Kimberley’s Economic Development Officer Schaun Goodeve presented the Economic Development First Quarter Report to Council on Monday, reporting on data for ongoing projects, the business economy, tourism, stakeholder relations, marketing, and business attraction initiatives.
Goodeve recently conducted a survey of 100 randomly selected local businesses to participate in a direct phone interview and results show that overall business satisfaction in the City is “quite strong” at 90 per cent.
“There was a 100 per cent response rate with the survey,” explained Goodeve. “The data we gathered was really exceptional. Overall business satisfaction is really quite strong; people are happy and satisfied about doing work in town and there’s optimism within the business community.”
49 per cent of businesses indicated their level of satisfaction is more positive than a year ago, and 83 per cent of businesses indicated that their primary market is Kimberley or the Kootenay Region.
The data also shows that 82 per cent of businesses have been operating in Kimberley for six or more years, and the vast majority of the customer base is Kimberley and Cranbrook, which Goodeve says indicates very strong support for local businesses.
He says that the majority of businesses (77 per cent) point out that only 25 per cent of their customers are tourists.
“This tells us that there’s really strong local support for our businesses. This is where our business is coming from, it is local and its fantastic,” he said. “Small business drives the Canadian economy and we’re seeing that here.”
Goodeve adds that businesses are challenged by availability of adequate housing, availability of space to rent or lease, and availability of property to purchase.
He explained that going forward, there is a strong opportunity for creation of co-working or innovation space because of the high number of home based businesses; 23 per cent of Kimberley’s businesses are home-based.
“The business community is incredibly engaged and positive about the future and succession planning is an area that would benefit many businesses,” said Goodeve.
He and other staff are also working on getting an investment profile ready for potential investors, which, he says, this data will be relevant for.
“We’re working hard to articulate that there are opportunities in Kimberley for potential developers and new businesses,” he said. “One recent business thats a good example is Rocky Mountain Farms and their purchase of land in Marysville. It’s a good example of a recent business that we could successfully attract to town.”
Goodeve also pointed out that there are several vacant lots and storefronts that he hopes to fill soon.
Mayor Don McCormick referenced the data that was presented, saying that good decisions are based on data rather than emotion.
Some other significant data to consider, Goodeve says, is that of the construction and housing markets.
He reported that construction values in Kimberley are at $3,855,000 in 2019 with 18 new dwellings to date. The unemployment rate in the East Kootenay is 3.15 per cent and the average household income as of 2016 census data is $78, 378.
Goodeve says that Kimberley’s population will likely continue to trend upwards, which will affect both the business community and housing market.
In 2018 the average sale price for a home was between $250,000 and $300,000, where in the first quarter of 2019 average prices are closer to $350,000.
The average construction cost per square foot was just over $150 in 2018, while it’s at $200 in 2019. Goodeve speculates this may be because of tariffs coming from the U.S., while McCormick adds that most every trade is busy across the region and supply and demand drive up costs as well.