The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) initiated a review of the Regional Growth Strategy in February of 2016. As part of this review, updating the RGS Population and Employment Projections was identified as a priority. These Projections had not been updated since 2004, and the RGS Review was seen as an opportunity to check in on regional trends. The opportunity to include Dwelling Unit Projections was also identified, as this is best practice for high-growth regions. Further, it should be noted that the Urbanics Projections report was cross-referenced with the recently released 2016 Census data, and it was found that the projections aligned with the statistics data.
Projections Update Highlights – 2016-2036
Population: the Region is expected to grow from 42,795 in 2016 to 56,864 in 2036; this represents an annual growth rate of 1.5% (Note: Previous RGS Projections expected the region to grow to 68,153 in 2031 and an annual growth rate ranging from 2.2-2.8%). During the same time period, the Province is expected to experience an annual growth rate of 1.2%.
- Employment: the Region is expected to add roughly 5,442 new jobs between 2011 and 2026; primarily in the following industries: Accommodation and Foods Services (818 jobs); Public Administration (644 jobs); Retail Trade (632 jobs); Health Care and Social Assistance (601 jobs); Professional Services (486 jobs); and Construction (398 jobs).
- Dwelling Units: the Region is expected to add a total of 5,518 dwellings over the study period (2016-2036) at an average growth rate of 276 dwellings per year.
- Bulk of housing growth during 2016-2036 is expected to occur in Squamish (42%/2,331 units) followed by Whistler (26%/1,408 units) and Pemberton (10%/509units). Lillooet and the electoral areas are expected to display limited to no growth in terms of their housing stock during the study period.
- Major shifts in the composition of housing within the Region: Most notably, the single-detached dwellings segment is expected to decline in share from 43% to 33%; significant gains are anticipated in the semi-detached category that is expected to increase in share from 34% to 43%.