The City of Spruce Grove has successfully attracted consistent new investment in its industrial parks; however, as with many cities in western Canada, it needs help managing the industrial land inventory. Most of the land currently designated for future industrial growth remains dormant, with a need for more investment to bring on new serviced industrial lands. In this economic climate, private land developers may or may not have the motivation to target new investment actively or to prepare their land to accommodate the immediate needs of potential new business.
Spruce Grove recognizes that an inventory of available lands to accommodate a broad range and mix of industries is critical from an economic development perspective. With the City’s competitive position at stake, it is necessary to actively seek ways to ensure the industrial land supply is adequate to accommodate the employment growth proportional to the City’s population growth.
The City of Spruce Grove partnered with GeoVerra and Altus Group to prepare an Industrial Lands Strategy to provide the City with various options to enhance its supply of serviced and readily available industrial employment lands.
The purpose of this study is to conduct an industrial lands strategy for the City of Spruce Grove, building on existing work and studies completed by and for the City, to:
- Assist the City in understanding the existing and future state of the region’s industrial sector and the current supply and demand characteristics of the City’s industrial lands;
- Help the City to accommodate better and respond to future forecasted demands for industrial lands; and,
- Provide options for the City to increase its supply of serviced, ready-to-go industrial employment lands.
Why GeoVerra – Trusted, Responsive, Reliable Solutions
GeoVerra partnered with Altus Group to deliver industry-leading economic consulting, cost consulting, and geomatics solutions. Our global expertise combined with regional market knowledge provides clients with greater insight to identify risks and maximize the value of their investments. Through our multi-disciplinary consulting and research teams, we help clients see the bigger picture and deliver the knowledge and insights to form broader perspectives.
Spruce Grove must expand its supply of serviced industrial lands if it is to remain viable as a location for new industrial development by ensuring an adequate supply of available service industrial lands over the short, medium and long term. The options presented were categorized into two broad approaches the City can consider in increasing the supply of serviced industrial land.
Approach One: Incentivize investment in Spruce Grove by existing and new industrial land developers through a combination of policy and regulatory changes to enhance the business case for developing industrial lands.
Approach Two: Having the City take a more direct role in acquiring and developing serviced industrial land.
The following tasks were completed in the preparation of the industrial land strategy:
- Background Review – Review background information, municipal documents, and consultant studies as necessary.
- Economic and Industry Overview – Provide background on Spruce Grove’s current competitive positioning within the broader regional/national industrial marketplace. Forecast future employment growth by sector given assessment of intended industrial direction/target markets to pursue based on discussions with the City and existing economic development research efforts conducted to date.
- Build Industrial Lands Database – Develop a GIS data model comprising the geographic layers used, attributes and spatial relationships. Using existing data (as provided by the City) and other relevant geographic and non-geographic data, GeoVerra developed a tool to update specific fields through spatial queries and business criteria to update the corresponding field/column in the database table.
- Assessment of Existing and Potential Lands – Create an inventory of all existing industrial lands and assess the suitability of existing areas with vacant lands, undeveloped and other potential industrial land areas with suitability to accommodate future industrial growth. Identify the servicing requirements, transportation access, municipal infrastructure and major utilities, and industrial lands servicing and delivery targets for 5, 10, and 20 years planning horizons.
- Review Planning Framework – With the assistance of the City, compile and review relevant plans and documents, approved or internal, containing plans, policies, strategies or standards related to industrial lands that might inform the current study or require integration with the recommended Industrial Land Strategy. Policy options on the designation, conservation, enhancement and disposition of employment lands were incorporated into the strategy report.
- Stakeholder Consultations – Facilitated multiple stakeholder consultation sessions with leading industrial land developers operating both within city limits and throughout the region; and additional members of the development community, including realtors, municipalities, business owners and Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT).
- Determine Employment/Industrial Lands Requirements – Project industrial land requirements by sector based on the economic development and macro industry overview. Prepare various growth scenarios by industrial land-use type, zoning categories and employment densities over the short, medium and long term. Analyze and compare existing industrial lands inventory suitability with designated or future potential lands to determine industrial land requirements.
- Cost Model – Develop a financial model that reasonably explains the costs required for bringing on new industrial lands. This will include, but not be limited to, land cost, off-site levies, servicing, stormwater facilities and grading, access, etc.
- Revenue Model – Based on the outputs of the Cost Model, develop a financial revenue model that analyzes the potential revenue opportunities for bringing on new industrial lands.
- Implementation and Strategic Options – Set out options and measures for proceeding and implementing the plan for the Industrial Land Strategy.
For more information on how the GeoVerra team can support your industrial planning project, send us a note at www.geoverra.com/contact
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