Michael Hind, Executive Director, Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce

With municipal elections coming up on November 15, one of the major issues our Candidates need to be thinking about is growth management in the Tri-Cities. With the Evergreen Line scheduled for completion in 2016 and an increase in population of nearly 100,000 people in the next 20 years, Tri-Cities City Council candidates need to consider how our cities become and maintain competitive as we grow.

Top 5 Growth Management Issues in the Tri-Cities

1.       Taxes and service. The Tri-Cities need to have competitive tax and service advantages in order to attract and retain business. Increasing business tax due to rising property assessment is not incentive for businesses to move to or stay in the Tri-Cities. We need to make the Tri-Cities an attractive place for businesses to move in permanently.

2.       Hotel and convention space. If we are going to encourage tourism and display pride in our home, the Tri-Cities must have hotel and convention space. The ability to host large, region-wide events in our cities will spur economic growth and paint the Tri-Cities as a robust community in which to do business.

3.       Transportation. The current state of development in the Tri-Cities means that the Evergreen Line will act more like a commuter train, transporting people out of the Tri-Cities to work in the morning and back home in the evening with very little traffic going the other way. We also need to integrate Port Coquitlam and the Lougheed Corridor with the Evergreen, develop solutions for moving people in and out of new areas like Fremont and Burke Mountain, and address regional goods movement throughout this growth.

4.       Affordable housing. Strong communities are diverse communities. We need to implement proper incentives for developers to diversify their market housing and rental housing offerings. With a variety of housing options available to a variety of income levels, the Tri-Cities will become a more diverse market. In reducing housing costs, Tri-Cities residents will have more to spend in local business.

5.       Office space. Unlike cities such as Surrey, New Westminster, Burnaby and Richmond, the Tri-Cities lack adequate office space. The cities need to provide incentives that will attract large businesses to act as anchor tenants, making office buildings viable for developers. Once those anchor tenant businesses see the Tri-Cities as an attractive market, we will see economic growth in our community.

The municipal elections take place November 15. We will be hosting All Candidates Meetings in each of the Tri-Cities leading up to election, giving you a chance to hear directly from your Candidates.  If you can’t make it to your local meeting, we will be offering the opportunity to ask your questions online. Stay tuned for more details.

All Candidates Meetings

November 3 | Port Moody, Inlet Theatre

November 4 |Port Coquitlam, Poco Inn & Suites

November 5 | School Trustee Candidate Meeting, Terry Fox Theatre

November 6| Coquitlam, Evergreen Cultural Centre

Michael Hind, Executive Director
Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce