BC Business Magazine - - Contents - Nick Rockel, Ed­i­tor-in-chief bcb@canadaw­ide.com / @Bcbusi­ness

Why B.C.’S cities are are in a good place

Like Bri­tish Columbia Ferry Ser­vices Inc. president and CEO Mark Collins (p.19), I grew up in New­found­land and Labrador. Hold the New­fie jokes, please: our east­ern­most prov­ince is a re­mark­able place that most Cana­di­ans don’t bother visit­ing, to their loss. (See for your­self in our travel story on page 66.) It’s also long had the coun­try’s high­est un­em­ploy­ment. When I was a teenager in St. John’s dur­ing the 1980s—liv­ing a com­fort­able mid­dle-class life—the job­less rate hov­ered around the high teens and low 20s. Af­ter the col­lapse of the cod fish­ery in 1992, un­em­ploy­ment stood at 20 per cent for three years—and the unof­fi­cial num­ber might have been dou­ble that. New­found­land still has its trou­bles: as of last Septem­ber, about 13 per cent of res­i­dents were out of work, ac­cord­ing to Sta­tis­tics Canada.

Al­though un­em­ploy­ment is an im­per­fect mea­sure of pros­per­ity, we have much to be grate­ful for in Bri­tish Columbia, where Septem­ber’s rate was a mere 5.2 per cent. Yes, we still have the coun­try’s worst child poverty, and sky-high real es­tate prices are help­ing drive the grow­ing eco­nomic inequal­ity we share with most of the world. But this prov­ince is a place of op­por­tu­nity, as shown by the fourth an­nual Best Cities for Work in B.C. rank­ing (p.29).

Launched in 2014 by my pre­de­ces­sor, Matt O’grady, this sur­vey draws on data pro­vided by re­search part­ner En­vi­ron­ics An­a­lyt­ics. It’s our at­tempt to present a snap­shot of cities through­out the prov­ince where in­comes are health­i­est and job prospects are bright­est. Ev­ery year com­mu­ni­ties rise and fall in the rank­ing, but I’d cau­tion them against dwelling on that. For one thing, most of the cities com­pare so favourably with each other that small shifts in the in­come and other met­rics we use can push them up and down. As you’ll see start­ing on page 32, this year it was my plea­sure to visit two of the names on the list: Daw­son Creek and Camp­bell River. Thank you to may­ors Dale Bum­stead and Andy Adams for their gen­er­ous hos­pi­tal­ity.

And thanks to long-time Bcbusi­ness contributor Steve Burgess for his grip­ping ac­count of Van­cou­ver bike shop owner Paul Dra­gan’s brush with death (p.42). In 2014, Dra­gan was gunned down by a for­mer em­ployee who bore a grudge. Burgess, a gifted jour­nal­ist whose ca­reer spans mag­a­zines, news­pa­pers, TV and ra­dio, found the right bal­ance be­tween drama and util­ity. Cap­tur­ing the shoot­ing and its sur­round­ing events with the skill of a sea­soned true-crime writer, he also asks what lessons this vi­o­lent episode holds for other busi­ness own­ers. Our grat­i­tude to Dra­gan for talk­ing to us, and here’s to his con­tin­ued good health.

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