Every year, the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute (RDI) at Selkirk College takes stock of well-being in the Columbia Basin-Boundary region. This region wide check-up investigates a number of indicators across economic, social, cultural and environmental topics.
The 2017 Snapshot report is now available and highlights issues that may be cause for celebration or concern.
For example, the region saw improvements to the business climate over the past year, including an increase in business counts and starts. Student enrollment has improved since the last school year, and levels of educational attainment are also on the rise, as are wages. Spending on parks, recreation, and culture by our municipalities has been gradually increasing over time and is now at an average of about 14% of total spending.
Trends in other areas, however, indicate concern. For example, despite the favourable business climate, the region’s workforce suffered declining employment last year and a corresponding increase in the unemployment rate. Vacancy rates have decreased in many communities to well below the balanced rate of 3%. The recent Census of Agriculture shows that the area of land farmed in our region continues its 15-year decline, and last year more area burned due to wildfire than any other since 1940.
Every day, residents and organizations make decisions that influence our region’s future. Basing these decisions on a comprehensive understanding of related conditions and trends helps ensure they are sound. The primary goal of the State of the Basin Initiative is to provide access to the data communities need to make decisions that lead to greater economic, social, cultural, and environmental well-being. The annual Snapshot Report provides an overview of these conditions and trends, while the Full Report provides details and analysis of the whole suite of indicators.