Real cost of living in northern B.C.

This week Lakes District News wrote a story about the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) using a new tool to market the region for business, resident and visitor attraction.

The RDBN’s cost of living infographics demonstrate the advantages of living up north by comparing the time it takes to commute to work, the cost of living and average home prices between Vancouver, Kelowna and RDBN communities.

READ MORE: Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako infographics used to attract new residents

The cost of living is calculated based on a couple with two dependents.

While it would definitely be cheaper to buy a house up north, I am not sure it would be cheaper for a single young professional to live up north if they are renting a house or apartment.

Yes, house rental might be more expensive in Vancouver, but if you’re a single person looking for a place to rent, there are much more options in Vancouver, including the option of renting just a room. And since it’s much easier to find a roommate in the Lower Mainland, it’s often cheaper to find a place to live out there.

And although we might pay less for a cup of coffee in northern B.C., there are so many extra expenses to be considered when you live up north.

When you live in Vancouver, for example, you might not even need a vehicle since public transportation is so efficient and reliable. And if you do need a vehicle, you might not need winter tires (although lately there has been a lot of discussion about the need for winter tires in Vancouver).

When you live in northern B.C., you have to pay more for hydro in order to stay warm.

Not to mention, when you live up north you have to travel more often to access amenities that are not available in small towns. This, of course, costs a lot of money.

So if we want to attract new residents to live in our area, I’m not sure that trying to sell our cost of living is the best strategy. This might work for a family with children looking to relocate, but it might not work for young professionals.

Maybe it would be best to focus our strategy on recreational options and lifestyle while continuing to improve our cellphone and Internet services, infrastructure, transportation and short-term rental options.

After all, we want people to move up north because it’s a great place to be, not just because it’s cheaper than the Lower Mainland. We have incredible recreational options in our backyard, beautiful scenery, friendly people and plenty of opportunities to grow professionally or to open a new business.

I am hoping that, in 2018, the Village of Burns Lake will find will find the perfect marketing strategy for our municipality – one that is unique and reinforces the key attributes of our region.



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