Island communities take home top spots on B.C.’s ‘most economically resilient’ list

District of Central Saanich/Facebook

BC Business magazine has released its list of the top 50 most economically resilient cities in the province, and Vancouver Island took home the top three spots, among other high placements on the list.

Central Saanich was crowned the most resilient city in B.C., followed by Sidney in second place and Langford in third place.

Saanich was also ranked ninth, while Victoria took home 16th place.

All of the aforementioned communities saw improvements to their rankings from last year, with Central Saanich jumping from ninth place in the 2022 rank to first place in the 2023 rank.

Meanwhile, Saanich saw a considerable gain, jumping from 31st place in 2022 to ninth place in 2023.

“For four years running, Vancouver Island has secured its position as B.C.’s top region,” said BC Business magazine in its list, released on Feb. 2.

“It owes its continued strength to strong household finances, low residential GHG emissions, minimal unemployment and sturdy residential sales and housing starts.”

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(BC Business)

BC Business created its ranking based on 10 categories, with each category being worth five to 15 points, making up a total of 100 points.

Some categories were weighted lightly, like “resident sense of belonging” and “residential GHG emissions per 10,000 population” – which were both weighted at five points, while others were weighted more heavily, like household financial vulnerability and economic diversity, which were both placed at 15 points.

Only communities with more than 10,000 people were considered on the list, and BC Business says it excluded some “bedroom communities” like Oak Bay and West Vancouver “which may offer a high quality of life but have relatively small job markets.”

BC Business spoke with several businesses in Sidney to get their take on what makes the community successful.

Al Smith with the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce says strong infrastructure and high quality of life have made the peninsula attractive for residents.

He adds that labour shortages are still one of the largest obstacles local businesses face, however, with part of that being blamed on high housing and cost-of-living prices on the Island.

“That’s the root of the cost problem here—it’s all because we haven’t built enough housing,” he said.


Adam Chan

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