City of Maple Ridge Strategic Plan – A Bold Vision
“Two roads diverged in a wood. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.”
Robert Frost’s words have deep meaning for a Maple Ridge at a crossroads. A City with many hallmarks of a commuter city. But also a City with a desire for something more. Self-sufficient – where we get everything we need locally. A 15 minute city where live, work and play co-exist in close proximity. Lifestyle-led. More food secure in a pandemic world that has underscored a need for some new ways forward. And as data revealed as strength, a maker of things for the world that lies in the potential of the fastest growing industry sector in Maple Ridge in the last 10 years: Manufacturing.
Enter a first-in-a-generation Economic Development Strategy – a catalyst for weaving together an ambitious story of Maple Ridge’s future – cultivated from extensive quantitative and qualitative analysis, and community engagement. The Strategy is grounded in a premise: that we can define a desirable future as communities and work backwards to identify policies and programs that will connect that specified future to the present. This differs from today’s worldview, where we forecast past to future which assigns Maple Ridge a commuter community fate. The Strategy pursues a bolder destiny with a Maple Ridge that can become a regional employment and export leader – in a region with acute scarcity of employment lands.
The Strategy encourages Maple Ridge to embrace the need for more non-residential land than projected. The downtown area has always been a focus but needs energizing, enhancement and dynamism. The world has changed and, in the past two years, it has changed even more dramatically. Nature and location of work is increasingly footloose – where we find value in attracting and nurturing more digital nomads, tech workers, professional services, and creative industries, some 20% of Maple Ridge’s current workforce. Enhancement of supports for local entrepreneurs, including the addition of four BR&E initiatives and the intent to explore “missing middle commerce” physical space solutions are presented in the Strategy.
The Strategy presents manufacturing as a sector focus and businesses who offer higher than average pay scales and innovative work cultures are part of the goal. One tactic implements an investment and resident attraction “Make It Here” brand and marketing campaign. Economic Development has already been developing this concept and has trademarked our slogan Make It Here with marketing collateral underway.
Formation of a post-secondary partnership to establish a physical presence in Maple Ridge is one of the priority actions within the strategy. Filling a void with the citizens in Maple Ridge who currently travel outside of the community for their studies; enabling graduates, talent to seek employment locally rather than leave the community.
The strategy creates a new, sharp and measurable vision statement that will provide consistency in goal setting helping residents and investors create pathways and connects dots towards an ambitious bold future for the Maple Ridge.