Beyond the day-in and day-out hustle and bustle of the provinces’ major cities lies a different kind of a community. A tighter-knit community, where the hum of main street and friendly chatter between neighbours punctuate the day’s activities. It’s a slower kind of life, but it can be just as rewarding as urban center living, says Marie Gallant, executive director of Community Futures British Columbia.
1. Bright lights, small town
“I always say jokingly — it takes me half a day in Vancouver to do what I used to do in half an hour in a small town,” says Gallant, who has lived in both major centers and small towns.
Community Futures was founded by the federal government 26 years ago to help support community economic development through consultation and investment.
And with a growing workforce demand in rural areas due to a booming resource economy and technological innovation, the organization is playing its role in showing that jobs and careers can be found in even the smallest of communities.
2. Under the overhead
From an economic standpoint, small communities can be quite enticing. “For small businesses especially to have that opportunity to operate in a rural setting, quite often their overhead is much less,” says Gallant, pointing out that most small cities have good transportation routes as well.
“When you combine those two things it becomes a very effective option for small businesses to locate in small communities.”
3. Worker advantages
Job opportunities in rural areas aren’t limited to entrepreneurs; regions like Fort St. John – Dawson City area are full of job opportunities in other sectors. She also points to cheaper property and recreational activities (such as community sports leagues) that make smaller communities much more geared to a family lifestyle.
“The cost of living is just a little bit cheaper,” she says.
4. Know your neighbour
And if you’re considering the slower life, Gallant says, it’s a great idea to check out some of the communities. “Spend your summer vacation touring rural BC and see what’s out there for you.”