Equipment and cranes at the new Mills Memorial Hospital worksite in Terrace, on Dec. 3, 2021. Houston residents are doing more of their shopping in Terrace, partially due to the relative abundance of professional health services in the city. The new Mills could accelerate that trend. (Black Press Media file photo)

Equipment and cranes at the new Mills Memorial Hospital worksite in Terrace, on Dec. 3, 2021. Houston residents are doing more of their shopping in Terrace, partially due to the relative abundance of professional health services in the city. The new Mills could accelerate that trend. (Black Press Media file photo)

Houston residents attracted to Terrace for shopping and services

City has become a hub for medical services

Terrace has emerged as a place frequented by Houston and area consumers, indicates a study commissioned by the District of Houston.

And that’s because Terrace has medical and other professional services not available in Houston so that when residents from there come to Terrace, they also do their shopping here.

The finding is the result of surveys and interviews conducted last year to provide the District of Houston with a path toward finding ways to increase shopping and service options within that community framed around revitalizing and modernizing its downtown core.

Compared to a 2006 survey of consumer habits when Smithers, Burns Lake and Prince George were listed as out-of-town shopping locations, study authors noted that the rise of Terrace as a centre for medical services within the northwest is going hand in hand with the city being a shopping destination.

“[Houston] residents overwhelmingly reported changing their shopping habits while seeking professional service in other communities,” the study indicated.

“The significance of this phenomenon is underscored by the emergence of Terrace as one of the preferred shopping destinations since the previous [2006] retail leakage survey. Since 2006, Terrace has expanded its number of medical service offerings, and more Houston residents are taking appointments in that community.

“Prince George continues to be the area with the highest satisfaction for the overall shopping experience, followed by Smithers. Terrace ranks third in terms of overall shopping experience but received a slightly higher “very good” response rating than Smithers,” the study indicated.

And 90 per cent of those surveyed last year in Houston said their shopping habits were affected by having to leave to obtain services not available in that community.

Houston, as with other northwestern local governments, received grants in 2019 and 2020 from the provincial government to spend on capital projects which, in that community’s case, allowed it to rebuild its main downtown street as the start of a longterm downtown improvement plan. The District of Houston is now focused on creating public spaces and events to attract shoppers to the downtown area.

The study noted that attracting professionals to the community such that local residents don’t have to leave to obtain those services would help build up downtown Houston.

“The District [of Houston] should make it a priority to attract new professional practitioners to Houston,” said the study.

“Another key consideration for attracting new professional practitioners is that relocation decisions are often made at the household level, meaning spouses of professionals will also need to find work in the community. As many spouses are also professionals, the importance of attracting and providing space for professional services or all types is critical.”

READ MORE: New Mills to be ready in September 2024