Metro Vancouver is made up of 21 municipalities that are home to nearly 2.5 million people. Even though just kilometres apart, each has distinct characteristics that set them apart. From the proximity to natural resources to demographics to density, the mayors in charge of growing the local economy while also meeting the needs of their residents have no easy task. That’s why each year we hold the NAME awards to a deserving few who have stood out for their efforts.
Most Fiscally Responsible: The District of West Vancouver
Accepted by Mayor Michael Smith, the District of West Vancouver has managed to keep the annual average inflation rate at 1.49% for development fees over the past 16 years. This has been a big achievement for a municipality with a minority group that heavily opposes any development. At the awards panel, Mayor Smith expressed his “sincere empathy” for anyone who tried to develop in West Van, as it “took 15 years to develop only half of the Evelyn Site by the Onni Group.”
The Most Improved: City of Maple Ridge
This award goes to the City of Maple Ridge for the second year in a row. Led by Mayor Nicole Read, the city has allowed for a 38% reduction in development fees from 2014 to 2016 due to their incentive programs and a 17% decrease in processing timing to 150 days.
Mayor Read shared that Maple Ridge is “the third fastest growing city in Metro Vancouver with the average age of 39 years old. As a young city, we are rebranding to show that we have a lot to offer. Right now we are focusing on developing commercial and industrial land. I welcome developers to take a personal tour of our municipality.”
Most Business Friendly Municipality
Tied for the award are the City of Maple Ridge, the City of North Vancouver and the District of North Vancouver. All of these municipalities have demonstrated a dedication to creating a positive environment for commercial development in their respective municipalities.
For Mayor Darrell Mussatto of the City of North Vancouver, this is the fourth straight year winning this award. Even though a small city spanning just 12km, Mussatto shared that any growth has been through redevelopment, noting, “We really try to encourage development to happen sustainably.” This is quite different than Mayor Richard Wilson of the District of North Vancouver, who has had more development in the last two years than the past 25 years.
To learn more about the challenges these mayors face in their respective municipalities, keep an eye out for our next blog post by following @naiopvancouver!