Squamish has fallen far in this year’s BCBusiness listing, which ranks the most resilient communities throughout the province.In last year’s list, the town was top-of-the-heap, ranking in first place among 50 communities with populations of at least 10,000 people.
However, for 2021, Squamish has dropped to 35th place. Taking the throne is the community of Langford, a newcomer which previously hasn’t made the list.BCBusiness didn’t give a specific reason for why Squamish fell so far, but the methodology for making the lists has been revamped in wake of the pandemic.
Previously, the list focused on the best places to work, while this year, resiliency is the main measure.“We are arguably in the single greatest socio-economic experiment in history,” urban planner Andy Yan, director of the City Program at SFU, told BCBusiness. According to Yan, the pandemic is not only reshaping the economies of our cities but also reorganizing the human geography of our province.The District of Squamish issued The Chief a statement in response.
“Given the weighting of the indicators in relation to factors such as household financial vulnerability (considering the high cost of real estate) and share of workforce in accommodation and food services, it's no surprise that Squamish ranks lower,” wrote a District spokesperson, adding that the indicators reflect a change in the town’s economic profile since 2016, with growth in management, health, natural and applied sciences and related occupations.The spokesperson said this ultimately points to higher-paying jobs to better support the cost of living and align well with the local skilled and diverse workforce.
“It's also worth noting that the number of jobs and unemployment rates are derived from the Statistics Canada monthly Labour Force Survey, and only present figures for B.C.’s eight economic regions and four census metropolitan areas for the first three quarters of 2020,” the statement said. “This is not the Squamish census subdivision level, therefore may not be accurate for our community.”