Beaumont has been fortunate to be one of the fastest growing communities in Canada for many years. In fact, in the most recent census, Beaumont was named the fifth fastest growing community in the country. There are now 18,320 people we call friends and neighbours. In January this year, we more than doubled the size of our Town through annexation.
With growth comes challenges, however. The cost to maintain roads and other infrastructure is growing even faster than our population. In most communities, property and business taxes from industrial and commercial developments subsidize services and infrastructure used by residents. However, 95% of Beaumont is residential - meaning we rely almost exclusively on residents, and residential property tax, to carry this tax burden.
The current Town Council has proposed to use the vast majority of our new lands for residential purposes, with only a very small portion to be used for light industrial and business parks. In order for Beaumont to grow sustainably, this area needs to increase substantially, ideally from Highway 625 up to 50th Ave.
Increasing land zoned for business and commercial development will also allow us to take advantage of existing uses for land around 50th Ave to blend with residential to the north.
Zoning more land for business and commercial development then actively seeking out new businesses to locate here and prosper will help to even out the ratio of who pays for town infrastructure and services.
Few people want their homes to back directly onto even the most beautifully designed business park, but using the Agricultural Society's lands as a buffer allows for a smoother transition from job-producing lands to residential neighbourhoods.
As we grow new neighbourhoods, we need to be conscious of the types of communities we are building. Many of us live in Beaumont because we don't like homes crammed into neighbourhoods like sardines in a tin. We need to build whole communities, that incorporate green space, schools and amenities that connect neighbourhoods. We need to work with our regional partners to ensure that we're not restrained from building places that give families the room they need to breathe.
This is how we will build a better Beaumont.