A growing number of young professionals from elsewhere know about Kelowna, according to a recent survey done for the city. But few are planning to move here.
The respondents, young professionals from Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary aged aged 25-40, were quizzed as part of the city’s Imagine Kelowna initiative, a visioning project to look at the city’s strengths, weaknesses and how Kelowna can shape itself for the years to come.
While 35 per cent of the 1,750 professionals said it was likely they will move from where they are now to a different city within the next 10 years, only six per cent said would move here, according to Rafael Villarreal, the project manager for the strategic visioning project.
He told council Monday that ranked Kelowna eighth on the list of places those asked were eying as future homes.
Villarreal said factors influencing potential relocation included career opportunities, a better quality of life and a lower cost of living.
When assessing possible cities to relocate to, the top three most important factors were listed as career opportunity, safety of the city and housing cost. All three were rated as important by four out of every five respondents.
Two of those concerns were listed as “challenges,” by locals when they were asked about the city—employment opportunities and wages and affordability and housing. Other challenges were transportation and conflicting priorities at the regional level.
Threats to the future of the city were listed strengths here—the natural beauty of the area, recreation activities and a sense of community— but sen as highly reliant on our natural resources (water, land and air) . Those resources are all under pressure from development, said local respondents.
The Imagine Kelowna project is an attempt to engage residents in helping decide what the Kelonwa of the future should look like.
Started last year, it has already gathered a great deal of input from residents, local groups and other agencies and city staff will now “shape” the information it has gathered over the next few months.
Then the city will hold focused workshops, the first with a smll group of randomly selected residents and the second with city council, before holding a much larger “deliberative forum” with about 150 randomly selected residents. From that the plan will be crafted.
Implementation will follow later in the year, said Villarreal in his update about the project to council.
He said the city has already heard from more than 2,000 residents about the type of city they would like to see in the future.