TERRACE has gotten older, according to the latest census data, but the city remains a younger person’s place to call home.
As Canada’s baby boomers continue to reach retirement age, Terrace is seeing a similar trend here although it is less pronounced.
Figures from the 2011 census show that the population of Terrace has increased by 1.5 per cent overall while the population aged 65 or older has grown by a rate twice as fast.
The portion of the population in that age group was 11 per cent in 2006, and by 2011 senior citizens made up 13 per cent.
“The tendency now for seniors is to stay in the community,” Mayor Dave Pernarowski said as a reason for the change.
He added that Terrace is being realized as a great place to retire because it provides a great quality of life and the cost of living is affordable.
Still, the portion of the city in the retirement age remains lower than the rest of the country. Canadians 65 years and up were 14.8 per cent of the total in 2011, up from 13.7 five years ago.
And while this area has always been attractive to young workers because of industrial activity, the number of residents between the ages of 20 to 50 decreased by one per cent since 2006.
Some of that loss has been attributed to the decline of the area’s forest industry, causing young people to move away to find work.
“Many families were forced to move when the mills closed,” Pernarowski said.
“As our economic fortunes start to turn around we’ll see more people in their twenties and thirties coming back to the city to take on the labour and construction jobs.”
According to the Terrace Economic Development Authority (TEDA), this demand for workers has already began.
“There are a significant amount of businesses looking for qualified employees that can’t find them,” said Evan van Dyk, TEDA’s economic development officer.
Both van Dyk and Pernarowski cited jobs coming from the Northwest Transmission Line and the prospect of companies looking to build at the city’s planned Skeena Industrial Park just south of the airport as examples which will draw young workers back to Terrace.