Economic future of Township of Langley looking good
The news is good for British Columbia’s economic future and the Township of Langley is right in the mix.
Langley Township’s Economic Development Department hosted its second Economic Forum on November 14. More than 300 people came to the Langley Events Centre to learn how the community’s business climate will look in the years to come, and heard from a panel of experts that included Ken Peacock, Chief Economist with the Business Council of BC; Jordan MacDonald, co-owner of Frontline Real Estate Services; and Steve Nicol, owner of Lions Gate Consulting.
Mayor Jack Froese opened the discussion by noting the Township of Langley has a mission to attract, retain, and grow industry, investment, and jobs. “Diversifying and expanding Langley business is key,” he said, noting that “working here makes people want to live here too.”
The Township has a vision to maintain its livable, sustainable community and healthy economy in the years ahead through strategies that embrace the arts and culture, protect heritage resources, and enhance agricultural viability.
“It is people who truly make visions and plans come to life,” Froese said, and encouraged local business people to help achieve those goals.
Peacock provided an overview of the global, provincial, and local economy. He said there has been modest growth and “BC is in comparatively good shape.”
With its diversity of business, strong construction sector, new infrastructure, and rising population, there is “very good news for Langley as a growing community,” Peacock said. “It is a challenge to manage growth, but it has a lot of economic benefits.”
“Congratulations to Langley, you’ve done a great job of attracting businesses,” he added, noting that the Township is one of only two municipalities in Metro Vancouver that has seen the number of business licences issued grow every year for the past twelve years.
MacDonald said the Township’s affordable housing and large labour pool makes it attractive to employers and “Langley is a high priority market for retailers.” The Gateway area at the northern end of 200 Street is currently a focal point for attracting businesses, he said, thanks to its accessibility and central location. “Large national companies such as Great West Life, KPMG, Deloitte, and Pharmasave are all taking up big chunks of office space along this vital corridor in order to service the Fraser Valley in an efficient and effective way.”
Nicol discussed the new Economic Development Strategy he helped prepare for the Township’s Economic Development Department. Created with public input and endorsed by Langley Township Council, the document sets goals for the Economic Development Department that focus on business, people, and place. Priorities include forging relationships with businesses, creating partnerships to enhance educational opportunities and attract international talent, and ensuring infrastructure and land use strategies are in place to accommodate new businesses.
John Graham, Chair of the Township’s Economic Development Advisory Committee, who served as MC, and organizers of the Economic Forum were pleased to see so many business people taking an active interest in the community’s future.
“We held our first Economic Forum in 2009 and attracted just over 100 people,” said Township Manager of Economic Development Gary MacKinnon. “With three times that number coming to this year’s event, it is obvious people want to know what to expect and to explore ways to continue thriving as we look towards our very bright economic future.”