​Northeast B.C. sees small bump in population on ‘modest recovery’ in resource development: report

Drilling near Dawson Creek, B.C. Image: Alaska Highway News

A new report from the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia attributes a modest increase in the population of northeast B.C. last year to recovery in the region’s resource industries.

“Several years of uncertainty led to many families moving away from Northeast B.C., and for the first time in five years, our population increased by 155 new residents,” Ben Sander, partner at Sander Rose Bone Grindle LLP in Dawson Creek, said in a statement.

“The revival of activity in our resource sector was much appreciated.”

The CPABC noted that B.C.’s mining industry enjoyed a successful year as metallurgical coal prices peaked in mid-2018.

Metallurgic coal is the region’s principal mineral export. This led to the reopening of the Willow Creek mine near Chetwynd, and combined with increased oil and gas activity, 100 jobs were added in the mining and oil and gas extraction industry.

“Getting the green light for the development of the Coastal GasLink’s pipeline that will move natural gas from Dawson Creek to Kitimat will have a significant economic impact on our region for years to come,” Sander said.

“The project will create many direct and indirect employment opportunities in northern B.C.”

Looking at the first four months of 2019, the forestry, fishing, mining and oil and gas industry added 200 jobs, while the construction industry lost 2,400 jobs. A cold winter likely led to reduced construction activity, and is expected to resume as weather conditions improve, the CPABC said.