Yesterday it was announced that the Site C Dam will be taken to the next stage of development the environmental and regulatory stage. They tell us that this stage will take about the next two years, at which point, barring any unforeseen circumstances, they will commence construction with an anticipated completion of sometime in 2020.Some call it an economic gift to northeastern B.C. Others call it an environmental catastrophe. I think the dam will be like the Vancouver Olympics: If you are a supporter, you will remain a supporter. If you are detractor, you will remain a detractor. Both sides will have no problem finding facts to support their position.An official release from the BC Liberals tells us, "Site C will contribute to the local and provincial economy by creating an estimated 7,650 direct construction jobs throughout the construction period and up to 35,000 direct and indirect jobs through all stages of the project." Those are big numbers. Especially when you consider that there are only 37,859 people in the entire region as of the 2006 census.So how will that affect your real estate? That remains to be seen. At first glance it looks very positive for home owners and investors and not so good for those entering the market or renters. Here in Dawson Creek, we already have a minor housing crisis on our hands. While home prices have remained relatively stable over the past three years, rents have skyrocketed. A project like the Site C Dam will put even more pressure on rents. This is bad news for tenants.The first people to move aggressively into this market in the near future will be investors and speculators. They will drive the prices of all types of real estate upwards. This could be bad news for people trying to enter the market. If you are considering making a move to get into the real estate market, now is the time. Go and talk to the bank, figure out your options and take action.But on the other handHome owners and investors should benefit immensely from the dam. There will be more people moving to our community. This puts more pressure on our tight housing supply, ultimately leading to increased prices. How quickly and how dramatically we feel the effect remains to be seen. I, of course, am hoping that it hits hard and fast. Love it or hate it, the energy sector has given Dawson Creek an economic shot in the arm over the past few years. The development and construction of the Site C Dam will increase growth even more, pumping more money into the region. This leads to better amenities and community programs. I, for one, am a supporter of the activity that has come to our community. I am looking forward to what the future holds for us. For the first time in my lifetime, my hometown is positioned to become one of the strongest economies in Canada. It is good to be home.
Kevin Kurjata is a Dawson Creek Real Estate Specialist with Remax Dawson Creek Realty. Go to www.kevink.ca for more information on the factors that will affect your real estate transactions now and in the future. He can be reached at 250.719.3538 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is currently accepting new clients.