<<< back to article list

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW


Blog by | June 26th, 2007


ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

 

Kelowna is the centre of economic and business activity in the Okanagan Valley and is the largest trading centre between Greater Vancouver and Alberta. The economy is reasonably diverse with primary employment sources including manufacturing, construction, health and social services and retail trade, accounting for 46% of total experienced labour force. Major regional emplyers include School District 23, the Kelowna General Hospital and UBC Okanagan.

 

Major commercial and institutional developments during the last 5 years include Prospera Place, the Grand Okanagan Resort expansion, and the Kelowna International Airport expansion. The $20 million, 6,000 seat Prospera Place multi-purpose facility, accommodating the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League, was completed in 1999, concurrent to the $15 million Grand Okanagan Resort Hotel and casino expansion. The $26 million Kelowna International Airport multi-phase expansion in addition to ongoing expansion at Big White Ski Resort and Mission Hill Winery have contributed an additional $150 million into the local economy since 2000.

 

The Central Okanagan Valley has gained recongition as an expanding high technology centre and is considered the third largest technology zone in British Columbia following Vancouver and Victoria. The strategic location, between Vancouver and Calgary within an aesthetic setting, combined with the convenient transportation network and a high incidence of retirement.business related in-migration, are catalysts which have provided the region with an expanding economy over the past ten years.

 

The in-migration to Kelowna during the early 1990's predominantly comprised empty nesters and retirees from the Prairie Provinces, eastern Canada, and the Lower Mainland. The accelerated growth rate bolstered housing demand and provided an infusion of relatively affluent residents, to the benefit of retailers and the service sector in general.However, a moderate shift in the trend has occurred with a larger proportion of younger migrants now settling in Kelowna. While inter-provincial migration to British Columbia has declined because of strong economies in Alberta and Ontario, more residents from with the Province, most notably the Lower Mainland, are relocating to the Central Okanagan for lifestyle reasons.