LETTER: Ag land lost, future jobs lost

City of Abbotsford is proposing to change agricultural land into industrial land …

The City of Abbotsford is proposing to change agricultural land into industrial land to meet the employment needs of the next 60,000 people who move to Abbotsford.

The Industrial Land Strategy is the planning document that recommends this approach.

The plan provides a general discussion on employment but does not estimate a specific number of jobs needed on industrial land to meet the city’s employment needs.

The general numbers do give us an idea of the role industrial land will play in meeting the employment needs for Abbotsford in the future.

Currently 35 per cent of the population in Abbotsford work in jobs outside of the home. That means 21,000 of the 60,000 people will need jobs.

Only 65 per cent of those working outside of home work within the City of Abbotsford so Abbotsford only needs to provide 13,650 of those jobs.

Currently 25 per cent to 30 per cent of the jobs in Abbotsford are on industrial lands. So Abbotsford needs 3,500 to 4,000 more jobs on industrial land to meet the employment needs of the next 60,000 people in Abbotsford.

The arguments today for more industrial land are the same as the arguments used in 2005 in the City in the Country plan.

The ALC excluded 445 acres in support of that plan. A drive through the land excluded finds lots of truck parking and construction material storage, not the high-density industrial promised by the City in the Country plan over 10 years ago.

When agriculture land is lost, the future jobs connected to that land are also lost.

Increasing the density of use on the existing industrial land should be the first step in expanding jobs in the industrial sector. That step may be sufficient to provide the jobs that Abbotsford is looking for.

Mark Robbins

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