Many Islanders looking for a more affordable lifestyle head for Alberta

Many Islanders looking for a more affordable lifestyle head for Alberta
Hendra Moving and Storage says it has seen an uptick in people leaving the Island heading for Alberta.

One local moving company is busy moving people from the Island to Alberta as people leave to find a more affordable cost-of-living.

The busy season for the moving industry begins in late May, according to Shawn Magnus, co-owner and president of Hendra Moving and Storage.

“We’re just gearing up for more of what we saw last summer,” Magnus said. “Which is a pretty big uptick in moving. This way, and that way, but with a little more going off the Island.”

According to Statistics Canada, in 2023, more people left B.C., than moved to B.C. for the first time since 2012.

Almost 68,000 people moved to other parts of the country, but the majority of them, more than 37,000, packed up and moved to Alberta.

Alberta saw the biggest surge in interprovincial migration in 2023, with more than 55,000 people moving to the province.

According to StatCan, this was the largest gain in interprovincial migration nationally since comparable data became available in 1972, including many from Vancouver Island.

It’s a trend the provincial government is watching closely.

“The concern that I have, and the figures around interprovincial migration raise generally is making sure that we’re supporting in particular, young people, in British Columbia. We want them to see a future here,” Premier David Eby said in Victoria on April 2.

But the lure of cheaper housing, and lower cost of living seems to be driving the move over the Rockies.

“We are moving people, especially over this whole last year, we noticed a major uptick of people moving from Vancouver Island, particularly to Alberta. A large number of our moving families are moving to Alberta,” Magnus said.

Randy Marsh is a former Island resident who made the move. He now lives in Lloydminster, Alberta.

“Do I miss the Island? Absolutely. I miss it every time I leave,” Marsh said.

Lloydminster made reality something he never thought would be possible when he lived on the Island. He is now a homeowner.

“I purchased my house. It’s a six bedroom, two baths, two floors, over 2,000-feet. And I got it for under $260,000 five years ago. And when I was looking at the cost of housing back home, something similar was 3/4 of a million or more,” Marsh said via Zoom.

B.C.’s overall population is increasing, but the Islanders looking to migrate to a more affordable province is expected to continue in the months to come.

READ MORE: Experts eye interest rate in 2024 as assessed property values stabilize in B.C.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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