it a challenge for farmers to create or maintain a viable farming enterprise, due to the overall cost, but especially due to land cost.
We cannot afford to remove more land from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and re-zone it for more million-dollar homes, this only drives up land prices when less are available.
The Foodlands Trust Project is a proven solution to consider. FarmFolk CityFolk has partnered with the UBC Centre for Sustainable Food Systems to create the Foodlands Trust Project, an entity that will acquire and hold land and offer long-term tenure for community groups to manage the land for farming and foraging. The Foodlands Trust Project complements the ALR by facilitating affordable access to Foodlands. Placing land in trust essentially removes it from the private market and ensures use for farming and food activities. It addresses rising land values, non-farm uses, and speculation driven by market dynamics. This is not a new idea. Several decades ago the ALC (Agricultural Land Commission) owned farmland and leased it to farmers on 20-year leases.
We can create incentives for the growing Ag-Tech startups market. Economists are seeing Ag-Tech as the early days of the internet. From irrigation hardware engineered to beat the drought to biotechnology startups cultivating future cash crops, we have multiple startups here in the lower mainland looking for innovative ways to develop their technology. About $400 million in financing has already been invested. Those investments come from the likes of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,
We need to encourage innovative ideas such as ALR Country Market, farm stands, with restaurants and cafes in a village setting, with unique features like Goats on the Roof in Coombs, BC.
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