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Lack of jobs a regional focus
Even with the sunshine and beaches, North Okanagan residents are packing their bags in a search for work.
The inability to find employment received the lowest marks during the Regional District of North Okanagan’s quality of life survey.
“Economic development is considered the greatest challenge,” said Anthony Kittel, regional growth strategy co-ordinator.
“People can’t find employment that meets their skill match.”
The economy is a focus for most communities.
“We have to demonstrate that we’re open for business,” said Howie Cyr, Enderby director, of local jurisdictions being welcoming and reducing bureaucracy.
“We have to provide a climate for people to relocate to.”
Bob Fleming, BX-Swan Lake director, believes some measures have already been taken to stimulate the economy, including construction of the new sports facility in Coldstream.
“That will bring in all kinds of people with dollars,” he said.
Fleming also points to various parties working together to ensure the rail line between Lumby and Kamloops remains open.
“That’s positive economic news.”
RDNO will consider an employment lands action planning project as part of its growth strategy implementation priorities.
“This will be an opportunity to identify additional land for employment,” said Kittel.
Another major issue in the quality of life survey was the high cost of housing.
Fifty-three per cent of the respondents are spending more than 30 per cent of their income on housing.
A total of 1,412 forms were filled out during the quality of life survey, and 30 per cent came from individuals under the age of 18. The average median age of respondents was 40.
“This is a rare glimpse into what our younger residents think about the region,” said Kittel.
Many of the youth pushed for more recreation amenities close to where they live.
“That’s based on their inability to drive,” said Kittel.