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Economic Development

With a collective population of over 240,000 people as of 2021, the Tri-Cities region has experienced significant growth moving into the 21st century. This growth is embodied by major projects like the hi-rise residential development in Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam, and the Evergreen SkyTrain extension running through Coquitlam and Port Moody.

While it’s no surprise that the region looks different today than it did before, it can be difficult to think about how that change occurred over time. This is what economic development is all about; it encompasses each and every force that acts to continuously turn a rural train port into a thriving urban centre.

How Do You Measure Economic Development?

While you can’t measure the forces involved in economic growth quite like you can the factors present in a physics equation, you can find common linkages and trends that inform you how a city is performing. You can then make development plans based on where you think the city ought to go from there.

Economic development largely involves attracting the right kinds of investment to your region.

Click on one of the topics below to jump to the corresponding section and learn more:

Sustainable Development

When discussing sustainable development, you’ll often hear institutions mention their triple-bottom line. This term reflects the fact that sustainability requires multiple moving parts working in tandem to be – well – sustainable. Specifically, a city’s triple-bottom-line consists of economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

  • Economic Sustainability: keeping a city profitable, competitive, and attractive to investors.
  • Social Sustainability: maximizing the quality of life and well-being of those living in the community.
  • Environmental Sustainability: managing growth in a way that minimizes environmental impact.

Although you will see some variance from city to city, you are bound to notice the three pillars of the triple-bottom-line approach appear throughout any city’s official development planning documents.

Listed below are official city plans and web pages that are relevant to this concept of sustainable development. Click the links below to travel to each city’s website to find out more.

City Resources

Doing Business in the Tri-Cities

The Tri-Cities region has experienced population growth at a rate far beyond the national average over the 21st century thus far. As a result, the region is more commonly being referred to as a distinct urban core within Metro Vancouver. This is for good reason; each of the Tri-Cities have gradually curated their own key industries to keep their economies relevant, competitive, and diverse. All things considered, business capacity in the Tri-Cities is set to grow.

This section covers why you should consider doing business in the Tri-Cities, and how to do so properly. It also makes note of the sectors that are currently thriving in each city.

Education and Training

A great way to inspire economic development is to attract talented, educated individuals to the area. Reputable educational institutions are great at doing this, as their client base consists primarily of such people. This then creates a positive feedback loop: big companies locate themselves near educated individuals, and vice versa. With all of this new investment, the area’s economy will be set to grow drastically.

The Tri-Cities region is situated near several respectable post-secondary institutions, allowing it to attract well-educated, diverse groups of people who are seeking employment and housing in urban centres. While the region is close to world-renowned universities like UBC and SFU, it has strong options for education within its borders as well.

Post Secondary
Post Secondary

School District No. 43 is the third largest school district in British Columbia, serving the entire region of Anmore, Belcarra, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody. The district administers over 72 schools: 45 elementary schools, 14 middle schools, 9 secondary schools, and 6 other facilities with a total of 30,100 students enrolled.

Optional education programs are available at all levels of schooling. Examples include French Immersion and Montessori at the elementary level. At the secondary level, students may enroll in French Immersion, Career Preparation Programs, Advanced Placement Studies for post secondary education, and alternate programs such as the Youth Parent Program, and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program.

SD43 also offers Continuing Education programs, which provide mature learners upgrades to secondary school completion (Grade 12), public service courses such as first aid training or legal information sessions, vocational and general interest courses, and business management programs. Courses are held throughout the school year.

Tri-Cities Economic Profile

The Economic Profile of the Tri-Cities is an in-depth report that outlines every aspect of what makes the Tri-Cities a great region in which to live, work, invest, and play. Specifically, the Profile contains statistics on population, labour, education, economic activity, and other categories that are relevant to entrepreneurs looking to move their businesses into the area. The demographic statistics present in the document are primarily sourced from StatCan’s periodic Censuses of the Canadian Population.

The Profile also contains information specific to living in each city, including – but not limited to – property taxes, utility rates, quality of life indicators, and access to transportation. While the Profile was primarily designed to assist business owners, anybody wishing to learn more about the Tri-Cities could stand to benefit from reading it.

Visit our Tri-Cities Economic Profile page to learn more.

Location and Transportation

The Tri-Cities region is situated in the Northeast Corner of Metro Vancouver. It has ready access to downtown Vancouver’s business district, which is approximately 30 kilometres west of the region’s centre. It is also linked to other municipalities by a network of highways, a rail transport system, and a SkyTrain line extension completed in 2016. The Cities of New Westminster, Burnaby, Pitt Meadows, and Surrey lie adjacent to this region, and the Canada-United States border is located roughly 30 kilometres to the south.

The Vancouver International Airport (YVR), the second largest airport in Canada, is located about 40 kilometres west. The Abbotsford International Airport (YXX), situated in the Fraser Valley region, is located about 50 kilometres east. The Tri-Cities region is also located conveniently close to the Swartz Bay and Horseshoe Bay ferry terminals, providing access by sea to Vancouver Island and northern BC.

The mild climate present in the region keeps locals comfortable year-round. At the same time, each season is distinctly different, offering fresh opportunities for recreation as the weather changes.

Quality of Life

While seemingly unimportant at first glance, the quality of life in an area can make or break the attention it gets from outside families and investors alike. This idea runs parallel to the concept of social sustainability outlined in an area’s triple-bottom line. To put it simply: if the locals aren’t happy, development won’t be sustainable in the long-run. A region that maintains its quality of life will sustain its population and attract outside investment.

The Tri-Cities region offers a fantastic quality of life with its tight-knit neighbourhoods, ample green space, and rich cultural background. Residents can enjoy walking trails, local festivals, theatre productions, and state-of-the-art recreation facilities, all in one place.

Despite being an urban core with access to shopping facilities, restaurants, and rec centres, the Tri-Cities region has unique access to gorgeous municipal and provincial parks – all within its borders. Just minutes away from Coquitlam’s city centre, for example, Minnekhada Regional Park offers great hiking opportunities and sightseeing. As well, locals looking to beat the heat in the summer months can drive just a few minutes north to public lakes in the villages of Belcarra and Anmore.

Municipal surveys taken throughout the Tri-Cities have shown that an overwhelming majority of residents say they either have a good or a very good quality of life in their city.

Parks, Recreation, and Culture by City
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