Vancouver Sun

Metro Vancouver’s reliance on resource sector huge: report

- BRIAN MORTON bmorton@ vancouvers­un. com

Metro Vancouver is far more reliant on the province’s natural resource sector than many imagine, with nearly 1,700 suppliers doing $ 1.3 billion worth of business in 2013 with seven major resource companies, according to a report released Saturday.

“In Metro Vancouver, people don’t see the natural resource sector,” said Peter Severinson, author of a report entitled The Community Impacts of B. C.’ s Resource Sector.

“It doesn’t happen in front of them,” added Severinson, research director of Resource Works, a non- profit society that informs the public about the natural resource sector and its role in B. C.’ s future. “These results help us understand what the impact of the resource sector looks like in urban B. C.

“The surprise is the magnitude,” said Severinson, noting that the report looks at an illustrati­ve example of how the sector affects the region, but not the entire impact of the sector. “$ 1.3 billion is a very large number and that’s just from seven companies buying supplies in eight cities.

“The other thing surprising is variety. The suppliers are in a huge range of industries, lots of profession­al services, lots of machinery and equipment, lots of technology.”

The report found that more than half of the business in the Lower Mainland by the seven resource firms took place in the city of Vancouver involving $ 732 million in business with 705 suppliers, mostly profession­al service providers including lawyers, accountant­s, engineers, consultant­s and educators.

In Surrey, the seven companies did $ 230 million in business with 327 suppliers; in Burnaby, $ 41.6 million with 159 suppliers; in Port Coquitlam, $ 19.5 million with 62 suppliers; in Surrey, $ 230 million with 327 companies; in North Vancouver, $ 162 million with 111 companies; in Coquitlam, $ 12.7 million with 75 companies; and in Richmond, $ 62.8 million with 213 companies.

The report concluded that “even urban communitie­s that are not known as “resource towns” benefit greatly from economic activity flowing from the resource sector.”

“Our findings show that the resource sector isn’t just ‘ out there.’ It’s also nearby, next door, and even ‘ here.’ ” the report concluded.

The report found, among other things, that based on its direct impact on provincial GDP, “natural- resources are B. C.’ s second biggest sector ( after real estate and leasing), accounting for roughly one out of every eight dollars in the economy.

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