Report On Kamloops 2009: Uplifting View Of The Downturn

This was published by the Kamloops This Week in their 2009 Progress Report that was distributed March 29, 2009. Peter Milobar, the Kamloops City Mayor wrote this piece in the publication calling for residents to take a “realistic and positive” view on the economy in Kamloops. He does put some of the facts about the recent downturn in building permit values and real estate house values into perspective. Read below for the full story.

Peter Milobar Kamloops Mayor 2009

Peter Milobar Kamloops Mayor

Over the next year, keeping things in perspective will be critical as it seems we are being inundated daily with stories of economic ruin. While times are undoubtedly changing quickly and the overall economy is slowing, keeping the numbers we see in perspective is important.

Headlines highlight drops in building permit values or house values seem bad at first, but let’s put some perspective to those numbers. This year, our development services department is anticipating building permit values of around $140 million. Now one could say, based on the 2008 number of $208 million, this year will see a 30 per cent drop in values. Technically, that is correct, but does it mean the construction industry is on life support? To put some perspective to the numbers, you would see 2008 was the third consecutive record year for permit values. Yet a closer look to the projected 2009 numbers will show both 2003 and 2004 actually had lower permit values and in fact, $140 million is the 10 year average for Kamloops. So any drop from a record year would seem big. When you consider many of the projects in the 208 permit value numbers will actually be constructed this year and the fact builders were having trouble finding workers under the record setting years, the construction employment numbers should stay strong.

Two other bright lights right now are the B.C. Lottery Corporation and Thompson Rivers University. Locally, the BCLC is currently undergoing not only significant renovations, but are also in the process of hiring 60 new employees. TRU and the newly announced Faculty of Law are continuing to help make Kamloops an even more diversified economy. Domtar and their announcement of new capital improvements for their boilers is also a good indicator of the long-term viability of the Kamloops and regional economy. Capital re-investment provides not only much needed dollars into the economy, but – perhaps more importantly – provides reassurance to the many employees and suppliers of Domtar.

We have been hearing for some time now about the impending labour shortage heading our way into the next three to five years. Slowing economy or not, people will still be getting older and as RRSP accounts start to recover, retirements will pick up, resulting in new job opportunities.

None of the above is meant to make light of the situation the world economy is in and are only examples of how, when most forms of business are coming off record years of growth, some contraction is inevitable. Moving forward, there are two ways to have a realistic view on the economy – a realistic and positive view or a realistic and negative view. My choice is the realistic and positive view. What view will you chose over the next year?