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CPABC: Led by major project construction, investment in Cariboo B.C. more resilient than other regions

/EIN News/ -- PRINCE GEORGE, British Columbia, Feb. 24, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- According to BC Check-Up: Invest, an annual report by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) on investment trends across the province, the number of housing units that began construction in the Cariboo region increased by 8.0 per cent in 2020 compared to the number started in 2019.

“While the Cariboo’s economy has not been immune from the COVID-19 pandemic, some investment data indicate the region has held up reasonably well, particularly compared to other regions,” said Stan Mitchell, CPA, CA, partner at KPMG. “In fact, one key investment metric, the number of housing units started, actually increased in 2020 in the region’s largest municipalities.”

The number of housing units started in Williams Lake, Prince George, and Quesnel stood at 498 in 2020, up from the 461 in 2019. This was entirely due to an increase in the number of attached starts, such as condos and townhomes. In 2020, 277 attached units began construction, up nearly a third (31.9 per cent) compared to 2019. Conversely, detached starts stood at 221 in 2020, down by 12.0 per cent.

“While overall starts did increase, gains in attached unit starts offset a slowdown in detached units,” continued Mitchell. “That being said, the region fared much better compared to the nearly twenty per cent decline in housing starts across the province as a whole. The region also benefited from a significant increase in major project activity.”

Total capital allocated to major capital projects – defined as those with a capital cost over $15,000,000 – in the Cariboo increased by 46.2 per cent in Q3 2020 compared to Q3 2019. The total value of all major projects in the region stood at $15.3 billion in Q3 2020, with nearly 30 per cent under active construction. Of the four major projects currently under construction, by far the largest is the $4.5 billion economic activity expected from Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion.

“June 2020 marked the official start of construction in the region on the Trans Mountain Pipeline. Given the timing, the project helped provide the region some insulation from the economic disruption resulting from the pandemic,” said Mitchell. “The construction is continuing and will provide jobs and investment for the region in 2021.

The Cariboo also has 24 major projects in the proposal stage with an estimated cost of $10.4 billion, including several expected to begin construction in 2021.

“The Cariboo is fortunate to have major projects expected to come online in the short-term, including billions of capital allocated for gold, ethanol, and hemp projects. These investments will drive our region’s recovery,” concluded Mitchell. “They have also helped Prince George continue to attract record levels of economic activity, with the value of building permits near the all-time high set in 2019 despite the pandemic. Going forward, large natural resource projects will be a major story as the region emerges from the crisis.”

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About CPA British Columbia
The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) is the training, governing, and regulatory body for over 37,000 CPA members and 5,500 CPA students. CPABC carries out its primary mission to protect the public by enforcing the highest professional and ethical standards and contributing to the advancement of public policy. CPAs are recognized internationally for bringing superior financial expertise, strategic thinking, business insight, and leadership to organizations.

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Vivian Tse, Manager, Communications

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