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They’re not making any more land, a truism with real-life implications for an increasing number of players in the Lower Mainland’s development sector.

“Fundamentally, we’ve run out of single-family land,” Peeter Wesik, president of Wesgroup Properties, told the Urban Development Institute’s (UDI) annual market forecast luncheon at the end of January. “[And] we’re running out of industrial land.”

This isn’t to say there isn’t land to be had, or ways of making better use of what exists, but it’s challenged by the four riders of the sector’s apocalypse: water, mountains, the international boundary and the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

Of these, the ALR is less of an obstacle to development than the others. It’s artificial, a tool put in place to protect one kind of use on the assumption that others – specifically, residential and industrial – would continue unimpeded.

But as Wesik pointed out, that hasn’t happened.

While pressure on farmland has increased, agriculture is largely insulated from the shortage other sectors are facing.

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