Abbotsford Tech District is a proposed new tech-focused community situated on more than 100 acres of land on Sumas Mountain. Thousands of people will live, study, work, and play here as the community is built out in phases. With a focus on Abbotsford’s powerhouse agriculture sector and strong aerospace cluster, the Tech District will host education, research, and commercialization across the tech sector.
The physical cornerstone of Abbotsford Tech District will be an integrated education, research, and commercialization hub - the B.L. Au Centre for Innovation and Food Security - that will gather a cluster of home-grown researchers and innovators as well as international tech companies. There will also be housing, institutional, commercial, hotel and conference spaces, retail, services, and community amenities designed to create a complete community in a natural setting with abundant outdoor recreation and trails.
Our goal is to provide outstanding local educational opportunities for young people, thousands of well-paying tech jobs, and a family-friendly residential community. We envision that the Abbotsford Tech District will allow young people to stay in Abbotsford for their post-secondary education, and it will help Abbotsford to attract and retain companies that would otherwise locate elsewhere.
There is no better place to do this – it just makes sense. Abbotsford is the Hub of the Fraser Valley. It’s the most productive agricultural community in Canada, with the potential to become the most innovative. It has a strong and growing aerospace cluster, with the potential for convenient direct flights to other tech clusters in the Cascadia Corridor. We want to embrace and build on those strengths in order to support a modern, vibrant economy that is deeply rooted in Abbotsford’s heritage.
We think Sumas Mountain is the perfect location for a large purpose-built high-tech campus in Abbotsford, and it compares favourably to potential locations elsewhere in the Lower Mainland. The prospects of success in bringing Abbotsford Tech District to completion are enhanced by a single landowner with a committed vision and the capital and ability to bring it to life. Unlocking the potential of Abbotsford Tech District will add value to the land, and the developer is committed to reinvesting in a major up-front community contribution.
Building out Abbotsford Tech District will continually boost Abbotsford’s economy over the course of decades. A private sector investment of billions of dollars will lead to thousands of well-paying local jobs and an influx of local spending – a rising tide that lifts all boats. The Tech District will also pay for community services and amenities, provide an influx of municipal tax revenue, and help Abbotsford get its share of new institutional investments and transportation options.
The timing has never been better for a major investment in affordable housing, well-paying jobs, and innovation - and we can't afford to let this opportunity slip away. With policy conversations around major institutional investments in food security and agricultural technology moving quickly, we need to move quickly to capture this generational opportunity for Abbotsford.
The proponent behind Abbotsford Tech District is Abbotsford-based Auguston Town Development Inc. Auguston is part of a family-owned international conglomerate that was built on a foundation of 77 years in educational publishing. Auguston has been gradually developing 1,000 acres of land on Sumas Mountain since 1995. We see our role as creating space where amazing things can happen, but bringing the overall Abbotsford Tech District vision to life will be a team effort requiring a wide range of institutional, commercial, and community partners.
We have revised and refined the plan for Abbotsford Tech District over the last several years based on stakeholder and community input, along with working to align the approach as closely as possible with local and regional strategies emerging from government, business organizations, and the community. On April 6, 2023, we submitted an Official Community Plan amendment to the City of Abbotsford - a public consultation will be happening soon before City Council votes on the proposed amendment.