Despite the popular perception, youth retention might not be Parksville/Qualicum Beach’s biggest problem
According to a 2014 Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) report the “region had a net loss of more than 7,000 people age 20 to 24 between 2006 and 2011…But the trend reverses once people reach their 30′s, with about 3,400 extra residents in the 30-34 age range moving into the region.
Parksville Mayor Marc Lefebvre called the findings “hopeful”. “We offer a great lifestyle here”.
34 year old Lissa Alexander, a Qualicum Beach native moved awa at age 18 to find herself back in town a decade later. Alexander left to see the world.
“I didn’t appreciate the area until I left,” Alexander admitted. “I didn’t realize how beautiful Qualicum was until I was gone.”
Drawn to the metropolitan areas because they seemed vibrant, busy and full of economic opportunity, Alexander returned because “Once I got pregnant it was a no-brainer… I started thinking about my upbringing and I wanted to give my kids that – safety, a sense of community and the many resources available for families”. Most of her friends who left town in their early 20′s have moved back to the area in the last few years – it’s about quality of life.
Other compelling reasons sited by RCMP Cpl. Jesse Foreman included and “extremely low crime rate making for a family-friendly city. Foreman returned to Parksville & family.
The affordable real estate market is of course another major factor that affects these decisions as well as more jobs coming to the communities.
For more information on the Oceanside Initiative visit www.workpqb.com