Our Business Catalyst: Outdoor Recreation


Mayor Rob Kirkham and SORCA members at the inaugration of the bike skills park at Brennan Park Recreation Centre. A new survey says  outdoor recreation can be a big factor for  entreprenerurs to move to the region. Photo: SORCA

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: May 6, 2014

A majority of small business owners interviewed in a recent survey say they were attracted to the region because of its outdoor lifestyle and recreational activities.

Living in a small community with its ‘five minute commute’ is another reason why business owners like to live and work in the Sea to Sky communities.  


These findings are part of an inaugural survey on the State of Small Business in the Sea to Sky Corridor released this week by Community Futures Howe Sound.

The survey’s purpose was to take the pulse of small businesses in Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton, and see how they were faring in 2014.

“I moved to Squamish for the outdoor activities more than 20 years ago,” one business owner said.

“Construction was booming, so I became a contractor to support my way of life.”

Another business owner said if business was the only consideration, he would have been better off in a bigger centre.

“But I like the outdoor lifestyle and living in a small community,” he said.

The survey also found small business owners are also becoming more web savvy and are relatively optimistic about the future, despite concerns about the state of the economy.

Lack of capital, however, is a concern for many small business owners in the region as is finding and retaining qualified employees.

Nearly a third (27 per cent) of all businesses with employees that were surveyed said they had not hired all the employees they needed in the past 12 months.

Of those, 45 per cent said that the main reason they hadn’t been able to fill vacant positions was due to the difficulty in finding qualified employees.

The general manager of Squamish community foundation, Jeff Dawson, said the results from this survey provide them with a baseline to better understand the region’s business community.


  1. G. Elijah Dann says:

    If a majority of small business owners say they were attracted to the region “because of its outdoor lifestyle and recreational activities,” I wonder how they’ll feel when Woodfibre LNG gets put in place? When people decide that a new industry like this detracts from the very lifestyle and activities they came here for, and move away, where will Squamish be then?

    • Chris Pilutik says:

      We already have freighters coming in and out of Squamish. You can not even see the LNG Plant from here. Where is the detraction. I say it as an attraction. It says Squamish is not closed for business and we would like an industrial tax base of some sort back.