The purpose of this project was to project future growth in population, employment, and land demand in the Powell River Regional District, in support of long-term land use and services planning.
Our approach was to create an integrated model of all aspects of community development, including projected employment growth in key industries, changing population demographics, future patterns of migration (including migration of retirees), growing demand for recreational homes, and current and projected development densities (how much building space is constructed on a given piece of land).
We started with extensive consultation of local representatives in the key economic base industries in the region (including logging, wood manufacturing, pulp & paper, tourism, mining, etc.) in order to estimate future growth rates by sector. Using input-output analysis, growth in the economic base industries can be used to estimate growth in all of the other “local-serving” industries, such as retail, personal services, local transportation, etc. Then once you have an estimate of the number of jobs by industry, you can estimate the types of buildings that are required (industrial, retail, institutional, etc.), and then demand for different types of land (industrial, commercial, etc.).
A complicating factor in this study was the demographics of the region. Based on current trends, the region’s future labour force is likely to shrink, which obviously restricts the ability of industries to expand. Two scenarios were therefore developed – one of which assumed that the projects are correct and the regional labour force will shrink, and another that assumed that the region would successfully attract additional working-age adults, many of whom would bring families with them and therefore expand school enrollment.
All of these factors were integrated into a spreadsheet-based model so that changes in any of the assumptions would affect all other parts of the model.
Jamie Vann Struth presented the results at a joint planning session of municipal, regional and First Nations politicians and senior staff in March 2010.
Peachland is a small community of about 5,000 people located in the BC Okanagan, just south and across the lake from Kelowna. It’s a beautiful spot, set into the hills overlooking Okanagan Lake and with a fantastic downtown area right on the water.
While other parts of the Okanagan have been growing quickly in the last couple decades, Peachland has grown only modestly. But that is about to change as there are several major developments being planned (one of which is approved) that will increase the population to as much as 14,000 over the next 20-30 years.
Working with Eric Vance & Associates and relying on a detailed demographic analysis prepared by Urban Futures Inc., we examined what this level of growth will mean to Peachland’s municipal finances, employment, retail market and a variety of social factors. The report and executive summary have been released by the District of Peachland here.
The local Peachland News provided a good summary of the results here.