Doing Business in Chilliwack
Chilliwack has a great industrial support industry and is able to provide all the services that we require to maintain and operate our production facility.
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Langley Concrete’s Decision to Relocate to Chilliwack
December 11, 2015
The Langley Concrete Group made the decision in 2001 to combine their two production facilities, one in Downtown Langley City and the other on the west side of Abbotsford into a singular, large, modern precast concrete facility. When evaluating possible locations consideration was given to Langley (Gloucester Estates), Abbotsford and the eastern side of Surrey (Campbell Heights did not exist).
Traffic routes were a main concern not only for delivering our products but as well to receive raw materials as we struggled with the traffic volumes on ancillary routes in our Langley City location as well the Abbotsford location which, though close to the main highway, was in an industrial area with poor traffic flow.
Also a high concern to our company was the availability of a suitable labour pool as we had found that the demographics had changed significantly in both areas making it more difficult to staff our production facilities.
In order to address these two main concerns we spent significant time looking at the target areas, doing time studies for travel for both our delivery trucks and our incoming raw materials while also considering carefully the type of neighbourhoods surrounding the available industrial zoned land we required.
It became apparent that where we had targeted originally had significant drawbacks particularly revolving around the availability of the larger piece of property we required with the zoning we required, restrictive traffic flows and the availability of an employee base.
Our realtor recommended we consider our current location in Chilliwack in the Cattermole industrial subdivision as a possibility after two or three frustrating days of looking at properties primarily in Abbotsford and Langley as it appeared they originally offered the ‘best options’ which was not proving to be accurate.
After looking at the property, which had the proper zoning and size required, we approached the Chilliwack Economic Partners to inquire as to what Chilliwack had to offer in relation to our other needs and we began our examination of the impact of being further out than we had originally anticipated. Their advice and information provided to us allowed us to start recognizing the possibility of the value of considering the Chilliwack location as a serious option.
Cost of the land suddenly became an issue that provided significant attraction to us. We hadn’t originally considered the differentials in land pricing as Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford were fairly comparative and didn’t factor as a key differentiator. When the significant savings in the Chilliwack land purchase prices was factored in as compensation for slightly longer traveling time it became apparent the distance was not a deal breaker. It was also realized that with the development of the lower mainland over the next 20 years this could become a significant positive being out of the urban sprawl.
A further consideration that was pointed out to us by the CEPCO staff which we hadn’t considered was the willingness for the City of Chilliwack to work with us to begin our development and building process on a timely basis to accomplish our goals of building a great facility. In addition to this the tax rates were lower, along with lower DCC’s and development guidelines with much fairer application also became apparent as key advantages for locating slightly further out than we had intended.
When turning back to evaluate our original concerns we quickly determined that our drivers, when travelling west on Highway One, were much more time effective than travelling on the congested smaller highways and arterial roads they currently travelled through Surrey, Langley, Delta and Burnaby to reach the same point on their route to Metro Vancouver.
Since this time, the drastically improved Highway One corridor, with the connecting bridges and routes has provided drastic improvements to further these gains in speed to market. We can now utilize Highway One to link to north of the Fraser either over the Mission or Golden Ears bridges. With the new Perimeter Road we can quickly access Surrey, Delta, New Westminster and Richmond in a much more effective way. Obviously continuing on to Coquitlam, Burnaby and Vancouver is easier with the Gateway project which provides easier egress and exit getting us closer to our project sites.
In considering our move we had polled our employees of the pros and cons of having to relocate to Chilliwack. Though not all were entirely favourable, and we did lose some longer term employees due to this attitude, those that looked into the value of housing, location to the interior access routes, proximity to the U.S. border, the life style differences and the actual lower cost of living for themselves were positive on the move.
Since moving to Chilliwack we have found that those that made the move and stayed with us have been retained at a rate of over 90%. In addition, new staff we hired from the local labour pool have turned out to be of a high calibre and we have been able to retain them much easier than originally anticipated.
When we moved to the new facility we still had a significant number of both salaried and hourly workers living in the Abbotsford area and some in Langley and Surrey. Over the past 10 years we have found a large number have relocated to the Chilliwack area citing cost of living and lifestyle as their two biggest motivations.
Generally speaking the move for our company to Chilliwack has been very positive and financially rewarding. We have found the positives outweigh the negatives and just as the rest of the Lower Mainland is growing so does Chilliwack which makes it a better place to be as time goes on.
Chilliwack has a great industrial support industry and is able to provide all the services that we require to maintain and operate our production facility. Originally orientated towards the farming community many suppliers, machine shops, technical service companies and equipment providers are growing to be able to assist the many different companies and industries arriving in Chilliwack.
Our family, though hesitant at first, has accepted that Chilliwack is a great place to do business. The community is a strong working class area with a growing professional base which provides well for the existing business community and proves itself worthy of attracting others in the future. If you have any questions or comments on this communicatio0n please feel free to contact me directly.
The support and advice we received from CEPCO, combined with the business-friendly approach at the City of Chilliwack, was instrumental in our decision to invest in a new facility in Chilliwack.
Chilliwack is an affordable place to buy a home, start a business, and raise a family – things that enable people to have a sense of pride and belonging in a community.
Chilliwack delivered the perfect fit for our 24-acre auction site, which is approximately three times the size of our former Surrey site. It offers exceptional visibility on the Trans-Canada Highway, access to services (hotels, restaurants) and close proximity to major transportation routes, including the Abbotsford International Airport. The new site is convenient and also situated in one of the most beautiful areas in the Lower Mainland.