Langford Mayor Stew Young and McGill professor Avi Friedman outlined strategies to keep jobs and businesses coming to Langford.

Langford cutting costs for business, developers

Langford is cutting fees related to property development and construction in a bid to keep its economy growing.

Langford, a city long known for being business friendly, is cutting fees related to property development and construction in a bid to keep its economy growing.

Despite relatively low property taxes and a streamlined bureaucracy, Langford’s raft of amenity charges on land development has made it one of the more cost-heavy municipalities in the Capital Region.

Langford Mayor Stew Young announced Saturday that the City will cut fees by about 25 per cent that are related to property development. He also vowed to keep fee increases pegged to inflation for at least five years. Those policies still need to be passed by council.

“We are going to try not to take as much from the development community, not as much time, money or land,” Young said at Langford’s economic forum at Bear Mountain. “We want to make the business climate stable for the next five years. Having certainty is very important in this economy. We’re not in a downturn, but we’re not in an upturn either.”

Specifically, the City is looking to reduce developer amenity contributions, such as the amount of public open space extracted from new developments, the level of road and sidewalk improvements and the amount of bonding money, for instance, required during the subdivision process.

“We’re trying to reduce development costs by 20 to 25 per cent, but I suspect there’s 10 to 15 per cent more to come for developers,” said city administrator Jim Bowden.

Langford will also be looking at pegging business property tax increases to residential increases, relieving businesses of taking on more of the overall tax burden.

“We want to assist businesses that are here,” Bowden said. “We are looking at our tax policy. We want to make sure business taxes stay low.”

Although yet to be approved by council, the mayor said Langford’s property taxes will go up about 2.5 or three per cent, roughly the rate of inflation.

Permit fee reductions are part of Langford’s five-year economic plan to attract and retain businesses in the city.

Langford also needs to think about ways of capitalizing on projects such as the Seaspan shipbuilding contract by providing support services, and with the arrival of Rugby Canada, to promote sport tourism, said John Juricic, who sits on Langford’s economic advisory panel.

“Technology is the No. 1 industry for the region. Lets get some of those jobs,” he told the crowd of Langford developers and business owners.

At the invitation-only economic forum on Saturday, Langford also unveiled its “How To Guide” for new businesses and investors, written by Avi Friedman, a professor at McGill University’s school of architecture.

The guide highlights the city’s low taxes, high rate of population growth, greenspaces and recreation facilities. It distills the various business permit and property development processes into flowcharts and simple forms.

Friedman, who spoke at the forum, has been helping define Langford’s development philosophy over the past six years, said the How To Guide simplifies procedures, but also announces to investors and company owners that Langford is “open for business.”

“In tough economic times one must be fully cognisant of the fact that (cities) need to be competitive through simplifying processes,” Friedman said.

“Future economic forces will be challenging. You need to be open for business and to attract young families to support an economic development strategy.”




Just Posted

‘Not well thought out:’ Arizona family slams B.C. speculation tax

American family spends half the year in vacation home on Vancouver Island

Good things come in small, strong, fast packages

Sierra Gillis hopes to represent Canada one day in fastball or rugby

New UVic study to track decline of insects in Metchosin

Traps will be set to catch and weigh flying insects

Edibles sidelined in proposed amendments to Cannabis Act

Health Canada says edible regulation is still more than a year away

Paralympic dream for rider with cerebral palsy

Kim Scott’s goal is to represent Canada and won’t let anything, including cerebral palsy, get in her way

Canucks find scoring touch in 5-2 win over Blackhawks

Four Vancouver skaters have two points apiece in victory over Chicago

Family of B.C. wildfire victim wants better emergency preparedness for vulnerable people

Williams Lake’s David Jeff “fell through the cracks”

Senate backs bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Justin Trudeau reminded senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize pot

Lower water pressure, discolouration expected Friday in Gorge-Tillicum area

McKenzie interchange work could affect water for up to a week

Mainroad crews cleaning up after winter

Motorists warned to be on the lookout for roadside workers

The most “Victoria” way to watch baseball?

HarbourCats fans can now watch games from double-decker buses

Where Canadians buy real estate abroad: report

Hot Spots: Top 30 home-buying destinations for Canadians in the Americas

Ban on grizzly bear hunt, new rules take effect April 1

Taxidermists, tanners will have to report on any grizzly bears or parts brought to them

Most Read