As an employment counsellor in Central Vancouver Island I saw 6 or 7 people a month who were new to the area and looking for work. Typically they were from large metropolitan centres such as Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary or Vancouver. They had left good jobs or had retired early but still wanted to work. When asked what brought them to the area most would reply ‘lifestyle’! I even had a few who had vacationed here once, went home, sold everything and moved here! They never researched the job market at all before coming. Like us they wanted to live in paradise.
Some seemed a little disappointed at the lack of work variety while still others could not understand why the wages were not like they were in the big city. Whenever you relocate the job market is different with new opportunities. Depending on where you live on the island the lower cost of housing allows some who come from a large city to retire earlier.
While I wouldn’t deny anyone the privilege of living in paradise, there are a few things you should include in your planning.
Which community do you want to live in? Start by visiting the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board website www.vireb.com to look at market pricing. You have the choice of; Victoria, Sidney, Duncan, Chemainus, Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Courtenay, Comox, Campbell River, Port McNeill, Port Hardy, and points between on the east coast of the island. Sooke, Ucluelet, and Tofino are on the west coast of the island while Lake Cowichan, Port Alberni, and Gold River are in the interior. Once you find a community where you would like to settle it might be an idea to rent for a while before deciding to buy. Detailed information on these communities is available through an internet search, which would include activities, recreation, and events.
If you are interested in working you should visit the WorkBC website at www.workbc.ca This website will give you information on the current jobs and where to find local WorkBC employment centres on the island. They can be a big help prior to arriving as they have job boards for the areas they serve.
For information on the economy of the island visit the following websites; Greater Victoria Development Agency www.gvda.ca Economic Development Cowichan www.cvrd.bc.ca Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation http://investnanaimo.com Comox Valley Economic Development Society www.investcomoxvalley.com Campbell River Economic Development Corporation www.business.campbellriver.ca and Vancouver Island Economic Alliance www.viea.ca
Vancouver Island has a lot to offer. Recreation (not too many places where you can golf in the morning and ski in the afternoon!) first class symphony orchestras, local theatre, breathtaking scenery, world class artisans, and a laid back lifestyle.
We are well connected to the world with three major airports flying to destinations near and far. BC Ferries, the largest ferry fleet in the world, connects us to the mainland and our many beautiful gulf islands while Washington State Ferries connects us to the United States. Hellijet and several seaplane services are available for scheduled and charter flights to major centres.
Relocation is always stressful but with careful research and planning you will lessen the surprises and be well on your way to enjoying paradise with the locals!
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